I propose the following: Advocates of free thought, i.e. thinking for yourself, are not necessarily what they claim to be. All too many times, "free-thinkers" are simply trying to persuade others to think like they do. Or so it seems to me, on occasion.
The conflicts arise in individual interpretation of known facts. Each person, having viewed a set of facts and made a decision, ultimately will feel that their interpretation is more correct than any other's, unless otherwise proven wrong. I feel that it would be possible for everyone to come to different conclusions even when exposed to identical cases and information. The reasoning being psychological or environmentally based, there are basically millions of variables as to how one person will view an event.
The reason that I feel this is significant occured to me when I attended a Spike Lee discussion on our campus. He posed the question, Why Iraq and not North Korea; we already have enough rice. He told us in the audience to use our heads. The point that I'm trying to highlight here is that Mr. Lee implied that using our heads would invariably lead us to his conclusion; we should not be at war right now. If we did not arrive at this conclusion, our "free-thought" had somehow been skewed by media propaganda.
That brings me to the media, particularly the sensationalized news coverage. Many educated people have sworn off the coverage of the war. I feel that to be a mistake. The information is mostly accurate, even if not complete. Of course there is an extremely conservative tilt in much of the reporting, but that doesn't mean that everything they are saying is just pro-Bush bologna. Some of it bears merit, and is grounded in actual fact. To decide without facts from both sides is no better than simply believing everything Fox News says with blind faith.
For concluding remarks, there is no "correct" educated opinion. I consider it insulting and egotistical when someone believes themselves to have the correct and educated view, and if others do not reach that conclusion, they're wrong. The two extremes are pro-War and anti-War, and there are millions of degrees of opinion in between. My particular views place me somewhere in the middle, as I'm sure most people's views probably do. I'll finish with an appended version of Spike Lee's comment. Use your head, but don't expect that you have developed the one and best solution, even if others agree.
Yes, I realize the irony that this writeup appears to express my view as "the best", while, at the same time, attacking such behavior.