Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Civil Discourse is Useless When One Side Refuses to Accept Facts/the Truth

The GOP/Trump concept of "civil discourse."
My husband and I have had frequent debates on the proper approach to Trump supporters who refuse to accept facts or the truth - yet get upset when they find themselves being (correctly, in my view) labeled as racists and bigots.  I have shared my impatience with these willful idiots/self-lobotomized individuals with others as  well.  In my view, being "civil" and polite to these people is a huge waste of time.  Likewise, it is an exercise in futility to believe they will ever be brought around my facts and thoughtful arguments.  Racism and bigotry and religious extremism are not things defeated by nice logical arguments.  Some letters to the editor in the Los Angeles Times strike a view akin to my own.  Here are excerpts:
To the editor: I appreciate your July 4 editorial’s point that when the people stop arguing, that’s when the trouble begins in a democracy. The arguments that we have been having are ages old and will not leave the public sphere. That’s why the three branches of government and the Fourth Estate were all part of our founding.
But we don’t have argument anymore; we have dogmatic opposition instead. An article printed in the same day’s paper as this editorial reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee analyzed the facts of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and came to an entirely different conclusion than its House counterpart. One body is right, and one is wrong.
Truth is in peril, and many in the country are tired of having to deal with this kind of dogmatism.
To the editor: I understand we all want to be civil in our political discussions. However, history and decency sometimes lead us in other directions. Tertullian, an early church father from third century Carthage, famously said: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
We fought a bloody civil war to erase the horrible effects of slavery, and we continue to have massive dislocations because of it. The Civil War was justified and right.
At times we must feel free to criticize ignorance, hatred and acts such as separating children from their parents seeking asylum. The attitudes behind these actions must be challenged as inhumane and sociologically ignorant.  There are principles for which we go beyond civil discourse.
To the editor: When the “pluribus” become an “unum” of evil, I certainly am not going to hang together with my fellow “good Germans,” much less their leader. It’s an option I hope I never have to exercise.

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