I don’t care if you agree with me, I welcome all dissent and criticism. I don’t even have to like you as you tell me I’m wrong- in fact, I might think you’re the biggest damn idiot on the planet. And if you give me lip about how everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I might just tell you that, “No, in fact, not everyone is entitled to an opinion- but it sure does seem like everyone has one.”
And that’s O.K.
What I won’t do, and I think this is an important point, is degrade you, call you stupid, condescend you or otherwise treat you as subhuman. I don’t need to, to win my argument- or lose it, if I’m actually wrong. It turns out that, wrong or right, being an asshole is completely an optional package when it comes to debate; even serious debate within politics, religion or beer.
*Below is kind of an internal monologue I had with myself that led to the above post*
I am a registered Republican. This might be news to some of my friends, and I am sure it is to the whole Obama campaign, who, when they found out I was voting for him, vigorously tried to get me to go out and get more Democrats to vote. I’m not a registered Democrat because I align more closely with a lot of the stated aims of the Republican party. I’m not a Libertarian or Tea Party person because I’m not crazy, just more conservative than a Democrat. I bring this up because as we went through the last couple years of campaign hell, I witnessed a lot of back and forth among the various factions. Conservatives liked to yell a lot. Boisterous, vociferous intimidation was the main tactic of their communication. Liberals liked to condescend a lot. There was always the implied, “You’re stupid and can’t understand me,” tone to their rhetoric. Their arguments weren’t anymore intelligent, usually, but damn if they didn’t try to act like it. The Independents, of which I am primarily talking about your Tea Party and Libertarian variety seemed to utilize the worst of both sides. Theirs was the true truth which only a select few were smart enough to understand. You could tell one of their arguments as it usually started with, “Well, it’s quite clear to anyone who understands the finer point of ( insert gold standard, Consitutional Law, economic theory)” What I didn’t see was a lot of actual debate where people put forth actual ideas for the purpose of talking about them. It was mostly about who was the biggest Alpha in the room, as if that had any bearing on intelligent discourse…