Can We Play a Little Nicer?

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Richard Goulter

It’d be nice if we could raise the level of public discourse.
Or, rather, can we talk to each other less stupidly? D’you think it’s reasonable that we can come together and talk about complicated issues without treating the people we disagree with as idiots?

– Is there a country wherein political discussions are exchanges/arguments of the best ideas from different perspectives; wherein it’s not automatically assumed that those disagreeing are idiots/imbeciles?
If not, I probably shouldn’t complain about how people discuss politics in whatever country. Such discussions are fated to be shit.
But a man can dream.
And for now, surely it’s not too much to be annoyed at seeing shit-flinging on my social media newsfeeds.

I don’t hope for everyone to go around using big poncy words. I rather hope everyone doesn’t.
I also don’t hope for discussion to descent to pedantic finger-pointing out of “logical fallacy!”.

But how bad does your political viewpoint have to be for you to see FUD tactics as a reasonable way to argue?

I wouldn’t mind all this so much if the foolery were settled on one side,
(Or if I weren’t Facebook-friends with these kindof people, damnit),
but wouldn’t some “marketplace of ideas”, to misuse the analogy, be better off if I wanted to buy from everyone selling?

– There’s a reason why pictures of cats (or funny posts about Harry Potter) aren’t so annoying. You’re unlikely to sound like you’ve no clue what you’re speaking about when you share pictures of cats. (Though, speaking about … these things people get righteously uppity about … it ain’t so).
It’s also much harder to be funny or snarky in an elegant way than people tend to think. Most of what counts as “satire” is someone mocking a mis-representation of their opponents viewpoint. – Which is great if you think “ha, they’re calling the people I don’t like stupid/wrong” is a good form of humour, but insufferable otherwise.

Also, yes, merely discussing how people discuss these things, over just discussing ‘these things’ isn’t necessarily any more fun, and can probably also fall into righteous hob-nobbery, but oh well.

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