7
   

Civility without conformity.

 
 
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2018 11:30 am
Is it possible to have a civil discussion without conforming to a broad set of ideological beliefs? There are two basic camps in the US, each one subscribing to a core set of beliefs that the other side rejects. People can have squabble respectfully about minor issue within their ideological side... but it is very rare to see meaningful dialog between people outside of their own ideological crowd.

These are the things I would like to see... and the ideals to which I ascribe.

1) You have the right to express your opinion even when it contradicts my cherished beliefs. I also have the right to express my opinion. Disagreement is not incivil and strongly arguing your opinion is respectable even when I feel strongly you are wrong.

2) You are the only person who can correctly state your own beliefs. This is a pet peeve of mine here... when someone tells me what my own beliefs are and then refuses to let me correct there false impression about what I believe. The technical definition is "strawman", and the unfair tactic is to tar an opponent with beliefs they don't actually hold.

If you tell me what you believe, or if you tell me that what I said about your position isn't correct, I will take your word for it. You know your own beliefs much better than I do.

3) Just because you are wrong about one thing, doesn't mean you are wrong about another. The inclination of people arguing a point to attack the person making it is ridiculous. The question is only whether the point is valid. There are things that Hillary Clinton has said that I think are spot on. There are things that Donald Trump has said that are spot on.

If you reject something that is true only because of who said it, you are still rejecting something that is true.

4) You don't have to choose sides. It is an unfair push against the middle that comes from both sides; either you support feminism or you support misogyny. Either you support Trump's wall or you support "open borders".

This is ridiculous because it stops people from making reasoned decisions in between the extremes. I support many parts of feminism, I reject the parts that I feel go to far. It has been difficult to have a reasoned discussion about any of these themes. As soon as one questions any part of an ideology they are branded as an enemy.

No one has to choose a side. It is perfectly rational to carefully consider all of the facts on both sides and to come up with an understanding that accepts parts of what both sides are saying, or to reject both sides.

5) Arguing a point, or criticizing an ideological position, is not a personal attack. The biggest part of incivility is the personal attacks. Personal attacks on Able2know are rewarded and celebrated by people in the same ideological camp.

The problem is that any real discussion, debate and discourse are drowned in nastiness. If the nastiness is going to change, we need to see people push back on their own side (if liberals attack the nastiness from conservatives, and conservative attack the nastiness from conservatives it makes things worse rather than better). Rather than applaud nastiness from your own side, you should condemn it.

I am here to argue my positions, I will express my opinions and defend them strongly. At times I will decide that I am wrong and change my opinions, but until that happens I will provide the arguments, facts and rationale that support my position. I have no problem with anyone else doing the same... let's hash it out and maybe I will learn something.

Heated debate is not incivility. Nasty personal attacks are.



 
PUNKEY
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2018 02:06 pm
Amen.

I often see a lot of downright nastiness here.

A simple “That was not useful” or “ I disagree with you” can be used.

There’s also a mob mentality here to remain silent when certain people answer with swarmy, over- reactive, nasty ways.

“Can you say that more nicely?” is an appropriate question in response to such posts.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  4  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2018 02:12 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Is it possible to have a civil discussion without conforming to a broad set of ideological beliefs?


Sure it's possible. Some can manage it, others cannot.

Quote:
You have the right to express your opinion...

...and I usually do. Of course, I do this mainly with those who do not behave like jerks. You know the type - they question your statements, allege you to be a fibber, take your user name and mangle it in their attempt of combined insult and humor. I do not interact with them, unless, it is absolutely necessary. (for example, they mention me in a negative manner when replying to another - even though I was not part of any ongoing conversation)

Quote:
You are the only person who can correctly state your own beliefs.


True. It would be useful for some to maintain a belief consistently. Some cannot.

Quote:
Just because you are wrong...

Who decides what is wrong? In many cases the person states their case according to how they see things. Doesn't mean it's wrong.

Quote:
You don't have to choose sides.


Gee, thanks...I suppose.

Quote:
Arguing a point or criticizing...

...is not a personal attack.

Arguing the point might not be, criticizing may be, depending upon how it's done.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2018 02:39 pm
@Sturgis,
I consider you an example of civility on able2know, and I appreciate it for whatever that is worth. I don't remember seeing you attack someone personally even when you disagreed with them.

One quibble... you missed the subject of the verb "criticize". The phrase I used was "criticizing an ideological position". Criticizing an ideological position is a valid part of civil discussion. Attacking a person is not. That is the point I am trying to make.

For the most part, I think you and I agree.

Ponderer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 08:00 am
@maxdancona,
I recently stated the truth about an immature, offensive response by a male to a female. I received four thumbs down for my comment (so far), while he has received four thumbs up. Would you consider my comment an attack on him or a defense of her honor and civility?
Ponderer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 08:09 am
@maxdancona,
Look at it from the perspective that we live in a time of a lot of push-back against sexual harassment. I think on-line harassment should not be tolerated and immuned to push-back.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 09:11 am
@Ponderer,
Harassment fits into the category of personal attack. Expressing an opinion on a relevant topic isn't harassment (no matter how offensive they think your opinion is). People seem feel that when someone disagrees with their deeply held personal beliefs it is a personal attack.

You should be able to question or challenge any of my ideological beliefs without me taking it personally... and if I am offended by an ideological position you are taking, I can either discuss it civilly or simple disengage from the topic.

Civility means being able to talk about difficult and contentious issues. Someone disagreeing with me is not a personal attack no matter how deeply I believe or how emotional I am about the issue.

Once someone starts attacking you as a person; insulting your intelligence or personal values or worse, it becomes a different issue. Unfortunately disagreement is often used as license for personal attack.


0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 09:24 am
@Ponderer,
Quote:
I recently stated the truth about an immature, offensive response by a male to a female.


I am curious about the comment you are talking about. You judged this response as "immature, offensive". Was it itself a personal attack, or was the original person expressing an opinion?

I didn't see what you wrote. If you are attacking another member... it is incivility. Whether you judge it to be "the truth" is irrelevant, as it the gender of anyone involved.
Ponderer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 10:12 am
@maxdancona,
See my profile page- Question: "Why do men..."
The person who asked the question probably logged out and never looked back.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 01:44 pm
Could it be that shunning is just a last ditch solution when people recognize that their cherished beliefs are being challenged in a way that might actually carry weight and convince them to think otherwise?

It's easy to stay in discussion when the arguments you are getting are weak, but when they're strong, it demands a really thoughtful person to take that into consideration and even consider questioning the more propagandistic/dogmatic aspects of their party's views.

I spent many years in the left/liberal camp buying into the massive strawman strategy against the GOP before I started questioning it. What really bothers me is when I say things that I know speak to left/liberal concerns and yet people snub me because I don't tow the line with the strawmanning and denouncement of the GOP.

I think the Democrats are more about collective solidarity and snubbing the enemy than they are about actually thinking about and discussing the problems they address and ways to solve them. It's like they have a division of labor where not everyone is allowed to really think about and discuss ideology. There are special people for that, and everyone else's job is to fight as mindless foot soldiers in the war to establish what their experts decree.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 02:38 pm
@livinglava,
I disagree. Shunning (i.e. choosing not to engage with someone) is not incivil. In fact it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do if someone is arguing a position with which you do not wish to engage. If people ignored other posters more... rather than choosing to get outraged, it would be much more civil place.

Once I choose to engage with someone, I intend to be civil. I have no obligation to engage with anyone.

Many times I read a post and say, this point of view is so ridiculous that it doesn't warrant a response. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are a good example of this, these theories are so insane (in my opinion) that I don't feel wasting any more of my time. I didn't attack the people who hold these theories. I am perfectly willing to discuss other topics with them and I have no problem agreeing with them on other topics when I decide what they are saying makes sense to me.

It isn't incivil for me to say that I find these theories to be without any merit and not even worth arguing. Criticism of an ideological position is not a personal attack, nor is simply choosing to not discuss it.



Ponderer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 03:25 pm
@maxdancona,
Thank you for reminding me of the guy whose friend thought the earth was flat. I told him to find a globe, spin it in front of his friend, and say "See?"
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 03:47 pm
@maxdancona,
I couldn't agree more with your post. I would have given it a thumbs up, but it doesn't have one beside it.

Certainly I've seen a lot of the poor behaviour you describe on this forum. Though there are also a lot of well meaning people here as well, who don't engage in such.

I think much of it comes down, not to disagreements, but whether or not someone is trying to 'win', or silence the other (which is a form of winning), as opposed to debating.

In seeking a 'win' for their position / belief, they are happy to engage in any nonsense behaviour for "the greater good", or because "the end justifies the means", or "just because" etc.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 03:50 pm
@Ponderer,
I found the post by the male to be rather inappropriate. At that point in time, there was no way to know if the thread started would be responding. That off the cuff response she received, may have told her that this site is/was not for her. Until a poster is known, it's wise to treat them as a serious person. If it turns out they're essentially a troublemaker, just don't reply to them.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:00 pm
@Sturgis,
See the recent “Lost A Bet” post.

No one should be told their post is bullsh&t.
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:07 pm
@PUNKEY,
That in a nutshell, is precisely why there are a couple of members here who I don't interact with. They have (both of them) a history of .making those sorts of comments.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:22 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I disagree. Shunning (i.e. choosing not to engage with someone) is not incivil. In fact it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do if someone is arguing a position with which you do not wish to engage. If people ignored other posters more... rather than choosing to get outraged, it would be much more civil place.

Once I choose to engage with someone, I intend to be civil. I have no obligation to engage with anyone.

You have no obligation, but if you just shun someone because they hold a certain POV, you are giving them reason to believe that you are biased against their POV so strongly that you are willing to shut them out of democracy completely.

Let's take the example of people who are frustrated with the widespread drug culture and the social and economic effects it has. Duterte is a great example of what happens when the drug industry and its facilitators just ignore its critics. Now people are killing drug dealers without trial, and that would not be happening if the drug industry had been listening to its critics all along.

Quote:
Many times I read a post and say, this point of view is so ridiculous that it doesn't warrant a response. The 9/11 conspiracy theories are a good example of this, these theories are so insane (in my opinion) that I don't feel wasting any more of my time. I didn't attack the people who hold these theories. I am perfectly willing to discuss other topics with them and I have no problem agreeing with them on other topics when I decide what they are saying makes sense to me.

It isn't incivil for me to say that I find these theories to be without any merit and not even worth arguing. Criticism of an ideological position is not a personal attack, nor is simply choosing to not discuss it.

No, criticism shouldn't be taken personally, nor choosing not to discuss it for personal reasons, i.e. that you are tired of the topic. But when you start to make your choices part of a collective effort to shun all Republicans, or all Trump supporters; that is a highly anti-democratic approach to public discourse. You have the responsibility to listen to different POVs in democracy and reason with them and allow them to reason with you. That is what makes democracy civil instead of being a war of shunning and ideological manipulation that is has largely become.

Think of it the other way around: was it right for anti-civil rights people to shun and ignore civil rights activists instead of listening to them and engaging with them in discussion? Didn't people have a responsibility to listen to what people were saying about racial problems and to engage in a good faith discussion about how to solve those problems in a way that would facilitate peace and prosperity for all?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:27 pm
@maxdancona,
I use the ignore feture in a way that one or two others had adapted. They dont use the ignore button, they just refuse to discuss a point once its been shaken about a few times. Ive taken to that mode and find it satisfying for the reason that, although I feel confident in my position I know we wont get anyware and the post exchange often sinks into insult (of which I was always a participant till I realized I aint changing anyones mind if its mae up coming in, facts just do not matter ).
I find that we can move on and discuss other things in which we have interests .

As far as the 9/11 truthers. I love to see where their minds take us and how they can shake one "truth" for another, when they get cornered.
Im fascinated by the whole conspiracy theory mindset .
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:28 pm
@livinglava,
Quote:
You have no obligation, but if you just shun someone because they hold a certain POV, you are giving them reason to believe that you are biased against their POV so strongly that you are willing to shut them out of democracy completely.


This doesn't make any sense to me... especially the part about democracy. There are lots of points of view that are shut out of democracy, that is kind of the point of democracy. The vast majority of Americans don't give any credibility to Nazis or Pedophiles, and yet democracy goes on.

Free speech gives them the right to express any idea. It doesn't give them the right to force, or even to expect the rest of us to listen.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2018 04:35 pm
@livinglava,
Your civil rights example is interesting... so I will answer it.

The people you are calling "anti-civil rights" people had no obligation to listen to the civil rights movement. The goal of the civil rights movement was to change the laws and change the society. Whether or not they forced White Supremacists to listen to them was irrelevant.

Dr. King, and others, had a message that appealed to the conscience of American public in general. He very carefully crafted it to be an American story and appeal to Americans best ideals... freedom, fairness, justice. And the American public responded to this message.

There are people who still haven't accepted the message of the civil rights movement. We move on without them. I am certainly not going to waste my time trying to engage them in rational discussion. Nor do I expect that trying to force them to listen to me will do any good.


 

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