Connect with us

Everything

The Demise of civil discourse

Published

on

In 2012, Michael Shammas wrote for the Huffington Post regarding why it is a good idea to teach philosophy to High School kids. As he stated, “Anger is everywhere; understanding is nowhere.”

Here we are in 2017 and those words still ring true. You can log onto pretty much any social media platform and you’re inundated with vitriol. What’s more disturbing, is that you rarely see any effort from either party involved to understand the position of the other side. What you tend to see is a back-and-forth filled with generalizations, mischaracterizations, strawmen and outright insults.

What happened to us? What happened to civil discourse?

Shammas in his 2012 article suggests that we have lost the ability to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it. I would agree that is true for some of us. However, I’m going to suggest that for others, it’s simply hubris. Feeling “right” outweighs being “right” and sometimes, it outweighs truth itself.

Some of us feel that we are so “right” that we cannot be wrong. It’s an impossibility. In fact, if anyone suggests otherwise, that’s a slap to our pride. Certainly, we can’t be wrong! That’s blasphemy! Truly, if someone had the temerity to think differently or have a different perspective, they’re not only wrong, but they’re immoral. There’s something wrong with them. They’re evil. They’re the enemy.

If people who disagree with us are wrong, immoral, and the enemy, why would we actually take the time to get to know them? Why would we try to understand why they think they way they do? So, let’s just retreat to our respective echo chambers where we can pat each other on the back for being superior to those people. Let’s laugh and sneer at the knuckle-dragging rubes who think differently than we do. After all, we’re the enlightened ones, right?

So, if we can’t get to know someone who thinks differently than us, or worse yet, we don’t believe they are worth the time to get to know, what happens? There’s no way we can truly understand what they believe or why they believe it, in fact, most of the time, we don’t want to know. It’s stupid and wrong anyway so why waste our precious time? So we mischaracterize and generalize. Heck, even laugh at their apparent stupidity all the while being oblivious to the fact that mischaracterization often leads to demonization, which leads to passive and then active oppression.

It has been amazing to see how quickly so many who claimed to revile tribalism devolve into tribalism off of nothing more than their own arrogance.

There is a way out of his mess. It’s tough. It takes time and it requires becoming invested in people we may disagree with passionately. If we wish to wade into the battle of ideas, it is vitally important that we take the time to understand what the competing ideas are and accurately represent them. If we do not, we will quickly lose all credibility and we will lose traction in promoting our own ideas or philosophy because we’ve lost that credibility. We’ll only be adding to the background noise while other ideas and philosophies move forward with their agendas.

For example: if I started to criticize Islam, but it became apparent rather quickly that I have never studied the Quran, nor have I ever picked up the Hadith or talked to a Muslim, why should anyone take me seriously? If it’s made clear, once I exit my echo chamber, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, how can I expect to maintain any credibility whatsoever? I may be able to acquire some popularity with those who know less than I do, but it’s a transient popularity at best. My ill-gained popularity, as well as whatever philosophy or idea I was trying to promote, will simply be destined for the trash heap of history. Forgotten and impotent.

Plus, it’s important to learn about other perspectives because it’s just part of being a good neighbor. If I expect someone to treat my ideas fairly, and when criticizing them, accurately represent my position, I must do that for others. Well, I guess I don’t have to, but there’s a word for that kind of attitude and it starts with “hypo” and ends with “crite”.

So what do we do? I suggest there are two ways we can accomplish this: the first, we start to create and maintain relationships with those who disagree with us. Break bread with them. Pick their brains. Ask them about their beliefs and why they believe what they do. Take time to listen to them and really understand them so you can accurately represent their position. Again, you don’t have to agree with what they’re saying. But don’t rob them of their humanity by turning them and what they believe into a caricature. Second, study first; talk later. That’s right. Read books. Lots of them. YouTube and Google may be a good place to start, but it’s no substitute for actual research and study. Go to the sources. Read the documents that are central to a philosophy, political movement or a religion. Whatever you’re trying to criticize, you need to know it at least as well as anyone who adheres to what you’re attempting to criticize.

Also, we should read books that are critical of what we believe. To quote Christian apologist Andy Bannister, “…being willing to put what you currently believe to the test. For instance, what books have you read by those who disagree with you? If you’re an atheist and the very most you’ve ever read from a Christian is The Pop-up Book of Creationism, all the while lining your bookshelves with well-referenced works of atheism, I suggest you’re not really thinking, but living in an echo chamber.”

Let me ask you a question, dear reader; how do you expect your ideas or philosophy to win the “battle of ideas” if you don’t understand or care what the competing ideas or philosophies are to being with?

If we’re not prepared to take seriously the kinds of things that people believe in, then perhaps with all humility, we should simply stick to talking about TV shows, dating apps and celebrities. Because anything beyond that is just noise.

 

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Immigration

3 migrant caravan claims Jim Acosta made to President Trump that have been debunked… by the migrant caravans

Published

on

3 migrant caravan claims Jim Acosta made to President Trump that have been debunked by the migrant c

CNN’s Jim Acosta has been at the center of the news cycle for 12 days. It’s not his reporting that landed him there. He’s the center of attention after the Secret Service suspended his hard pass to the White House. His pass is back and most seem to be moving on from the story. But something has been lost in the mix. The statements he made while badgering the President on November 7 were spoken with authority and certainty.

Less than two weeks later, all three of his claims have been proven wrong by the migrant caravans themselves.

“They’re hundred of miles away, though. They’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away.”

Around 3,000 migrants arrived in the last few days, doubling the total number of migrants waiting to be processed at the San Ysidro border crossing to 6000. Thousands more are expected in the coming days.

They certainly walked “hundreds and hundreds of miles” very quickly.

Tijuana border crossing shut as Mexicans protest against arrival of migrant caravan

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/19/tijuana-border-crossing-shut-mexicans-protest-against-arrival/An estimated 3,000 migrants have arrived in recent days in Tijuana, which sprawls into San Diego in southern California.

On Sunday several hundred Tijuana residents took to the streets to protest against the caravan, which set out from Honduras on October 13.

“Your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls and so on, but they’re not going to be doing that.”

A picture can say a thousand words, but in this case it only has to say two words to Acosta: “Wrong again.”

Migrants Climb Border Fence

“As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.”

How many criminals need to be among the migrants for it to be considered an invasion? 50? 100? 200?

How about 500?

Migrant caravan at US border is harboring more than 500 criminals, Homeland Security claims

https://www.foxnews.com/us/migrant-caravan-may-be-in-tijuana-for-the-long-haul-while-u-s-shuts-down-san-diego-area-crossingMore than 500 criminals are traveling with the migrant caravan that’s massed on the other side of a San Diego border crossing, homeland security officials said Monday afternoon.

The revelation was made during a conference call with reporters, with officials asserting that “most of the caravan members are not women and children”. They claimed the group is mostly made up of single adult or teen males and that the women and children have been pushed to the front of the line in a bid to garner sympathetic media coverage.

By now, any thinking person regardless of political ideology should realize Jim Acosta is an idiot. In the short time he held the mic at the press conference, he made three debunked statements. Journalists are supposed to expose the truth, not spread lies.

Continue Reading

Entertainment and Sports

Fred Savage owns Deadpool in Once Upon a Deadpool trailer

Published

on

Fred Savage owns Deadpool in Once Upon a Deadpool trailer

I’ll admit, I didn’t even know this was a thing. When I heard about it, I assumed it was a spoof, probably put out by Ryan Reynolds to catch a few Christmas laughs. I was wrong.

Once Upon a Deadpool is a new edit of Deadpool 2 made with a PG-13 rating. Fox has been pushing for Reynolds to do a PG-13 version for over a decade, but the star has refused until now. He had two requirements. First, he Fox to donate money from the movie to a charity of Reynold’s choice. Which did he choose? A charity Fox is referring to as “Fudge Cancer,” though the charity’s real name would be better served in the R-rated version of Deadpool.

The second requirement is that Reynolds needed permission to kidnap Fred Savage.

Reynolds got both of his wishes and Once Upon a Deadpool was born. It’s due for a limited engagement next month.

Continue Reading

Guns and Crime

Legislators tell Allen West: Next version of First Step Act will cut loopholes

Published

on

Legislators tell Allen West Next version of First Step Act will cut loopholes

Last week, a handful of conservatives, including Lt. Col. Allen West and Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz, went after the bipartisan First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that has the backing of the President and many conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Our complaint: why would the GOP support a bill that releases violent criminals and illegal immigrants?

According to legislative proponents of the bill, protections and benefits for both of these groups of felons have been eliminated in the next version of the bill that will reach the Senate floor. They reached out to West over the weekend to let them know they heard the concerns and are addressing them.

First Step Act: Response and Reassurances

https://i0.wp.com/theoldschoolpatriot.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/prison-553836_640.jpg?w=200&ssl=1The First Step Act is supported by many conservatives and law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National District Attorneys Association. There are other proposals offered by those on the far left under the same banner of “criminal justice reform” that would release people from prison without regard to the danger they pose, including illegal immigrants and serious violent offenders. We must remember that there are some folks who are, well, as the ol’ folks would say, “just bad.” Additionally, some left-wing professors even propose abolishing all prisons partly based on their notion that the system is racist in nature. Hmm, I tend to believe that skin color or race has nothing to do with a person deciding to break the law. I just do not want us to go down the path of having criminals believe that there are no consequences, ramifications, for their actions and behaviors.

The legislators echoed our concerns and said the version that is currently available doesn’t reflect the changes that cut the loopholes. They say it will be impossible for these two groups – serious violent offenders and criminal illegal immigrants – to get the benefits of the bill. Many felons will be released early. Future felons will be given lighter sentences. That makes sense for many, but by no means should anyone in either of the two most dangerous groups receive sentence reductions, according to the letter to West.

My Take

Call me cynical, but lately I’ve changed my general rules regarding promises of politicians. It used to echo President Reagan’s stance on nuclear disarmament: “Trust but verify.” I now have to go with a more adversarial stance on political promises: “Show me proof, then we’ll talk.”

When the legislation is made available to the public, many will take a close look at it. I’ll personally be checking to see if there are any loopholes that would put violent offenders or criminal illegal immigrants back on the street sooner. If so, it’s a no-go for me.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement Donate to NOQ Report

Facebook

Twitter

Trending

Copyright © 2018 NOQ Report