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The Demise of civil discourse

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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.

 

 

 

Born in West Virginia but raised in Chicago, Misty is a Fellow of the C.S. Lewis Institute and radio broadcaster. She has a passion for history, Christian apologetics, and great food! Misty also has a heart for spreading awareness about multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that claimed the life of her mother in 2013. She also occasionally writes for the Christian apologetics website AClearLens.org

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Culture and Religion

Video Double play: Busting the gun grabber’s musket myth.

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Gun confiscation bingo

Two videos that eviscerate the Liberty Grabbers ‘One shot’ musket myth.

It is a bedrock principle (if they have any) of the Liberty grabber Left that back during the ratification of the US Constitution the only weapons in existence were flintlock musket that took 5 minute to reload. Thus there wasn’t any school violence because it would have taken too long for the perpetrator to kill anyone.

As it typical of the lore of the national socialist Left, this is a lie of the first order. A previous video celebrated the “Assault Weapon” tricentennial, which was bit of the tongue in cheek variety since there were other repeating “Military Style” weapons in existence before this time period. These will be detailed in future articles. Meanwhile we present two videos that also bust the ‘Musket Myth’, one a short presentation from the Royal Armouries on the Jover and Belton “Flintlock breech-loading superimposed military musket”

Royal Armouries
Published on Aug 30, 2017
Curator of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson, gives us a peek at the Flintlock breech-loading superimposed military musket, by Jover and Belton (1786)

This is a very relevant piece since the inventor Joseph Belton corresponded with the Continental Congress in 1777:

May it Please your Honours,
I would just informe this Honourable Assembly, that I have discover’d an improvement, in the use of Small Armes, wherein a common small arm, may be maid to discharge eight balls one after another, in eight, five or three seconds of time, & each one to do execution five & twenty, or thirty yards, and after so discharg’d, to be loaded and fire’d with cartridge as usual.

“It was demonstrated before noted scientists and military officers (including well known scientist David Rittenhouse and General Horatio Gates)”

This destroys the mythology that the founders had no knowledge of this type of repeating firearm technology that existed already.

The second is a humours dissertation on the subject from video raconteur Steven Crowder https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/

from a few years ago that also eviscerates this bit of Leftist mythology.

Published on Feb 10, 2015
People have been telling us for years that the 2nd amendment was written in a time of Muskets, and that it doesn’t apply to the evolved weapons of today. Is it true?

So why is this important?

Two primary reasons. One that these factual examples demonstrate that the founding fathers knew of these technological advances. Therefore, they destroy any Leftist pretences that the 2nd amendment be confined to muskets. Second that, school violence is something other than an issue of guns.

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Immigration

House proposal makes DACA permanent and grants citizenship to illegals

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When Donald Trump issued an executive order in Sept. 2017 rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order issued by Barack Obama, he was cheered by his adoring fans for appearing to keep one of his campaign promises regarding the illegal immigration problem. However, as the old saying goes, appearances can be deceiving.

The reason I call it deceiving is because Trump’s order was merely a technicality—sort of a Rescind-In-Name-Only moment—used to buy the time necessary to make DACA permanent, which has been his “big heart” goal from the beginning.

Of course, any permanent legislation needs to come from Congress, which should have been problematic for Republicans who campaigned for years against Obama’s handling of illegal immigration. But in today’s Republican party—owned and operated by Trump—such commitments have become secondary to the requirement to please Dear Leader.

For example, just days after Trump’s deceptive order, Mitch McConnell went on record in support of negotiation with Democrats and the president—but I repeat myself—to save DACA and create an amnesty plan and eventual citizenship for approximately 1.8 million DREAMers.

Though past attempts have failed, election-season fever is sweeping Washington, so Trump and Republican party loyalists are making another push to get the job done.

After conducting several days of Nancy Pelosi-style meetings behind closed doors, Paul Ryan released an immigration plan yesterday that will legally protect DREAMers while also providing over $23 billion for another Trump promise—a border wall.

Wait a minute! I though Trump promised us that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. I suppose that’s just another in-name-only moment for the New York liberal.

Back to the House proposal. DREAMers can apply for “nonimmigrant status” which is essentially a newfangled way to say visa. The extra visas necessary to handle these requests will be available due to new restrictions that will lower the number of legal immigrant applications, which means legal immigrants will be effectively moved to the back of the line.

But that’s not the worst part.

Once obtained, these visas become the first step on a pathway to citizenship, which means that years down the road, 1.8 million illegals—probably more—will have jumped the line to US citizenship ahead of legal immigrants, despite the rhetoric from Trump and the GOP claiming otherwise.

Though this proposal may or may not pass, making DACA permanent and creating a pathway to citizenship are broken promises. But as I wrote a few days ago, breaking promises has become a job requirement in the age of Trump and today’s GOP.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Politics

Like Obama, Trump has earned his Nobel Peace Prize too!

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After Trump signed an agreement with N. Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, promising to end joint military drills with S. Korea—because drills are so “provocative”—and to withdraw US troops from the Korean peninsula in exchange for Un’s pinky-swear promise to destroy his nuclear arsenal, the deal-maker-in chief announced to the world that everyone could “sleep well” now that N. Korea was no longer a nuclear threat.

While Trump’s pre-emptive, unconditional surrender to N. Korea’s “loving dictator” contained absolutely no details on how this East Asia Nirvana would come to fruition—Trump said he didn’t need them because he has “one of the great memories of all time“—it had enough substance to rekindle rumors of a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump.

In recognition of what Sean Hannity called Trump’s Reagan moment, two Norwegian lawmakers have nominated Trump to be the 2019 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for taking what they called a “huge and important step in the direction of the disarmament, peace, and reconciliation between North and South Korea.”

While there are those who feel Trump is undeserving of receiving what would essentially be nothing more than a participation trophy because he failed to actually win anything, I have to take a stand in defense of Trump because he’s just as worthy to receive something he didn’t earn as his predecessor was.

Early in his presidency, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing to earn it other than sounding like he would “work for a world without nuclear weapons.” Absent of any accomplishments to that end, the Nobel Committee awarded the Prize to Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

In Trump’s case, he too lacks any verifiable accomplishment and has done nothing tangible to earn the Nobel Peace Prize. But like Obama, Trump’s efforts in Korea make it appear like he’s done something he hasn’t, so the fact that he hasn’t doesn’t matter.

The administration appears ready to live down to the Nobel Committee’s low expectations. Since all that’s required is for Trump to vaguely take a “step in the direction” of disarmament, Secretary of State Pompeo made the bold proclamation that the White House would set that as a goal by hoping to have “major, major disarmament” within the next 2 ½ years—which, coincidently, is the time of the next presidential election.

In an interview with Trump’s daily intel Team, FOX & Friends, Kellyanne Conway stated that Obama had his Nobel Peace Prize handed to him, but that Trump would earn his.

I have to say she’s right. Obama did have the Nobel Peace Prize handed to him while doing nothing to earn it. And if we use “doing nothing” as our barometer, it means Trump has “earned” the right to the Nobel Peace Prize too!

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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