The Loss of Debate

Some one I care very much for once told me that she believes conservatives are simply greedy people. No discussion about limits of government would penetrate her shield–if you weren’t a good liberal, you were a bad person. As Bob Beckel would say, “case closed.”

Now this is not a stupid or uneducated person. In fact she has a PhD and tenure at a well respected university. I–being the naive person that I am–assumed that with reasonable debate I could penetrate that attitude. Nope; information and debate were not needed–she knew the way of the world and she had no need for any other views.

I finally did my “Let me get this straight” routine: “You believe that I went from being a good, noble person to a greedy, ugly one in the course of a few months of studying previous economic predictions and measuring them against actual outcomes? You believe that applying a scientific approach to my policy opinions is immoral?”

End of friendship.

Which is becoming more and more common place for me. Few of us are willing to simply engage in a friendly discussion: we are filled with factoids–many of which are either untrue or nearly so–and refuse to engage any logic or reason to our positions. This wasn’t always so. If you watch some older shows, you’ll see civil debates and thoughtful responses. For that matter, watch Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” from 20 years ago–he’s actually fair, and tough on everyone, not just the Right.

I’ll leave the root cause of the demise of reason and debate to others–I suspect it’s a combination of things that came to us from a coarsening of values and a dumbing down of society, but in any event the Ayers branch of the infantile left has won the day on the cultural side. They haven’t yet carried the field on the political power side and I suspect things will not work out as they envisioned. But we are at that Manichean point that they claim they hate, but in fact support–the Us against Them fight. What’s coming will be ugly.

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