Something that’s always bothered me are those that will not have any disagreement with any proposition or argument they may make. That dissent may be logical, rational, and reasonable, as well as evidence based, but the other person, no matter, refuses to admit that there may be people out there that have a different view on whatever the subject may be. We see it more and more I believe in those sardonically referred to as the regressive left. These are people that know, without a doubt, that what they have to say is good and right and no one, no discussion or debate, is necessary.
Most of the time, when I witness this behavior, whatever started out quickly descends, on the one side, to some type of name calling, even bullying: We’re watching you. What exactly is that supposed to mean, and who are these we that are speaking here? It’s a nasty proposition for those that want to have an open, free, discussion concerning topics that may be sensitive to some, but are worth the time to begin to ask questions and provide, when possible or appropriate, answers.
None of us have all the answers, most of us have more questions than answers. I remember when it was considered admirable to actually ask those questions, in good faith, in that there may be an answer, or if not, at least a discussion of possibilities that may not have been considered before. It’s not that way anymore. The rise of social media has made it too simple for some for drive-by insults, without ever addressing the subject or any of the questions presented.
These make people who may be interested, adverse to even joining in any supposed discussion. Why would anyone want to be summarily excoriated for daring to participate in any online discourse when the result of attempting to add clarity, ask questions, or apply simple critical analysis, may lead to being dog piled, or denounced? The answer is, of course, no one. Maybe a few, but then, at some point, even those become exasperated and just leave the conversation, which is exactly what the bully wants.
When the outcome is not what is expected, then not only speech, but the entire idea of skepticism as been subverted. All of us see this more and more in our daily lives and it’s gone beyond online to infect personal dialogue with colleagues and friends. We seem to be headed for that proverbial brick wall. We, in fact, may be closer than we believe.
Ideas are just that and if they are not open to question, discussion, or criticism, means that they’re not ideas, but dictates from those that believe they know better. So I have a few suggestions for those that will not brook disagreement with their positions on any subject:
- Don’t blog. Of course you can disable comments, but then, all you’ll end up with are those that become sycophants.
- Don’t post videos. The same as above applies.
- Never write for a magazine that has some level of public consumption. They’re usually going to allow comments on articles or letters to the editor.
- If you’re an Academic, never publish to a peer-reviewed journal. Even though you may believe your paper is above criticism, it’s not.
At this point, to avoid any dialogue about any ideas, the best place to publish those ideas is on a cork board in your office or home. That way, the only people that will see it are those that will agree with what has been written (and maybe not even then). You can;t have it both ways.
As most of us have heard, If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
2 thoughts on “Avoiding the Entanglement of Disagreement”
One of the saddest implications of the sort of thing you are describing here is that it shuts down learning. I think we are depriving ourselves of the opportunity to learn from others when we act like this. That seems like a very high price to pay.
It is actually a condemnation of what has become “higher learning”. When we decide that someone that “knows more” than we do cannot be questioned? What becomes of society as a whole? When is it appropriate to question authority? We become “Idiocracy”.