Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Problem of the Disingenuous Debater

When I engage in discussions about politics or public policy, I do so with what I feel is an open mind. I am always striving to learn about others points of view. Alternative perspectives are crucial to gaining a broader understanding of issues. 

Unfortunately, others don’t engage similarly. People use tactics in online discussions that are either purposefully frustrating or accidentally so. For instance, those in a defensive position insert words, arguments, thoughts and feelings into their adversaries minds. This happens far too often in online discussions. 

Examples of this would be referring to those who are critical of police or policing as being anti-police. Or, those who argue for public institutions to be religion free zones as anti-Christian. Or, those who bring up positive aspects of a law or government program believing those laws or programs to be perfect or without flaws.

The people that use those tactics do so incessantly and relentlessly because it’s often their only argument. Instead of discussing the points that have been made, these people revert back to making the messenger the enemy. This approach to discussions is not only not helpful, it destroys dynamic discussions that are often driven by some toward the goal of reform and progress.

We must all do better at recognizing these disingenuous people and calling them out quickly before we get dragged into their black hole of anti-ideas and maintenance of the status quo. These people are everywhere throughout our society. These are the enemies of progress and reform. 

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