Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wretched Are the Peacemakers

You know 'em. You're getting into a heated debate and your blood is boiling, your sense of awareness rises with your volume. Your synapses start firing like they never get a chance to in the drudge of your daily life. You're recalling philosophies long dormant, welcoming them like old friends. Adrenaline rushes. You're trading barbs, and wit, and facts, and popping balloons, and taking hits, and you've forgotten all about your food because the succor of the intellectual battleground is so much sweeter.

      And some flimsy-wristed milquetoast has to come and go "Well, I guess everyone has their own opinion!"

      ... or change the topic to the weather, or the news, smothering intelligent conversation in political correctness and limp manners.

      These are the same people who say no one will ever win the science vs. religion debate, so why bother talking about it at all? They are not accustomed to giving reasons in conversations; nor speaking publicly about controversial topics (at least outside of their own pet causes). They think that because arguments are prolonged and charged up, they are futile, or act that way, in any case.

      I am not referring here to the moderators: those who say "But if you say X, then how can it be Y" or who seek to find common ground, or a third (or fourth, etc.) solution. I mean the people who shut things down entirely, who fancy themselves peacemakers but are really stifling intelligent debate.

      They are uncomfortable with loud voices, or feel out of place when they can't insert themselves into a conversation. They feel bad for someone who is losing an argument (those who should have shut up), or they feel afraid of people who have strong enough positions to say them with conviction. They accuse people like me of being strident or confrontational because we care about things.

      Even some of my best friends and closest family take on this role sometimes, trying to decompress a good thing and thereby sucking the life out of one of the few situations wherein I ever feel alive.

      Can not that person you're debating with remove themselves from the conversation if they are uncomfortable? Would you, as a friend or loved one, not respect their wishes if they said they wanted to stop talking about it? Of course you would, because disagreeing with someone does not mean disliking. But the transfer and consideration of information and ideas is one of the single best things that you can do, bar none, and should be partaken of with a glad heart and fire in the gut.

      So the next time you're considering dropping some stupid platitude on a lively argument, like "Well, it just is what it is," or "We aren't going to change anything here at this table," do the world a favour, and kindly shut the hell up.

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