Sunday, June 23, 2013

Some questions

I think I've asked some of these questions before, but I'm feeling too lazy to double check.  When did name calling become a legitimate substitute for reasoned and polite discourse?  When did it become acceptable to label your opponents liars because you disagree with the positions they take?  When did it become okay to question another person's integrity because the evidence provided and the conclusions drawn differ from yours?  When did rational discussion become defined by ignoring another person's arguments, impugning their motives and, apparently, knowingly attacking straw men?  Allow me to continue...

When did we, as a society, decide inconsistency was the height of argumentation?  At what point did we decide that wanting something to be true desperately enough makes it true?  When did we agree that in practical terms, objective reality has no meaning?  Finally, when did we decide that it was impossible for two equally honest people to look at the same data and honestly draw different conclusions?

I ask these questions as the result of several months spent reading and occasionally commenting on another blog, with whose owner I tend to disagree.  The truth, of course, is that these aren't simply "when" type questions.  They are all more properly viewed as "what is going on here?" questions.  While I think I know parts of the answer (the impact of post-modern thought on the use of narrative combined with some normal human defense mechanisms) it seems there must be something else there.  I have a suspicion as to what it is, but I don't want to put a label on it, yet.  So, if you have any thoughts, I'm all ears.