Can we not reason together, exploring deep truths and grappling with difficult questions as we each try to find meaning and purpose and satisfaction and direction?
Some people are in favour of relaxed immigration policy, some are not.
Some people believe that the rich should be taxed more and their wealth used to provide services for the poor. Others believe that capitalism will fail, incentive to achieve will end, and the path to socialism is a path to destruction.
Some people believe that men are men and women are women. Others believe that gender is fluid and gender identity should be determined by the individual, not by their biology.
Some people believe the world is going to end soon if we don’t do something about carbon emissions. Others that climate change is a massive hoax perpetrated on an unwilling populace.
Some people even like anchovies.
But something strange and disturbing is happening – we’re losing the capacity for reasoned disagreement.
Instead, if you don’t hold my view you are, in truth, less than human – you are a monster.
Perhaps you’re a type of “ist” – racist, sexist, misogynist. Or perhaps you’re a phobe of some kind. But if not I’m confident there is an ugly humiliating label that I can find to attach to you.
And you know what – that’s great! It’s great because if you’re a sub-human monster then I can:
- feel both vindicated and righteous in my hatred of you as a consequence of your opinion;
- call you whatever I feel like without any pangs of guilt or conscience; and
- ignore absolutely everything you say on any topic. Because, after all, sub-humans don’t really deserve opinions on anything, and I don’t need to listen to yours because YOU are ignorant and demented;
And so, we cannot reason together, exploring deep truths and grappling with difficult questions, coming together over the challenges and exigencies of life that trouble us all as we each try to find meaning and purpose and satisfaction and direction.
Instead, we point at each other from a distance and shriek “oh dear Lord what IS THAT THING”. And the louder I shriek, the less human you become. And that’s fine with me, because I’m right and you don’t deserve to be heard.