The Requirements Of Civil Debate

     Just a quickie this morning, as I have a powerful need to unshackle myself from this electronic ball and chain and do something that will have a true effect on the world, even if it’s only to mow my lawn again.

     We know that genuinely civil debate is impossible today. Most Americans have at least a dim comprehension of the effect and its cause. But it helps to express the matter openly and clearly once in a while, if only to scrub it off the brainpan and make room for a new, possibly more exciting encrustation.

     A republic such as ours can only conduct its affairs in peace if there is nearly unanimous agreement – what the late Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman called essential consensus — on the rights of individuals and the proper responsibilities of government. In the absence of such agreement, ugliness will predominate. Indeed, violence over political differences will arise. It might even become rampant, inescapable. Moreover, the weaker the degree of agreement over individual rights / government responsibilities, the more likely the nation is to dissolve in chaos.

     Today, there is effectively no agreement as is described above. Violence is approaching inescapability. And so, via Mike Hendrix, we find commentators uttering laments such as this one:

     If the recent assassination attempt targeting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh weren’t sufficient proof that a divided America is tiptoeing toward violent conflict, a research firm released a “disturbing poll” showing that nearly half of male Democrats under the age of 50 believe it acceptable to assassinate a politician “who is harming the country or our democracy.” Given that James Hodgkinson nearly succeeded in assassinating an entire baseball field of Republican members of Congress just a few years ago, the appetite for continued political violence shows no sign of abating….

     It says, I believe, that we are advancing down a dangerous path in the United States, one that will only become more treacherous the more we refuse to “agree to disagree.”

     Mike notes the false premise behind the article immediately:

     The author’s overly delicate sensibilities prevent him from digging down deep enough to uncover the root cause behind both the eschewal of rational, respectful debate and the escalating inclination towards bloodshed: the America-hating Left’s open advocacy for extreme authoritarianist tyranny, an ideology which is impossible to reconcile with the ideals of our Founding Fathers.

     The aims of the two poles in our contentions are completely irreconcilable! There is no imaginable way those who seek freedom and those who seek tyranny can argue civilly. There can be no compromise between them. The matter is insoluble other than by the test of arms.

     The aspiring totalitarians know and accept this. The seekers of freedom refuse to acknowledge it. And that is all you need to know to understand the disappearance of civil debate from our society.

1 comment

  1. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
    when there is no peace.” — Jeremiah in several places.

    “Peace, peace,” was the denial that judgment was on the way.

    There are so many things that “seekers of freedom” refuse to acknowledge that it makes a mockery — doesn’t it? — of their claim of God-given rights. There are no rights without responsibility. Don’t wear blinders and later claim you couldn’t know you had responsibility to know.

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