Rules for Political Discourse

 

Al’s Rules for Political Discussion

Personally, I have been appalled by the level of intellectual honesty in today’s political discussion. Cable news and social media have a big influence in driving discussions that everyday people engage in. I have asked myself what value I get from discussions that I have been a part of. Answer is not much. So, I have thought about this and would like to share a set of rules I am following whenever I become involved in such discussions. Here are my rules.

  1. Remember, cable news is mostly entertainment, with a little information thrown in. For example, I will watch Fox News to find out which catheter is the right one for me.
  2. Social media is just that — a medium where people can engage in social discourse. It is not a source of facts despite what the fact checkers say.
  3. Opinion is different from facts. Opinion can be a personal interpretation of facts or it can lack a basis in factual content. If the latter, please don’t waste my time.
  4. Whether I choose to engage in discussion with a person will depend on the following:
    1. Have we shared at least one meal together?
    2. Have I invited you to share a bottle of wine?

The reason for this rule is that if I don’t know you, most likely, I don’t care what you think. I am sure you feel the same way about me.

  1. Just as “my truth” is not “the truth,” neither is yours.
  1. When engaging in a political discussion, it is important to have agreement with the other party as to the relevant facts. Political debate should be about interpretation of facts, not having one’s own unique set of facts.
  1. It’s OK to have a different interpretation of the facts. That is what makes the discussion worthwhile. If you are coming from a different perspective and make a coherent point, I am overjoyed, as I just learned something.
  1. You could be the clown to the left of me or the joker to the right, but I am not stuck in the middle with you.

Hope this helps. These are my rules. You are welcome to make use of them.

Published in General
Ricochet editors have scheduled this post to be promoted to the Main Feed at 6:37AM (PT) on January 18th, 2022.

There are 10 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. JohnOldrndurt Coolidge
    JohnOldrndurt
    @JohnOldrndurt

    You make sense. Discourse is actually how this nightmare of existence recedes.  I am hopeful and happy that Alan is a person who respects discourse, not just shouting into the silo!

    • #1
  2. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Alan Aronoff:

    • Have we shared at least one meal together?
    • Have I invited you to share a bottle of wine?

    Your rules generally make a lot of sense.   And I am sure that you are at that time in your life where you have the family you are going to have,  have the friends you are going to have,  but I am curious — in your younger life,  how did you decide who to have meals with, and who to have wine with ,  without having some discussions or shared experiences with them first?

    • #2
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    #8 will shock you!

    I love these.

    • #3
  4. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Alan Aronoff: When engaging in a political discussion, it is important to have agreement with the other party as to the relevant facts. Political debate should be about interpretation of facts, not having one’s own unique set of facts.

    Like.

    And…frustrated because obfuscation of facts is precisely the intent of some notable groups.

    • #4
  5. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    You have left the reader in suspense by never answering the most pressing issue presented above:

    Which catheter was the right one for you?

    • #5
  6. Alan Aronoff Member
    Alan Aronoff
    @Alan Aronoff

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Alan Aronoff:

    • Have we shared at least one meal together?
    • Have I invited you to share a bottle of wine?

    Your rules generally make a lot of sense. And I am sure that you are at that time in your life where you have the family you are going to have, have the friends you are going to have, but I am curious — in your younger life, how did you decide who to have meals with, and who to have wine with , without having some discussions or shared experiences with them first?

    30 years ago there was not the ‘othering’ or hostile attitudes towards people of a different mindset. You might say there was more diversity of opinion before we ended up with companies and universities with chief diversity officers. 

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    How about this?

    The discourse is over once if either “Hitler” or “Nazi” is used . . .

    • #7
  8. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Stad (View Comment):

    How about this?

    The discourse is over once if either “Hitler” or “Nazi” is used . . .

    Why has “Stalin” never caught on as an epithet?

    • #8
  9. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    How about this?

    The discourse is over once if either “Hitler” or “Nazi” is used . . .

    Why has “Stalin” never caught on as an epithet?

    Most likely because of Walter Duranty spouting Stalin’s propaganda through the NY Times, and partially because he was “Uncle Joe” during the war as we put the ideological conflict on hold. The public’s knowledge of the atrocities sort of trickled in some time after the fact, and I’ll never forget Ed Asner claiming Stalin was “misunderstood.” That statement on its face seems ill-informed and off the cuff, but I take it as revelatory of the leftist mind.

    Of course, as much as Stalin made Hitler look like an amateur when it came to killing the people under his power, Mao easily eclipsed Stalin’s efforts. That also isn’t talked about much.

    • #9
  10. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    How about this?

    The discourse is over once if either “Hitler” or “Nazi” is used . . .

    Why has “Stalin” never caught on as an epithet?

    The left idolizes him.  They would take being called “Stalin” as a compliment . . .

    • #10
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.