Tag: civil conversation

Harden Not Their Hearts (or Minds)

 

As states and localities figure out how to proceed on COVID-19, I’ve noticed a framing of the argument that I think is a mistake, at least at this point on this particular issue. The framing I’m seeing is one of liberty vs. tyranny. Stay at home, wear a mask, follow the arrows in the grocery store aisles, and so on. As someone who largely agrees with those who think the benefit of staying home is far outweighed by the economic damage, those skeptical that wearing a mask will do much, and those disdainful of traffic signs for stores, are using framing will harden the hearts and minds of the people on the other side.

Immigration restriction comes to mind. When someone tells me that I hold my positions because of racism, despite my having laid out my actual reasons, then my heart and my mind closes. There is no conversation anymore, there is no compromise, there is only strife. War. Pick your issue — abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, whatever. When my interlocutor insists that I want to impose racism, control women’s wombs, or see people die, I stop caring what they say because they obviously don’t care what I’m saying. I stop listening to them because they’re obviously not listening to me. When that happens, there is no way we can have any sort of exchange or even come away with a mutually agreeable plan. On the other hand, people can and do change minds when we’re actually talking about the same things and not mischaracterizing others. At least we understand each other and can continue with love and trust.

12(b)(6): So What Do You Want Me To Do About It?

 

I’m a collector of odd facts. This is how I have a favorite out-of-context Bible verse (I don’t care that Matthew 10:34 isn’t part of the Nativity readings; it’s far more relevant to the modern celebration of Christmas than Luke 2:14), a favorite business tax deduction (breast implants to bring the exotic dancer’s cups to size N), and even a favorite medical code (Y93.D1: Injured while knitting or crocheting). So it shouldn’t be much surprise that I also have a favorite Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6): Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Let me back up a bit to explain this one. The rules of civil procedure govern lawsuits, and rule 12, in particular, is about motions and pleadings to be done before a matter goes to trial. The defendant has the right to make a motion that the suit be dismissed in a summary judgment, where the facts the plaintiff provides are assumed to be true and the judge makes a ruling on the law.

Member Post

 

As our own Blue Yeti is fond of saying, the problem of moderating is that there is either too much for some people, or not nearly enough. He’s right – the most common complaints we get are either from people who think we’re clamping down too hard on things, or who think we’re letting way […]

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Member Post

 

Donald Trump said I love my country and if that is what makes me a nationalist, I guess I am. Now it’s the new hate speech talking point of late, a vile, dirty word. I looked up the definition of nationalism, to see if it changed since I was in grade school. If you Google, […]

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Member Post

 

Swedish friends of mine have lived in the US for decades now. They are well traveled and speak to associates throughout Europe. One recently remarked that the problem of people disassociating from each other after debating politics at dinner is a uniquely American phenomenon. He said it is a tale one hears often from Europeans […]

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The Best Part of Ricochet

 

I’m blown away — as well as humbled, delighted and honored. I put up a post this past weekend that had the potential for being controversial. But I decided to risk it, because I felt the subject was important to discuss.

The word “controversial,” as it turns out, was an understatement. The comments came pouring in, the passion was high, and the disagreement with me, in particular, was profound.