After writing more than 1500 words this morning, I decided to trash my horribly self-indulgent post and instead quote Orin Kerr.
I’ve come to the realization that people who disagree with me are just arguing in bad faith. How do I know? Well, when I get into an argument, no one who disagrees with me ever says anything I find persuasive. They never even come close. It seems to me that if a person who disagrees with me were smart and acted in good faith, surely he would say something that persuaded me (even if only a little). But since that never happens, people who disagree with me must be either stupid or acting in bad faith. I’m a generous person, so I won’t assume the other guy is stupid. And that leads me to conclude, reluctantly, that people who disagree with me are arguing in bad faith.
This was written in 2010. It’s gotten worse since then. More significantly, smart, well-educated people have given up thought for emotion, and then indulged their value system by pretending that it’s justified because they’re right and anyone who disagrees is not just wrong, but malevolent.
Dr. SJ, an old-school liberal and feminist, muttered to me yesterday that we used to get smarter by reading the New York Times. No longer. We also used to be able to rely on smart, well-educated people to think. Not necessarily be right, but think.
Those who say we need to have meaningful conversations about the problems confronting society are being dishonest with themselves. What they want is to lecture those who disagree with them to tell them they’re wrong, and have those who are wrong change their evil ways.
This seems to be the only thing upon which the extremes can agree. Wipe that smug look off your face. You’re no better than the other guy.
If it’s all about good and evil, then there’s nothing further to discuss. And if you wrap yourself up in self-righteousness, you’ve got nothing. As I watch otherwise smart people reduced to simpering fools gushing their self-serving feelings while viciously attacking anything that remotely smells of disapproval, there isn’t much to talk about.
There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
–Sir Joshua Reynolds
You are allowed your feelings. You are not allowed to force others to feel as you do. You are not justified in hating others for not sharing your feelings because they are wrong. But never make the mistake of confusing your feelings for thought.