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first sermon of the new year

Its really easy to (disagree) when all of your disagreements are theoretical - http://ashleighthelion.tumblr.com/post/58498008281/blacksentai-white-dudes-have-this-thing-where

This describes the problem with the idea of a friendly disagreement, where the issues involved are anything but friendly, very well.

To my mind, this also connects to a similar problematic concept: "agreeing to disagree", where both people are supposed to accept that they'll never be able to change the other's mind. Supposedly a model of temperance and fair-mindedness, I'd argue that this, too, is a luxury that many can't afford. I'd argue that agreeing to disagree, far from a virtue, is a reactionary and politically stifling concept that is counterproductive to social progress.

It's one thing if friends come from different places of origin, and bring their own perspective on topics. That's to be expected, even encouraged. Friends -- people in general -- should be able to have animated discussions and even arguments, and not always come to a perfect agreement. But the reason for that is because truth is a work in progress. It's not because people should be defending their mutually exclusive territory. Agreeing to disagree would have us start at different places... and never leave those points of origin. Yes, our personal issues need to be acknowledged. But from there, they need to be surpassed. Debate is a process of improvement, not a way to affirm atomism.

"Judge, and be prepared to be judged" - Ayn Rand, in a rare lucid moment

"I'll call you on your shit, please call me on mine" - Propaghandi

Progress happens when we are respectful of our frequent need to have our presumptions disrespected.

It's easy to stereotype radical groups as closed-minded, unwelcoming, and only concerned with a single set of issues. Some groups that call themselves radical are indeed only radical in the most narrow sense of the word; it's all the patriarchy's fault, they say, or it's all capitalism's fault. But radicalism and multidimensional analysis are not exclusive. Radicalism, if it's worthy of the name, is willing to keep digging. It's receptive to new ideas, flexible in its thinking, and willing to debate, provided those debates are constructive.

In my experience, liberal circles have been the most silencing, and the least willing to work towards uncomfortable truths. On one hand, they've put things up for debate that really shouldn't be, in the name of fairness and inclusion; on the other, they've kept some subjects verboten, in the name of not pushing people out of their comfort zone. But growth and development has everything to do with being pushy. With limited time and limited resources, advocates can't afford to water themselves down, nor to bog themselves down in second-guessing based on how other people might react. Advocates should push in a smart, contextually aware way, yes. But they should push. As far as you push others, that's as far as they might come along with you. While, as far as you don't push, that's as far as they'll never move. You do them no harm by pushing, and though they might disappoint you, you do yourself no harm by being disappointed. For advocates -- and anyone who thinks along political lines should be an advocate of something -- a corollary to being prepared to be judged might be this: allow yourself to risk disappointment in others, as long as they might pleasantly surprise you.

Comments

scaleness
Jan. 20th, 2014 07:31 am (UTC)
I might not be the easiest person to deal with, but I didn't write this post to attack you, or attack anyone. A discussion we had inspired part of the post, but I wasn't angry at you over it.

It would be considerate to precede entries like this with trigger warnings, but if you write more without doing so, I'm not going to say anything about that, either.

No. Absolutely not, I wrote nothing here that warrants a trigger warning.

This hasn't been a debate, and I'm not trying to be the winner. You raised some issues and I tried to address them. Intent isn't magic, and I'm sure I could've done a better job of some things, but those were my intentions nevertheless.

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tsunderekko
scaleness
scaleness

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