I'm a big believer in debate, but for it to work everyone in the debate (which may have more than two sides) has to be sincerely interested in finding truth. You can't be in it just to "win"; you have to take seriously what the other people say and constantly ask yourself whether they might have a point.

Posted by Pericles at September 20, 2005 01:04 PM

Real debate is caring about getting answers to questions. It's about trying to understand. It is easier for some people to go on the offensive rather than argue ideas and facts. Anonimity is a great cloak for cowards and idiots. I take anonymous comments far less seriously than if someone ID's themselves.

I don't know that it is so much about the death of civility as it is a failure of personal accountability. Whatever it is, we should never stoop to the level on lowest common demoninator ourselves.

Posted by Mare at September 20, 2005 03:06 PM

People need to realize that many POVs are right all at once, depending on the experiences of the person providing them.

Most people are usually a little bit right and a little bit wrong all at once. Very few debates have an absolute good/wrong answer.

Posted by Julie at September 20, 2005 07:51 PM

I wonder how much of the rise of the "argument culture" is due to the vast increase in the incidence of litigation in our society.

Posted by David Foster at September 21, 2005 04:02 AM

Wow, very cool post. It is interesting that so quickly after you read the book you find something that seems to confirm the thesis of the book. I find all of this very fascinating. Good post! Oh, and thanks for linking it. :)

Posted by JACK ARMY at September 21, 2005 04:42 PM

capitalism = competition = argument This is good in capitalism because history, results & measurements can resolve arguments (if it sales it works) --- However when non-capitalism is involved (social values- politics) arguments can never be won (shades of gray) --- When politics infect everything argument becomes toxic (as in newspapers and the greater MSM when they stopped reporting and begain making everything political (win or lose).

By reporting the facts and getting politics out of the OPERATION of government it is possible to get back to a less argumentive culture

Posted by mike at September 21, 2005 09:59 PM