Muzikdude has launched a discussion on the usefulness of discussion. Actually on how useful argument is in practice, especially as that relates to changing people.
My purpose, then, is to explore what seem to be contradictions, or (because that word has a kind of inflexible nastiness to it) areas that fall in the “borders.” For some time I have been aware that in my life there are a number of trends bigger than I like to think about, but which have important implications, not only for me individually, but my children and generations yet to come.
I encourage you to read the whole thing, and bookmark or blogroll this man.
and a comment by Maxed Out Mama:
I believe public debate done in a certain style is very transformative. It has to incorporate respect for others. The assumptive close in sales will always be a very strong one; the assumptive participation in a debate will change the nature of the debate itself.
If you assume that the person you are debating with is intelligent, moral, objective, fair and interested in the underlying issues, and if you always respond to their best points, and treat them as if they have a valid voice, in the end they will almost always wind up being more intelligent, somewhat moral, objective and more fair. Most people are capable of being decent and most people would prefer to be.
We should seek to see and reflect the best in each other, and not the worst. People almost always wind up shifting their behavior in accordance with your expectations of them. If you assume they have good motives and want to debate meaningfully sooner or later almost everyone will settle down to a meaningful discussion and talk about what they really think and worry about. Once one gets down to the basics we can compromise.
I don’t know if I am biased or what, but she just always has a wonderful way of expressing things along with an uncommon astuteness in presenting issues. I know I gain much from reading her posts.