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How to talk to your political opponents

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Imagine that you are having a heated political argument with a member of the “other” party over what the government should or should not do on various issues. You and your debate partner argue about what should be done about immigrants who want to come into the country. You argue about what should be done about the never-ending mass murder of people in schools, places of worship, and entertainment venues by killers using assault weapons. You argue about what should be done to improve employment and to improve the healthcare system. You argue about how to increase access to better schools and higher education. You and your partner care deeply about these issues and the debate about how to solve these issues goes on for quite a while. While you were arguing, another person was standing and watching. When there is a pause in the debate, this person comes over with a bewildered look, and asks “Why are you arguing so hard?” You and your debate partner both answer that these are important issues that need solutions and you are arguing about what are the best solutions. The newcomer says, “Why waste your time talking about those issues? They don’t really matter. Hakuna matata. Worry-free is my philosophy.”Imagine how you would feel about this newcomer. Imagine how you would feel about your debate partner. I know how I would feel. I would be very annoyed at the newcomer, and would be thinking something like “what a jerk!” And I would suddenly appreciate and feel a connection with my debate partner: “At least he knows what is important in the world. He cares about what matters. We don’t agree right now about what to do about these issues, but we agree that they deserve close attention. We should talk more to see if we might find some more common ground and can identify some policies that we both agree would make sense to institute.”This is an example of something that is fundamental to what makes us human. It illustrates how we might move beyond the political bubbles that. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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