Don’t Call People Stupid; Prove Them Wrong or Shut Up (Part I)

I’ve had it!

As much as I hate Political Correctness with every ounce of my soul, the practice of submitting to the use of careful and inclusive language pales in comparison as a form of intellectual retardation when compared to the blatant refusal to reason and debate like adults at all.

While I believe this is a greater problem among leftists than it is on the right (and I’ll cite some examples in part II), close-mindedness is infecting all of us.

Although I strongly believe that humility is one of the most vital qualities one must develop on the path to adulthood, and that universal humility would solve problems of intellectual infantilization across the board, I am comfortable claiming authority and the moral high ground on this issue.

As a former principled Liberal turned principled Libertarian (or Objectivist or Classical Liberal, whatever), I have been on both sides of just about every political discussion. Though it’s not only fine but responsible to question my sincerity, I would testify before the highest court in all the land that I have done my best to tolerate opposing viewpoints and argue facts over feelings before, during, and after my political metamorphosis. I have never hated a person for what he or she thinks; I have only disagreed, though passionately at times. I hope you’ll take my word for it.

To Reason is to Humanize

Reason is what separates man from beast. A rattlesnake does not decide to shake its tail. As an intruder waltzes too deeply into its safe space, it responds to the exterior stimuli by unintentionally warning the potential threat to watch where it’s going. There is no critical thinking process. A long time ago, one of the rattlesnake’s ancestors developed an odd, maraca-like appendage on the end of its tail. That snake had babies with similar features, and down the line, one of those snakes twitched its noise-maker uncontrollably when it felt threatened. This aided that snake’s survival, and it went on to produce offspring with similar habits. This evolutionary innovation was so successful that an entire species came into existence, and it continues to thrive today. Not one of those snakes has ever engaged in the Socratic Method, taken a survey, or agreed to disagree. A rattlesnake is an irrational beast that survives without ever coming close to understanding the concept of survival.

As presumptuous and inaccurate as that recounting of the evolution of the rattlesnake may be, the main idea is that man is different. Man evolved alongside the rattlesnake, but at some point, shaking our tails became an ineffective survival strategy. Reason is what has helped our species flourish. Instead of hissing and growling at things we are uncertain of, we have figured out how to make conscious decisions. How this happened, I do not know, and I will not attempt to make up a story about it. But the bottom line is that it did happen, and we are gifted with the potential to reason today.

When we refuse to reason with people who disagree with us, we not only treat them as if they were beasts or children, we demonstrate our lack of humanity and maturity as well. Defend your argument, change your mind, or state that your reasons have led you to a different conclusion.

Don’t make load noises and confide in your safe space like a rattlesnake; it’s time to (hu)man up.

The End of Reason

When engaging in discourse and debate, there are a few things you can listen for that, if directed at you, will let you know you’ve reached the end of your counterpart’s ability to reason, as well as the end of his or her humanity as I previously explained. Some of these words and phrases are:

  • Racist
  • Sexist
  • Homophobe
  • Islamaphobe
  • Transphobe
  • Xenophobe
  • Bigot
  • Religious zealot
  • Idiot
  • Corporate shill
  • Liar
  • Lunatic
  • Nutjob

Assuming you are not stupid, crazy, or lying and that you do not judge individuals based on cosmetic factors or personal beliefs and practices, you have discovered the beast behind the homo Saipan face you thought you were reasoning with.

With all due respect to religious and secularly religious individuals, in the same way that God works in mysterious ways is an admission of the inability to reason any further, you are controlled by unprovable, ulterior motives is too. At least the former admission displays some sense of humility. By appealing to the will of God (assuming it’s done politely and with decent intentions), you humbly communicate that your opinion is understanding all of the reasons for everything in the world is beyond me. The latter admission of the inability to continue deeper into discourse arrogantly shouts I am better than you, I know better than you, and I don’t have to prove it.

Ritual sacrifice, witch burning, and crucifixions have been replaced with character assassinations. In the age of mass surveillance and information, this fate may be nearly as deadly as the barbaric practices of old.

“White Privilege”, “Institutionalized Racism”, and “The Patriarchy” are the new Original Sins.

In part II, I will list some examples of how the lack of mature discourse manifests on both the right and the left.

Don’t Call People Stupid; Prove Them Wrong or Shut Up (Part I)

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