Do I put too high a value on comity and politness?
I dunno, maybe; my mother grew up in a small town, and bequeathed to me a small town horror of doing things like arguing with other peoples' religious beliefs.
But too, I have a fervent belief in the benefits of examining both sides. It would be nice if I were right about absolutely everything--so right that anyone who disagrees with me must be doing so from vicious ulterior motives. But I have friends across the political spectrum, and frankly, I haven't noticed any clustering of personal virtue. Not among the liberals, nor the conservatives, nor even the libertarians so dear to my own heart. Life is complicated; we're all groping in the dark.
There are places where outrage is appropriate. But the level of outrage in the blogosphere has made outrage meaningless. Someone disagrees with me about national healthcare, the fascist monster! Someone thinks that women shouldn't have to carry babies to term if they don't want to--baby-hating sadists! What's left when people actually do horrible things for awful reasons? First, kill all the fascist-baby-hating-monster-sadists!
Sorry, I fell alseep during the global warming hate-olympics. Um, 8.7! What were you saying?
People who are perpetually outraged do not blow me away with their moral fervor. They kind of make me giggle, like crazy old Uncle Ted who insists on silver fillings because the new compounds are a communist plot. It's hard to generate intellectual respect for someone who believes that life is an exam composed entirely of multiple choice questions.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.