Julian Sanchez doesn't think being friends with your interlocutors is such a bad thing:
When we’re talking about actual friends, as opposed to folks you might see around now and again, I think there’s probably an effect, but I think it’s almost entirely limited to tone. I disagree in print with real-life friends (and, for that matter, coworkers) pretty much constantly. It’s honestly never occurred to me that it would be a problem to take a hammer to a friend’s argument because, hell that’s what we do. Now, it’s true I’ll probably refrain from really tearing into a good friend. (And I hope that, by the same token, I’d never find myself on the wrong end of the tone Matt Yglesias reserves for Jonah Goldberg, even if I’d written something incredibly dumb.) But is that really a problem? Is our political discourse really plagued by a stultifying reluctance to be vicious and snarky to folks you disagree with? If, as I think, the effect of social ties is mostly to make us a little more charitable in interpretation and a little more respectful in disagreement, well, that’s a feature, not a bug.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.