Sunday, August 07, 2016

Tips for Civil Discourse, by Jon Camp

1 comment:

Nathan Nobis said...

"While I'm by no means perfect at it, I've been thinking a lot about this subject recently, and so I give you...
Tips For Civil Discourse, by yours truly:
1) Give your absolute all to listening to and truly understanding the motivations and views of others.
2) See what shared beliefs you have with someone before highlighting your differences.
3) Accept that the person you're communicating with has, like you, experienced loss, sadness, and failure, and they've felt this as acutely as you have. They also love their family and friends as much as you do, and they likely want to be a good person as much as you do.
4) Concede to valid points that others have.
5) Be factual. As Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Once you've breached this, it's hard to regain your credibility.
6) Don't be casual with public accusations. Explore the possibilities that could come from a frank and fair discussion in the private sphere before throwing a label at someone in the public sphere.
7) Avoid Hitler comparisons unless the person you're describing is a totalitarian ruler involved in or very likely capable of actual genocide.
8) Don't attribute selfish or malicious intent to one's position unless you are 100% positive that they are driven by selfish or malicious intent.
9) While staying true to our convictions is important, accept that change often happens not through rigid adherence to black and white ideologies but through meeting on a human level in the gray.
10) Accept that we all change. Perceive others as where they're at now, not where they were in the past. And just as you've grown, give everyone else the opportunity to grow, even if it's at a slower pace than your ideal
11) Accept that some of your most cherished beliefs or tactics, even those that you are the absolutely most certain of, might be wrong or sub-optimal.
12) Try to see everything in its proper context. There are a lot of data points to consider before coming to a conclusion about someone or something. Consult all the available evidence, not just that which is convenient to your desired conclusion.
13) Try to see yourself in your proper context. Though we're just specks on a planet that's a speck in the universe, we do have an opportunity to make our one lap around the track a tremendously positive and meaningful experience for ourselves and others. While a firm commitment to civil discourse is not always going to be the sole route to this, it's often an effective starting point for ensuring that we live in a world where reason and fairness prevail."