I’ve found I’m not very good at arguing concepts and ideas with others. I love reading a good argument, and it’s not uncommon for such arguments to make some change on how I think about something, but I don’t seem to be very good at making arguments for positions I have or things I believe. I’m not so bad at just stating something I believe. Blog posts and interactions with people tend to be taken as pretty concrete. I don’t understand what about me seems to be authoritative when talking to someone in person, but I’ve learned to be careful what I say.
Yesterday I got into a bit of a conversation with another member of my church about politics. Mormons in my area tend to be more conservative than I, and this particular person even more so. I disagreed with a number of his points, most notably with his assertion that the US is on a “slow march to Socialism”, but even being a supporter of Sanders (a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist) for President, I didn’t want to start arguing the merits of some socialist programs (Medicare, Social Security, State healthcare) with someone with such strong views. It just wouldn’t have been very productive, and would likely have caused some dissention between us.
The internet, the world of Blogs and Groups, seems to be nothing but people with strong opinions. It seems to encourage people to take extreme, absolute views and spew them out to the ether.
I think talking about issues is a good thing. We need to have more discourse about what we believe in and why we believe it. I just wish I knew of better ways to actually talk about things without bringing in antagonism toward the person arguing. The most difficult times for me in presenting an argument are when it feels like the person just isn’t seeing my point as even worth considering. That can get frustrating very quickly.
People should be allowed to have different opinions on things and be able to express them to others who will listen. But if you’re not controversial or argumentative, how do you get anyone to listen?