Ace of Spades (who is still threatening retirement) points out that honest and open disagreement is so important because hidden disagreement always expresses itself in the form of personal attacks: “if you can’t admit you disagree with someone one ideological grounds, and you still wish to undermine them, you have no choice left but to simply attack them on a person level.”
He uses the Tea Party as an example:
What, to you, is more offensive and ugly — that the media disagrees ideologically with the Tea Party’s commitment to reducing spending and government, or that, refusing to express their ideological objection honestly, they seek to paint every Tea Partier as racist and violent by carefully suggesting only the misspelled and ugly signs from a Tea Party rally? Strongly implying “Only ignorant, stupid racists could support this nonsense”?
… But the media’s pretend-objectivity means they cannot have an honest dispute about an issue — and yet they are still determined to get their editorial position out there.
So all they’re left with is the worst, most biased, most provocative, most demeaning “political argument” in existence: “You’re an asshole.”
Read it, it is a good article.