The Importance of Honest Disagreement

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.




  1. This is a really good point. A big component of freedom is being able to drag conflicts out into the sunlight and discuss them. That creates some transparency and trust. If we don’t have that, then our behavior often becomes passive/aggressive and our conflicts are expressed more deceptively.

    1. Like anti-gay rhetoric when people say things like “the problem is with the ‘word’ marriage”?

  2. Lucretius · · Reply

    I think the mediorum bias slipping into the coverage is not entirely conscious: our views naturally influence everything we do, and the political views of news writers and broadcasters are no exception. The purpose of contemplation and philosophy is to, in part, bring our unconscious to light, after all.

    But in this case, the problem isn’t that the media attacking people they disagree with is entirely intentional, but that these personal attacks might be the only way they know how to respond to views they unconsciously consider “beyond refution” and “obvious.”

    Of course the amount of unconscious bias a person in the media has varies too.

    Christi pax,


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