I've been hearing a lot of name calling, recently. You're "Pro Death," or you're "Anti-Women's Rights." You belong to a "violent religion" or your religion "hates science." Maybe you're "unpatriotic" for how you vote. Maybe you're a "sicko and a freak" because you support gay marriage, or maybe you're "cruel and hate love" because you don't. On every issue I run across, the number one thing that sticks out to me is all the name calling.
I'm not here to talk about whose opinion is right or wrong. I want to give you five good, solid reasons to respect, or at least act like you respect, other people in a debate, no matter how wrong you think they are.
1. Think About What You're Trying To Do.
There are only two reasons to have an argument. One, just a mind exercise, a game, and insults don't expand your intellectual capabilities. Two, you're trying to convince someone who disagrees with you to come around to your way of thinking. So it doesn't do any good at all to argue for something unless you keep in mind what the other party is thinking, and if what you're saying is likely to appeal to them. Which leads me to my next point:
2. It's Counter Productive.
In my experience, if you insult someone, they're not going to say, "Huh, wow, I was wrong and you were right." They're going to say "You're a jerk and not worth my time." They are, in fact, going to be much less likely to see things your way, because they feel like you don't respect them.
3. It Works Both Ways.
If you want people to respect you and your opinions, you have to make them think you respect theirs. Otherwise they just won't.
4. Does Your Logic Not Stand Up?
Do you have to resort to name calling because your logic isn't sound? Do you have to rely on inciting rage in people because if they look too closely at your argument, it will all fall apart? Maybe. Regardless, anyone who's actually going to think about what you're saying is going to be frustrated if they have to pick apart your logic from your rage hating, and possibly give up and say it's not worth their time.
Pointlessly making someone feel bad is never a good thing. Sometimes you do want to insight some anger or some guilt, but make sure it is always constructive, rather than simply contributing to the negativity of the world.
Thank you all for reading.