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Sunday, December 13, 2015

More Inability To Comm: The Iago Syndrome

It is everywhere.
I seem to remember that the pod-people of The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers were pretty much tight lipped and did not indulge in a lot of talk, idle or otherwise.

More on Iago Syndrome (for, from that point on, he would not speak word!):

In First Things:
Why We Cannot Reach Compromise
by Wesley J. Smith
12 . 11 . 15
... A debate, it seems to me, requires a baseline commonality of fundamental values and desired goals. Sharing a common ethical understanding and seeking mutually compatible ends, debaters contest the best means to attain the mutually desired goal. For example, in my youth, there were many debates—some of them quite bitter—between liberals and conservatives, “doves” and “hawks,” over how to win the Cold War. But there was no fundamental disagreement about the imperative of our prevailing over the Soviet Union.

Contrast those Cold War debates with the current discord over euthanasia. Where is there room for debate or compromise between two incompatible worldviews? Those arguing about euthanasia are speaking two different moral languages.

Let me give an illustration of what I mean. Several years ago, I was invited to an international bioethics conference as a panelist on euthanasia. My co-panelist was a Dutch ethicist who supported his country’s liberal legalization regimen. We sparred courteously for an hour, and although the discussion remained cordial, we found no points of agreement, either on means or ends.

At the end of the convention, one participant—a UN bureaucrat—told me angrily that many people were upset because I was not willing to engage in “conversation.” I was surprised. “I flew 6,000 miles to engage in conversation,” I replied. “I have respectfully listened to opposing views and been civil in presenting my own opinions.”

“But you refuse consensus,” he complained. That’s when I realized that I hadn’t been invited to discuss and defend my viewpoint. Instead, I was brought there to reach an agreement, to find a compromise, by accepting “a little euthanasia” as the middle ground. But that was a fool’s errand—for me, a little euthanasia is still euthanasia.

Give-and-take is possible when the subject is something technocratic, like tax rates or the proper speed limit, or when the debaters agree on ends. But for matters involving bitter differences over fundamental values, or, to borrow a term, issues that derive from or impact “first things”—abortion, religious liberty, sexual and gender controversies, the death penalty, terrorism and war—“compromise” is unachievable, because accord would require one side to surrender its moral views to the other.

That leaves us tolerating different opinions—increasingly our default setting—rather than engaging in fruitful debate as a true community. But we aren’t that community anymore. This does not mean that our estrangement will last indefinitely, but it does mean that society will have to choose between contesting and incompatible worldviews. As Lincoln put it so well about the slavery crisis that roiled his time: “I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” ...

And now we are no longer even tolerating the different opinions.

Some of us shut them out, but some of us are very creative and are buying guns.


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