This article is the conclusion to “The surprising phenomenon of people who see the world completely differently“.
Heavy reliance on absurd euphemisms and Orwellian newspeak pervades left-of-centre rhetoric in journalism, elected & activist politics, academia and even entertainment. A regular visit to Twitter will be instructive in just how divided the camps are, shouting at each other across an impassable ravine of incompatible language choices.
The omnipresent challenge for a right-thinking person is how to make yourself heard; and even before that, how to distinguish between counterparts who are sincere and those who simply do not want to hear. It would be a mistake to presume everyone sees the world with any allegiance to objective reality the same way you do.
In some cases the ideological adversary is being deliberately mischievous by misrepresenting reality in an attempt to support their flawed position. In some cases, such as those who are violent or advocate violence, it may be malice. In these cases it is almost futile to try to be heard, although the arguments against aburdity may be instructive for those who are observing the debate and unsure of how to weigh their assertions.
However, sometimes (if not often) the person insisting black is white and seeing the world in a completely different way is simply the result of a national curriculum and socialised education, and is ill-equipped to discern between intellectual foolishness and reality. In cases such as the animal rights activists who think guide dogs would prefer to be playing in a meadow, it may be fairer to remember Hanlon’s Razor, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
A better way
We can either continue uselessly shouting across the ravine at the sufferers of blackiswhiteitis (an inflammation of the emotions when exposed to reality, subsequently impairing perception & reasoning faculties), or we can look for a better way.
My advice for engaging with people on the opposite side of an issue to you is firstly to allow they probably see the world entirely differently to you. Responding to them in traditional English will be useless if they’ve redefined every word to suit their vision of how the world ought to be. Before being able to debate the issue you need to find a common language. I don’t mean to suggest condescension, but it really is too much to presume they know or value the biological definition of life or gender let alone the contents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Secondly, don’t expect a lightbulb moment for them just because you illuminated the subject for them. It may take many gentle encounters with an advocate of Truth before it starts to dawn on them that wishful thinking never changed reality. The tone with which you engage them may speak louder than the logic you employ. It really does require patience and perseverance as well as a gracious aversion to reflexively presuming malice of your counterpart.
Remember the most famous hymn known is centuries old and written by a former slave trader who trafficked in human misery. Nevertheless, ‘Amazing Grace’ was written by John Newton, who repented from exploitation and oppression of others and went on to inspired a young William Wilberforce to serve God in politics. He was in turn instrumental in ending the industry which in that century also treated living humans as disposable, private property.
Likewise, some modern abortionists with the blood of 1000s of dead children on their hands have left the industry remorseful and many have even become human rights advocates speaking out against that vile trade. It is fair and I think helpful to not assume malice on their part even while they rage against Truth, but to patiently tease out reality.
Finally, learn to distinguish when someone is truly repellant to reality. Blackiswhiteitis is known to obscure the sufferer’s ability to rationally interact with honest disagreement and often results in sufferers aggressively attacking people who disagree with them. It’s prudent to maintain a safe distance and only exchange ideas with people who are not displaying these symptoms.
Some people really don’t see the chair, and disturbingly, “progress” to hating the chair and everyone who rests on it.
Do you have a tough question you’d like Dave to tackle? Is there a tweet, meme, article or video out there you’d like Dave to comment on? Is there an argument you’ve come up against you just don’t know how to answer even though you’re sure it’s wrong?
Send it to dave@PelloweTalk.com or comment below and your question, story tip or challenge may be included in the next episode!