The Death of Civil Discourse, and Personal Attacks

For all intents and purposes, civil discourse is not possible in today’s hyper-polarized, politically correct climate. So much so that the Intellectual Dark Web is a thing. For those unaware, let Dave Rubin, a member of the IDW, explain it for you HERE.

I think we are in a sad state because something like the IDW is a thing that exists. What is even more sad is that the existence of this group is considered controversial, and the topics they speak on are considered taboo. By shutting down and shutting out discussions on topics that are difficult to speak on, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face (cutting out our tongue may be a more apt comparison though). The safe space, trigger warning, and “anyone that I disagree with is a racist” mentality is handicapping our ability to work with those we disagree with in any kind of meaningful way.

I recently had the displeasure of having someone levy a personal attack against me because we disagreed. It all started when my sister’s boyfriend, Travis, made a post on Facebook about the USAG, Jeff Sessions, patronizing a local Mexican restaurant in Houston, TX. The owner and chef posted a picture with Sessions to social media. This was a horrible, no good, very bad sin of the highest order that the owner committed. People were incensed and the internet hate machine roared into action. It was the typical leftist circle-jerk of who can virtue signal their way up the “wokeness” hierarchy the fastest. I guess being the USAG and not supporting illegal immigration makes you incapable of enjoying Mexican/Tex-Mex food.

One of the comments on his post claimed, as a fact, that Sessions is a white supremacist. I guess my curiosity got the best of me and I asked for information that lead her to the conclusion. She offered up a couple of links, neither of which made a statement of fact; one was the worst case interpretation of his statement, “The office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement…”. Even left leaning, fact checking site, Snopes says this:

While we are unable to ascertain Sessions’s motives for the change he made to his prepared speech (there were many other places he diverged, as well), we can say that it is factual that Sessions made the statement that “the office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” and that “Anglo-American” is a way to reference to the common law legal heritage the United States sheriff’s system shares with Europe.

Snopes admits that Sessions’ claim is factual and make no attempt to attribute intent to what he said. Source

Her other source for her claim was a story referencing a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King, admonishing Sessions, and saying that he should not be confirmed for a federal judgeship. He ultimately was not confirmed to the court. This letter by King may or may not be based in fact against Sessions, I have not looked into it. However, her using the opinion of someone else to make a factual claim is not an argument in good faith, and offers no statement of fact to support her claim. I responded by saying that she should do better to support her claims that he is, in fact, a white supremacist. After saying my piece about her evidence, she implied that I am defending Sessions because I too am a racist, and instructed Travis to, “come get your family.” Travis responded by claiming that, “sadly he is unwrangleable.” Which lead me to reply in saying that he is not and hopefully will not be a family to me. Screen shots of the exchange will be shown below.

All of this is relevant because it predicates what came next.

Travis and my sister have been together just over two years, I believe, and both are in their mid 30s. To say I never liked him would be a gross understatement. He has shown himself to be as intolerant as any archetypal leftist you can find; he operates from a place of hostile emotion, and believes that if you bring facts or a different opinion to a discussion with him you are a hostile, hateful person.

Travis and I have gone back and forth many times and on many different subjects; we have agreed on maybe 1. Our last interactions, I felt, left us in a place where we would try and be more mindful of the other’s position and give the benefit of the doubt when we disagreed.

This online exchange was far from the end of it, and Travis, the perpetual victim, then crossed a line.

First some more context: He is included in a group text message between my parents, me, my wife, and my 3 sisters. We had been chatting because my mom went to urgent care because she sliced open her toe and needed stitches.

He used that group chat to actually tattle on me to my family because I was “mean to him” (after he said I was “unwrangleable”) then claimed he had no idea why I became overtly hostile to him. He twisted things to make it seem like I brought hostility to the group chat. I snapped. I decided I would meet him at his level and finish what he started.

Travis then used his Facebook to do a number of things: make a public, personal attack on me; tagged my 3 sisters, my wife, and a distant relative that I thought was friendly with me, in order to get them to condemn me and support him; claimed, and not for the first time, that I am a hateful person; finally, framed his post to make it seem like I was the one that went after him initially.

Before we go further, can I just comment on how idiotic he is to think that my wife, of all people, would side with him instead of me? Does he not understand that we chose each other, have a very similar world-views, agree that he is an intolerant manipulator, and put the best interests of our family unit above the feelings of someone like him?

There has been no further discussion in my family’s group text so I do not currently know where things stand. I regret nothing and meant everything everything that I said. I have attached relevant screenshots to see the progression of the conversations.

Why is this relevant? Because this is a microcosm of the state of discourse in the country now. Instead of agreeing to disagree people resort to personal character attacks to shame others into silence. I can only speak for myself, but any comments that I made on his post did not come from a place of hatred or intolerance. I want people to be better with forming opinions based on fact, not conjecture. Instead of mollifying his friend and claiming me to be unwrangleable, he could have chosen to give my opinions space without having to agree with me at all. Personal character attacks to someone’s family because you disagree with them is a low, immature tactic.

The IDW, thankfully, exists despite people like Travis who would like to see any differing opinion silenced. I hope that as a society we can overcome this tribal, intersectional disaster we have gotten ourselves into; if we are unable to the future is a nasty place.


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