Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Death of Socrates – Jacques Louis David, 1787
The lack of civility in public space nowadays is appalling. There is so much abuse on social media, that it is almost impossible to make a statement or discuss anything intelligently anymore without being insulted by those who disagree with you. Once the barrier of civility is broken, there is no stop to the flow of epithets derived from human anatomy and physiology or from the animal kingdom.
An intelligent, knowledgeable, eloquent person is in full command of the language he or she uses and does not have to resort to insults, cursing, vulgarities, and such. Intelligent arguments are based in grammar, logic, and rhetoric and are backed by knowledge, imagination, and experience. Unfortunately modern students are not taught the art of rhetoric anymore. The arguments are won in verbal fistfights whereas everybody must agree or else. Any divergent thought is bullied out in a totalitarian manner. But, but, but! One does not really win an argument because of a large repertory of insults.
Unfortunately, everywhere you look, on social media, in the press, on TV, people are unable to truly discuss or debate anything anymore in a civilized manner. The intellectual immaturity is appalling. People get offended because you do not think like them. As soon as you present a different view people start calling you names no matter who you are. What happened to “we agree to disagree?” What happened to civility? What happened to tolerance and respect?
As with anything, one would normally assume that both sides have a right to their own opinion. This, unfortunately, seems not be the case any longer. Name calling, insults and intimidation do not work at all with me, but an intelligent argument based on logic might. If you convinced me that my way of thinking was wrong, I would gladly accept your argument grateful that I have learned something new.
I do not subscribe to politically correct views or the view of a majority unless, of course, the majority is well informed and has a valid opinion I can logically agree with. But rest assured, I would never accept a view simply because it is the preferred view of a majority. I would rather have a sip of hemlock!