Uncivilized discourse

I “unfriended” someone today.

For the first time.

It feels as though I failed.

He continually placed his political views as comments on my posts. Nor would he listen to reason when I pointed out how wrong he was.

Or… was I wrong? I would not listen to his “reasons” either.

When I was arguing about climate change, I realized that I am in no position to duplicate the findings of any of the scientists. I don’t have temperature data for the world from 30 years ago to compare against current data. I don’t have pictures of glaciers 20 years ago to document their retreat. I didn’t go to the north pole 40 years ago, I can’t compare the depth of the ice cap then and now. How can I convince someone that the general consensus is correct if I cannot verify those data myself?

I can argue likelyhoods. Who gains in a conspiracy to claim global warming exists when it does not? Very few, and those few very poor. Who gains in a conspiracy to claim global warming does not exist when it does? Very many, and those many rich. Which conspiracy is more likely? Could the poor actually fund a hoax which for 30 years has lead to a global near consensus?

On the other hand, when arguing about the economy I feel on firmer ground. The prisoner’s dilemma is a pretty clear example of why pure capitalism will fail. Public goods will not be handled properly in a purely capitalistic situation. The mathematics is inescapable.

So eventually I stopped trying to convince and simply unfriended.

A failure on my part, but how could I change his mind?


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