I’ve read recently about people cutting off dialogue because of certain behaviors of those on the other side. And indeed, there are times when dialogue becomes futile because someone else refuses to be honest or refuses to engage.
I’m writing this simply to appeal to those who want to see more dialogue, more working together, more actual exchange of ideas, and more true debate in which we actually engage one another’s thinking to be the good guys. Just that. You can respond to another person rationally and with sanity even if they are not likely to do the same thing. If this is done in a public forum, neutral parties who may be influenced will see what you do and be positively influenced by the way you debate as well as by the point you make.
This can involve the determination that you’ve said enough on a subject and are going to just sit back while someone else raves. If they bring nothing new to the debate, you don’t have to answer.
Dialogue will not prosper when we place too many preconditions on starting it. Be willing to let the other guy argue badly. The benefits of true dialogue are simply too great for us to allow obnoxious people to stop it.