My back-and-forth on Twitter yesterday with a stereotypically sanctimonious Christian has me thinking about a recent conversation with my friend Paul.
Paul and I are both former denizens of Usenet, and hsv.general in particular.
Many of us hsv.generalites would habitually joke about the state of our discourse. We were legendarily argumentative. We’d go for weeks.
Thing is, no one does that anymore. I went from disagreeing with this guy yesterday to blocked in less than an hour.
Ten or fifteen years ago, we may have vehemently differed. But we assumed honor on the part of our discursive opponent. We assumed a reasonable person who had arrived at a different conclusion. The lengths of our arguments were testimonies to that respect.
We don’t do that now. You disagree? You disappear.
It’s a logical progression of the self-selection of ideas. No one of us need encounter too icky a reality. You don’t fit exactly what I think? You go away. You don’t exist.
This is a truly grave, but largely unacknowledged, threat to civilized society.