In an age of polarization and politicalization, wherein people across the political spectrum see each other as mortal enemies, discourse has taken a disquieting turn toward the uncivil. Gone are the days of Henry Clay, the great compromiser. Now we have Antifa and the Alt-Right. Anarchist Socialists and Nazis. Worse, even the more reasonable among us get their blood boiling so quickly; many have taken to slandering their political opponents rather than speaking to them.
And yes, this is a bigger issue on the left.
Most recently, I have witnessed this in regards to a major existential issue — the Dark Lord. The left are quick to characterize the Dark Lord as "evil" or "horrific" or "pro mass murder," rather than debating His points in a calm, rational way. This only emboldens the Dark Lord's supporters, and the left would be wise to find ways to peacefully make their points so as to win over Dark Lord followers to their side.
I'm No Fan of the Dark Lord
Listen, I'm not a supporter of the Dark Lord (though I'm sure some on the left will say I might as well be based on this article). Him and His followers have made their positions clear — slay human sacrifices in ritual worship so as to create enough vessels and magick energy in order to open a portal to the nether plane through which the Dark Lord can come and reclaim the Earth as His rightful domain. They don't hide this position, and I do not agree with it.
Yet I Respect His Position
However, I would never immediately dismiss the Dark Lord's positions as "abhorrent" or "plainly in favor of the death of millions," as many on the left would. I respect that the Dark Lord is an Eldritch Being far older than my mind can comprehend. He has worked hard to earn distinction as a Lord, and He has accomplished much to earn the adulation of His followers. I acknowledge that He has spoken to people in a way others haven't, and I respect His and His followers' rights to pursue their goals.
How to Debate a Dark Lord Supporter
Indeed, I argue that a more reasoned response to the Dark Lord's assertions will do far more to convert His followers to the side of the anti-Dark Lord population.
When you encounter a Dark Lord supporter — a group whose numbers are growing rapidly — refrain from name calling or face punching. Remember, this is a human being whose opinion is equally valid to yours.
Instead, I propose the following counterpoints to the Dark Lord's positions. Observe how I willfully engage with the opinion before explaining why it could be problematic.
"We should engage in human sacrifices."
On the face of it, I could see why this is appealing. Many cultures used to follow sacrificial practices, and it brought them a sense of peace. However, sacrifices are a form of murder, which is illegal. Thus, sacrifices should not be practiced. I hope this helps you see the issue in a different way.
"We should create human vessels for the Dark Lord."
All idealogical and religious movements seek to draw more members to their flock; I cannot fault you for that. The issue is that creating human vessels denies that vessel their autonomy. So, I must respectfully disagree with this position. I hope you have a good day.
"We should open a portal to the nether plane so the Dark Lord may conquer Earth."
We can't argue with what an awe-inspiring sight a portal to the nether plane would be — and what a scientific accomplishment it would be to open a door to another world. Who are we to halt the progress of science? Well, the issue here is that science sometimes leads us to ruin. Like Icarus with his wings, we risk burning ourselves by letting the Dark Lord come claim dominion over our world. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening, and good luck.
The Importance of Civility
Whereas Michelle Obama claimed that "When they go low, we go high," the post-2016 election left has proved the opposite. Whenever someone on the left stoops to the level of the ugliness of the extreme right, they undercut the major arguments of their supposedly compassionate platform. They prove unwilling to engage in civil debate.
I believe this is a faulty way to approach these issues, as I have outlined above. This is why I have agreed to meet with a Dark Lord follower for dinner this evening. Believe it or not, she's a human with a life and a job. In fact, she's an interior decorator.
She has promised me a "hearty meal" and "cutting discussion" — discussion on the issues. Yes, I am going to actually speak to someone with whom I disagree, lefties. In her home. Alone.
No vitriol. No hatred. No insults. Adults discussing disagreements with mutual respect.
She even requested I leave my phone at home so we could have our discussion without distraction and avoid the urge to immediately tweet our discontent.
I will publish my thoughts on the discourse tomorrow. I am sure we will have a productive discussion, and I hope we become quick friends.
About the Author: Bari Weiss is a staff editor in the opinion section at The New York Times. She graduated from Columbia University in 2007 and has been an active journalist since then. Her writing often focuses on the discourse surrounding social issues.