Twitter is a strange place these days.

I came back to twitter this week after avoiding it for a while, and I think it may have been a poorly timed return given events in the UK to do with that thing which shall not be named. But after observing a week of highly frayed public discourse I feel like this needs to be said:

In the interests of general discourse in the world, allow me to offer this small opinion. It may be a worthless one but seeing things going on as they are is intensely infuriating to me. Politics touches every part of our lives, so the least we can do is be civil about it.

If you think anyone who disagrees with your pet political position is a “traitor”, a “quisling” or an “enemy of the people”, you are part of the problem with political discourse, not the solution. Similarly if you minimise the legitimate concerns of others about your pet political position, you are also part of the problem, not the solution.

For example, as a monarchist, a strict, specific reading of the definition of “traitor” would allow me to apply that word freely to republicans here in Britain, but I do not, because I’m fairly sure thought is not a crime, and someone holding an opposing view doesn’t scare me, provided they don’t act on it violently. Similarly, there are legitimate concerns and objections to monarchy, even the constitutional kind for which I advocate, and as a monarchist it is my duty to listen to those concerns and take heed of them, both to allow me to educate and discuss counterpoints, and to help me better refine my own ideas.

The thing I’ve noticed this week (even from myself at times) is that there are highly intelligent people out there who fall into these twin traps constantly.

Not everyone who disagrees with you is a bad guy, not everyone who agrees with you is a good guy. Treating them as such doesn’t condemn the former and excuse the latter, but it does demean you, and it has cheapened our political discourse to the point we are at now.

This having been said, I am not saying there are not political positions that deserve to be dismissed out of hand – Godwins Law exists for a reason after all. Just maybe think, and talk to your interlocutor before flying off the proverbial handle. Ideas live and die by debate, but debate the idea, don’t berate the human.

OK, rant (plea?) over, have a nice day everybody.

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