TOOLS FOR CIVIL POLITICAL DISCOURSE
by Joseph de Rivera
Intelligent political conversation may be blocked by disrespect or lack of understanding. When we read something disrespectful we may think the writer is stupid, inconsiderate, opinionated, etc. If we don’t say anything they will keep behaving in ways that offend us, yet if we tell them they are stupid, inconsiderate, opinionated, etc. they will become hurt or defensive. How can we tell them without making them defensive? It is often helpful if we tell them how we actually feel. For more information on how to do this See here. When we do not understand why a writer is asserting something that appears stupid consider searching for the needs that are underlying their position. It may be possible to use principled negotiation to create a solution that meets the interests of both parties. For more information See here . If the other has different values than you do and doesn’t understand your position consider using the Rapoport debate technique. This involves an attempt to decrease the threat posed by the difference in values. It begins with an attempt to state the others point of view, persisting until the other agrees that there point of view has been correctly presented. See here for more information.