In no scenario, in my opinion, does insulting a person or a group add value to a situation, conversation, or cause. The moment a name is called or a disparaging remark is made, any objective in dialogue slows down, ceases, and can even reverse course. If productivity is the objective of a conversation, it can no longer be maximized once unnecessary negativity enters the conversation.
I’m not saying it doesn’t feel good to insult somebody, or to reach high and spike their argument back over the net – it can feel great, but what has it accomplished…? In any scenario, negative discourse won’t add value to the cause, and may actually take away from it.
Still, we bathe in it daily. Go sixty minutes without being proximate to a caustic conversation and it’s likely you are alone, and with no electronic window to the rest of society.
In his very important book, Religion, The Missing Dimension of Statecraft, author Douglas Johnson offers multiple examples of why he attempts to keep all adversarial dialogue on a positive note. There are so many good examples of this in the book, it should be required reading at the State Department…
…and it was, for a very long time.
“Allowing negative discourse” suggests Johnson, “is to work against the evolution of culture itself.”
I like that perspective; that each time we use an insult or barbed comment, we are taking a hack at forward moral progress. Imagine if, just for a moment, we all ceased to did this. We we would be engaged in value-added behavior. Think about that; value-added behavior. I like it. I’m down. And the men who hold high places… Jhciacb
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