I've always admired people who are able to argue forcefully about a topic without getting personal, attacking, or losing their temper. It seems a rare quality these days, especially on the web, where the cloak of anonymity seems to lend itself to comments that, were they made in person, would likely get someone's ass kicked.
One of my best friends at M was politically the direct opposite of me. At the time we were both on our way to law school, and very much into philosophical and political debates, which sometimes degenerated into yelling. Yet it never got personal, and it was forgotten by the time we entered Rick's. And while we don't keep in touch much, I consider him one of my best friends.
About a year ago, I saw a profile of Justice Scalia on 60 minutes, and what struck me most about it was they said that the two best friends on the Supreme Court were Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his direct opposite politically. They asked him about it and he said "I don't argue with people, I argue with ideas." I thought that was pretty rare.
While I haven't always lived up to that standard myself (especially when I read some troll on the Freep website), I try to. I've thrown around "you're an idiot" too much, and turning to this site, I see that thrown out or worse quite a bit in the majority of threads. I wonder if you guys think the overall tone of this site and the comments section is: A-about right, B-too accusatory and personal, or C-not personal and derogatory enough asshole!
Not that "you're an idiot" is not ever deserved. There was a thread the other day about poole1dan, who defined the word idiot and worse in his comments. In fact I went to youtube, where he has a channel, to tell him he was ignorant and giving the rest of us a bad name. More (perhaps) deserved scorn might go to that guy who ignores actual facts in favor of his argument (e.g. the recruiting rankings don't matter guy)... debatable anyway. Not debatable is that guy who says that Brian is an idiot (poole1dan again), or calls people he doesn't agree with idiots simply because they have the opposite opinion. You may or may not agree with Obama, but clearly he is an intelligent guy who deserves respect.
So, this may too much of a Rodney King thread, but I'd be interested in the replies. I love a good argument, but like going to get a beer afterwards a lot more.