“I attack the ideas, not the people.”
So I’m a fan of 60 Minutes at the ripe old age of 24. I also happen to be a huge fan of talk radio, but let’s leave that for another post. (I guess this is the result of being a life-long news junkie. I just don’t see what’s so wrong with trying to stay up-to-date?!)
To my surprise, Justice Antonin Scalia was being interviewed. I heard him say something last night that I thought was poignant; a quote that I try to live by when discussing any and all controversial topics. Being a politics major and being the type of person who thinks that controversial topics are what make life and discussions all the more colorful, I feel as though I try to argue fairly. I try to stay on topic, give an informed opinion, actually hear what the other person is saying (Who knew that new ideas were good for the brain? Sometimes they even help to inform your own opinions!), and avoid any and all personal attacks (see: stay on topic). I can’t tell you the number of times I have gotten into a discussion and felt as though I was talking to a very rude, very ignorant, brick wall. I never understood how attacking my personal character was relevant to the discussion at hand, especially when talking to a well-educated, well-informed, and successful person. I hold the belief that people aren’t solely their jobs, their opinions, or their words and actions on any one particular day. All of us have bad days and we wouldn’t want others to judge us on our worst days now, would we?
My point is this: when getting into an intellectual debate, try to keep things intellectual. Stay on topic, keep your ears open because you might learn something, give your informed opinion, and for goddsakes, if you aren’t going to listen to me, listen to Chief Justice Scalia – attack the ideas, NOT THE PERSON! (You’ll come out with your dignity intact and maybe even some respect from your opponent!)