“Assuming the initial point” or “begging the question.”
We are facing a moral and possibly even existential crisis in our culture. This is due largely to the breakdown of civil discourse, a breakdown that has resulted because we have forgotten how conversations work.
We are no longer willing to discuss basic principals. We are unwilling to define our terms. We make appeals to false authority and neither ask for verification nor check it when offered. Instead we have moved to conclusions and argue those with a level of vitriol usually reserved for soccer riots. Instead of reasoned discussion we use extreme tactics to force our points or set up straw men with distorted and simplistic views of the other side that are easily dismissed.
Far worse, we have moved so far beyond foundation principals that people no longer see the flaws in their arguments. We are no longer even willing to consider our own assumptions. If we are unwilling to do so there is no point in conversation.
Which is where we are now. Preaching to the choir and yelling “We are right!” at the other side.
We must pull back. We must be willing to stop and think and return to basics. If we will not we will continue to do a great deal of harm to people, our society, and the world.
These are a few of the questions I see us begging most often:
When does life begin?
When does life end?
Is homosexuality immoral?
Do we have a fair and just society for all people?
What responsibility do we have to future generations and how does it impact our responsibilities to those currently alive?
Under what conditions is military action both moral and necessary?
I could go on.
We must find a way to return to basic conversations, to deal with the issues that face us, and actually talk to and not at one another. We must stop making assumptions about other people and their situations.
We need to stop arguing and actually talk.