Arguing with the Status Quo

Firm in the matter,
but friendly in the interaction.

Recently I started arguing for some positions outside of the current mainstream, or status quo, or whatever you want to call it. It’s an interesting experience, esp. when using the argumentation skills I picked up when arguing for atheism over a decade ago and applying it to this topic. I noticed how hard it is to find people to have a decent discussion with. Thinking about it, it’s not that surprising.

If people argue for the status quo, it means they have the majority on their side. What is considered “good”, or righteous. They never had to actually defend their positions. It was considered a given that they are right — so, mostly, they stay at the surface, perhaps having a “foreclosure” identity. They cannot argue about that subject, because they never had to.

They strongly believe something, but they have no arguments why it is right. For some people, esp. those who consider themselves rational or smart, this situation is very … uncomfortable. And they can react extremely irrational and stupid in that situation.

However, this behavior — of otherwise rational and smart people — at least shows you that you might be onto something. Sure, some things do not need an argument. Some things are “obvious”. But that should make it very easy to come up with good reasons why, e.g., starting a knifing is a bad idea (nope, not arguing for it, I just needed an extreme bad example ;-)). And, yeah, for something as stupid as stabbing/slashing people — yeah, that is easy and obvious. But for other things we hold as “truth”? What if we cannot find an easy and obvious explanation, one that can survive close scrutiny and a checking of facts? Then things might be different than they appear to be.

But I also think, it’s the only way for a society to grow, to have a critical look at one’s sacred cows — and slaughter them if necessary.


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