Nothing Personal, it’s just Reasoning

When someone else offers you reasons to change your mind, you should be convinced by those reasons if they are good reasons. That’s not exactly the same thing is being convinced by the person. Nobody likes to be bullied or coerced and we often resist the reasoning others offer because of this. It can feel like a personal violation or an assault when we feel like some person is trying to change our minds.

However, we are now so much in the habit of personalizing ideas and reasons that we leave ourselves little room to consider ideas and reasons on their own merits. Framing everything in terms of “this person’s opinion” or “that person’s reasons” leaves no space for open minded critical thinking. Discourse across different ways of thinking comes to feel like a mine field of personal intrusions and attacks. I’m afraid this is now our national intellectual pandemic. We have become an unreasonable people, literally. We are not amenable to reasons because we’ve largely lost the ability to consider ideas and arguments on their own merits, independent of the willfulness of the people who offer them.¬†When mere persuasion reigns, reasonableness dies.

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