And other questions for Persuasion’s advice columnist
Good responses this week, Kat
I adopted a "no politics" stance with my birth family years ago, with great results. Granted, this is only two-three days a year. It wouldn't work with constant contact, I don't think. Also, there is no jerk in my family who won't leave the subject alone. That wouldn't work, either.
I actually think that in general refusing to discuss political views with people you respect but disagree with is a bad idea. For example everyone I respect agrees that there is too many people being killed in some neighborhoods and also agrees that most of these killings are by people of the same social group. I would not respect you if you think the number of killings is acceptable (which would make you a Nazi) or that they are mostly by the police (which would make you ignorant). We will also agree that having police forced into “suicide by cop” is bad. We may well disagree about what instrumental approach is needed but even here we will agree about much – better training about mental health crises and more resources to deal with them are not that controversial. Beyond that we are trying to predict the future, which is always difficult. I have opinions about what would work but these are not moral opinions and I am not certain that my solutions would be best. Starting a discussion with our mutual moral positions and only then moving to presumed solutions does three things: it identifies us as members of the same moral group, it acknowledges that we actually do not know exactly what the best solutions are, and it provides both of us with a way to learn from each other. Social problems are difficult and complicated. If you do not doubt your own solutions you are a fool and if you demand that others agree with them you are posturing and not discussing.