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The Dying Art of Disagreement Summary

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The Dying Art of Disagreement SummaryIf we don’t resurrect the “The Dying Art of Disagreement” – says renowned American journalist Bret Stephens – the polarization of our society will reach unmanageable heights. And he explains how we should stop this poisonous process.

About Bret Stephens

Bret StephensBret Stephens is an American journalist and political commentator, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. A former contributor to “The Wall Street Journal,” he is currently op-ed columnist for “The New York Times.”

He has authored “America in Retreat” and has been featured as a speaker in the 2015 Munk debate, “Has Obama Made the World a More Dangerous Place?”

“The Dying Art of Disagreement Summary”

What you can see above on the image below the title is an old work. In fact, an excerpt from a 1437 engraving by Italian sculptor Luca della Robbia. It represents Plato and Aristotle having a discussion.

The topic is not important.

What is, in the opinion of American neoconservative journalist Bret Stephens, is the fact they are having a dispute. And, even more, that out of this dispute some the greatest ideas in human history were born.

In “The Dying Art of Disagreement,” a lecture delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Award dinner and published as an op-ed article in “The New York Times” on 24 September 2017, Stephens claims that the only way to salvage our civilization is by resurrecting this type of debate.

In his opinion, the political polarization happening in the United States during the past three decades is due to three very specific reasons.

The first one is the general problem: people have started seeing disagreements as something inherently negative. It is, obviously, not: only through disagreements, we can reach higher truths and really move from our positions.

However – and this is the second reason – identity politics has hijacked the schoolrooms. Consequently, many people with different opinions are routinely labeled as bigots, and many more are simply afraid to talk, so as to avoid such epithets.

In fact, according to recent surveys, almost half of American students find “heckling” students acceptable, and up to one fifth think that violence is a fair measure to silence a contrarian with fundamentalist or dogmatist views.

And the media further reinforces this – which is the third reason why disagreeing is a dying art. Namely, instead of promoting discussion, different media are strictly favoring one side over the other. The result: true enough – but untrue – news and worldviews.

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