Alright. I have to write this now to get some frustration out of me due to people's blatant falseness and cowardice.
For a number of times now I've engaged in serious debate with people concerning many different topics close to my core values, or issues I care deeply for. My policy is to try and maintain a respectful and neutral tone against my opponents in debate. If they resort to insults, name calling or inane rambling, I try to only increase my harshness a little so as to not let the discussion fall into a fruitless banter. Unlike some people I actually do want to get to the bottom of many matters.
But what irks me more than most things, a pet peeve if you will, are people who consciously close off debate and flees with their tail between their legs when an informed differing view emerges. God forbid you should be caught with being incorrect in something. Because what seems to drive people today is not to discover truth or learn the facts, but to simply be right. To have their predisposed opinions and views confirmed with mindless regurgitation of generic slanders and arguments and never once considering the existence of the notion of exchange of ideas. To be too afraid to have their stance on the world and it's situation refuted that you turn a blind eye to the most important bridge between difference in outlooks, discussion.
Several times now I've entered into debates which have either been loaded contemporary questions or something I'm very passionate about. One instance: They make their case in a question, somewhat crudely phrased, lacking nuance etc. And claiming strongly that "Oh I'm sure people will just say I'm an extreme leftist liberal snowflake and not actually listen". I'll engage them with a counter-argument, and they'll respond by saying something along the lines of, "Oh I knew you'd say that", and then when I retort that such an answer hardly answers my arguments, I get blocked. So much for claiming to actually be informed and nuanced.
Another instance: A simple but provocative question for most people due to the issue being loaded. I comment with a thorough evaluation of my main arguments against this, the asker does respond with some arguments, but when I seek to counter these, I am blocked. Seriously?
This is such a poison in today's society. We cannot, I repeat cannot pass on these attitudes to the next generation. That unpleasant ideas or answers is to be met with retreat or silence. It engenders the very worst of lazy attitudes and anti-intellectual behaviors, clamoring to idiotic notions or just incorrect opinions without ever taking the time to involve themselves in the cure for it. Ignorance is the root of so many wrongs in this world. And yet so many people are perfectly fine espousing it.
We go towards a very dangerous future where there is no actual search for what is right, rather than being right. Knowledge, not pride should dictate debate.
And GROW A SPINE! If your ideas cannot take criticism or retort, that means your ideas ARE WRONG.
It's not wrong to block or exit a debate if it's not going anywhere, and the opponent is only being obnoxious. But this venue is not the answer to every time you don't like what's being said. It doesn't make you right, it makes you afraid of being wrong.