OPINION | Students need to embrace civil discourse

Persuasion, yelling and calling into question the moral character of an opponent are all interesting and predictable components of a modern argument, especially one between young adults.

In the hustle and bustle of college, it seems that students are losing the perspective that comes with civil discourse.

Instead of arguing from a logical standpoint and accepting the inevitable counterargument, students nowadays are convinced that their arguments are superior at all times.

After attending Student Government Association’s assembly on Oct. 26, it occurred to me that this is a massive problem to have among college students.

There are several factors that have contributed to this transition away from logical arguments into deranged yelling matches.

The first is social media.

The Internet as a whole, whether it be comment boards, forums, Facebook or Twitter, has contributed to the systematic breakdown of argumentation.

The Internet provides a level of anonymity that breeds a courageous attitude and inspires Internet users to say whatever they want, essentially, wherever they want.

This attitude has transcended our online world and is now commonplace in our society.

People seem to have forgotten the concept that they must pause to hear the rebuttal from their opponent.

They have also forgotten that when arguing, an actual stance must be reached by each party in lieu of gross generalizations.

My generation is suffering from a loss of argumentation etiquette, compliments of constant Internet use and availability.

The second factor involving the transition away from arguments is a misinterpretation of the First Amendment.

The First Amendment allows anyone have protected speech, among other rights.

However, most forget that it also allows someone with a differing argument to say what he or she wants as well.

A firm grasp of this concept will help current youth argue in a more productive fashion.

Plus, proving someone’s argument wrong with his or her own logic is the best part.

But the opponent’s opinion can never be known if a party simply refuses to hear it.

The third factor is the media.

Turn on any political news channel around 7 p.m. on a given weeknight. Scroll through the programming, and the viewer is bound to see a roundtable of eloquent political professionals arguing with one another to the point of shouting.

This also is negatively impacting the way that we see arguments, especially in the professional sphere.

Instead of the “winner” of an argument being the person with the most well-reasoned argument, it appears to be that the person who yells the loudest is the one who is ultimately considered “right.”

Not only is this inaccurate, but it’s lazy.

Anyone can shout and yell about a certain topic ad nauseam; it takes more effort to develop a concrete stance and support it with evidence.

Let’s throw this childish argument format that we have grown so accustomed to out the window.

Engaging in civil discourse not only prepares students for the real world where inarticulate opinions aren’t tolerated, but it makes students more accepting of the fact that differing opinions, and the subsequent arguments, are unavoidable and equally as important.


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