“The time has come for both left and right in this country to rediscover what philosophers call the â€œprinciple of charityâ€ which asserts that a discussantâ€™s argument should be interpreted in the way most compatible with the assumption that they are reasonable and well-intentioned.”
– Jason Arvak in his post “On Lowering The Partisan Heat.
Allegations that conservatives love torture as some kind of core value or that liberals are all authoritarian â€œsocialistsâ€ trying to recreate the Soviet kulaks in some bizarre post-modern form are not only rhetorically excessive, they are actively poisonous to any potential for reasonable debate even on other issues. As such, they should be rejected by those who share their general ideological leaning as much (if not moreso) than by their opponents.
When it becomes possible to disagree on principle while conceding that the opposition is in fact at least principled in the abstract, then it may be possible to have a meaningful debate about â€œtortureâ€ and other hot-button issues in this country.