On Polemics

Two stick figures arguing
Polemics make me really, really, really, really uncomfortable.

Now, there are probably a lot of people who think I'm a spineless, easily scared little shit for saying that - and they may be right. I don't know. The thing is, I dislike polemics of any kind - I even dislike polemics that agitate for causes I support. It's a strange thing to say, and maybe one that will end up undoing something or other - but I have set it out and I might as well defend it.

Polemicists and polemics - even polemicists and polemics for causes I agree with - make me uncomfortable because they don't seem to care about the truth, only about pushing their agenda. Even if they say their agenda is the truth - is it really? I doubt it.

I consider myself a seeker after truth; a very bad seeker after truth, but a seeker nonetheless. I know that little if anything is certain and that my model of the universe could change any time. I doubt and question everything. But in polemics, there is no room for doubt nor for questioning; there is only rhetoric, verbal pyrotechnics and a bit of false dichotomy thrown in. Polemicists and polemics do not lend themselves to being questioned or doubted, only to thundering, unthinking agreement. And as someone who can't go a day without needing to ask questions, throwing all my support behind someone who treats doubt as anathema makes me shake.

If everything we thought we knew today turned out to be wrong tomorrow, I'd be there trying to pick up the pieces and wondering what the hell the universe is actually like - but the polemicists? They'd still be blustering, I bet, still pushing their agendas and still trying to polarise people - because polemics is incredibly polarising. You don't use it if you want to unite people, which is really what we need right now.

I don't want to be a part of that. I don't want to be supporting people who care more about spouting divisive propaganda than about searching for what's good and right. And so I will not support polemics or polemicists.

If this makes me a bad or a weak person, so be it.