Yesterday on BoingBoing Clay Shirkey writes:
It takes a truly jaded mind to understand that people who disagree with you have to be engaged, not just emoted at.
Tru dat. Those of us on different sides of a political or philosophical question (and there are usually more than just two sides) can trade emotional outbursts till the cows come home without making a difference to anything but our blood pressures (and our opinions of each other). You can't shout or shame me out of my opinion and I can't ridicule you out of yours.
But you might have information that would change my decision, or I might have a perspective you haven't considered, and if we can each avoid shutting the other person down with defensiveness we might manage to communicate the genuinely substantive differences between us. It's worth the effort.