We may disagree on politics. This can actually be a good thing. I can’t be everywhere at once and it would help to compare notes with someone who listens to different news sources than I. You may know some things about the candidates that I do not, and I may know some things that you do not. I want to make the best possible choice based on the best possible evidence. I welcome debate because bringing up points for analysis and rebuttal is a great way to get to the truth. If we are both honest, we should be able to reach an agreement. Ideally, we should be in political agreement as much as possible.
It may also be that on certain types of issues we cannot reach a resolution. For example, I have studied a great deal about creationism and evolutionism and have come to the conclusion that the bible is basically right. I remember finding overwhelming evidence for this. Unfortunately, this was so many years ago that I can no longer remember every bit of evidence, every counterargument, and how large sets of facts fit together. I might not be able to convince anybody today. In this case, the best thing is for both of us to keep an open mind and remain uncommitted to any position. If it is truly important, I can always go back and learn everything over again. This will take years. We should not be quick to jump to conclusions based on the first paper we read.
There are also certain issues that cannot by their very nature be decided by one person. No one person can know all the ways that new immigrants both harm and help us. It takes the cumulative experience of everyone in the country that has to deal with them in order to know how high to set the number of admissions per year. You are free to have a different opinion because I understand that you have had different experiences.
It is also okay not to be interested in politics or science. Not everybody can do everything. We can divide up the work. You can cook and I can wash the dishes. You can balance the checkbook and I can do the voting and activism. There is nothing wrong with a lack of opinion if you are uninformed. In fact, keeping an open mind is the wise thing to do when lacking data.
There are only a few things that bother me. Jumping to conclusions and holding them tightly in spite of evidence to the contrary is one. Believing in contradictions is another. Refusing to even listen to my side of the story is another. Getting confused by language and thinking the symbols we use to represent things are the things themselves is another. Being evil and showing no respect for other people really pisses me off. Because in politics we play with the lives of other people – whether or not we should go to war, what behaviors should be illegal, what should be done with those that continue to engage in such behaviors, and what should be done with those who resist – it is not a light, pleasant conversation that we can have over tea. Politics is simply war by other means. If you hurt others, I will stop you by whatever means necessary. Just because I love you does not mean I can bring myself to hate those you hate. I will do everything practical to protect you, but if you commit yourself to supporting evil candidates in order to perpetuate injustice, I can make no guarantees. I must allow people the chance to defend themselves, and if they are unable, I will do it for them. If we are going to get along, you must use logic and common sense. If you repeat nonsense political slogans, I will have a very hard time trusting your judgment and sanity. This means I will be nervous allowing you to watch the kids by yourself. I will be nervous allowing you access to the bank account. I will not even want to let you in the house, thinking you might burn it down or try to kill me.
These principles also apply to non-political conversations, such as arguments over what to have for dinner. Basically, don’t be evil and don’t be stupid and we should get along fine.