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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Web Debate

Peggy Noonan, whose memoir of the Reagan years is worth selectively reading no matter what your politics, argues in a Wall Street Journal online piece that the Catholic church hierarchy does not pay enough attention to conservatives or advocate for their concerns sufficiently.

“Conservatives in the church often feel that they are regarded, and not completely unkindly, as sort of odd folk, who perhaps tend to have a third hand growing out of their foreheads and tinfoil hats on their heads.”

Progressive Christian groups, like Network, might differ in their assessments. And Josh Marshall’s piece from yesterday about how the rules and etiquette of debate can get awfully skewed is worth a couple of minutes of your time. Here is the key bit, but check out his Talking Points Memo for more.

“One of the greatest rhetorical and moral challenges of opinion writing is how to respond to or critique aggressively dishonest or tendentious arguments. One part of you wants to discuss the underlying issue with its complexities and ambiguities intact --- and every issue has complexities and ambiguities. But, in battles of ideas, decibels and clarity matter. And, to take up a different sort of metaphor, the niceties of conflict resolution are hardly appropriate or sensible if you’re trapped in a dark alley with a couple mafia goons.”