Love Your Enemies | Civil Discourse
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last updated 10 Jan 2021

On the politics page we discussed the political polarization common in 21st century politics.

The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020 prompted me to think about the subject of Civil Debate.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) was a liberal Jewish Supreme Court Justice and
Antonin Scalia (Nino) a conservative Italian Catholic Justice were best of friends although they had vastly different views on the constitution and the role of the court. .
Their commonalities overrode their differences on the court.
They both came from outer-borough New York City. They both liked Opera and appeared together in a comic "Scalia/Ginsburg," Opera together. They both liked cooking and their families socialized frequently.

On a trip to India, they famously rode an elephant, with Scalia sitting up front. What about feminism? "It had to do with the distribution of weight," Ginsburg deadpanned slyly.
See: What made the friendship between Scalia and Ginsburg work - The Washington Post

John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley
In a 2010 web post about the juvenile name-calling by some of todays national politicians, Deborah Boykin of Prattville commented:

"Maybe the debates between John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley from the 1970s should be made available on TV again. These men disagreed on policy just as vehemently as people do now, but they were able to debate their positions eloquently and civilly, using facts, statistics and educated opinions. The level of public discourse in this country today is stunningly low and it doesn't bode well for the future."
Galbraith was a frequent guest on Buckley's conservative public affairs TV show Firing Line.
Buckley and Galbraith were ski buddies. After they both retired, Buckley a conservative (of Irish Catholic ancestry) used to take the train from New York up to Boston once a month to have lunch with Galbraith a liberal (of Scotch Protestant ancestry).

See YouTube examples:
Cambridge Union: William F. Buckley Jr. vs. John Kenneth Galbraith
William Buckley vs Keynesian Economist


One person can embrase supposedly conflicting beliefs:
Francis Collins M.D., Ph.D. is best known as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH from 1993-2008.

He said,

"One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war." - Francis Collins
All evangelical Christians I know reject evolution as being incompatible with the bible. Most also reject Climate Change.
Collins proposes a way of thinking about science and faith that sees each as complementary to the other.
His best selling book "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief"
Personal:

Mark Shields was a political columinst and commentator who took the liberal point of view on PBS and other programs with a series of conservative counterparts including William Safire, Paul Gigot, David Gergen and David Brooks. When he retired in 2021 those of them who were still around gave testimonies. They all said how they enjoyed their debates with him and described him as knowledgeable, trustworthy, civil and humble among other traits.
In his final PBS show he defended politics as an honorable profession.

I for one never missed the PBS Newshour on Friday nights just to watch Shields and Brooks.
Links: Honoring Mark Shields and his decades of political analysis
Mark Shields and the Best of American Liberalism | NY Times, Davis Brooks


Books:
Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt: Brooks, Arthur C.: Amazon.com: Books, 2019

Links:
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