O izginuli kulturi dialoga

Alexander Görlach, založnik in urednik The European, v današnjem komentarju piše o tem, kako v najbolj svobodnem in fertilnem času za dialog ta dejansko izginja – bodisi s pojavom militantnih verskih ali ideoloških političnih gibanj bodisi z izogibanjem neposrednemu osebnemu izpostavljanju s skrivanjem za priročno puhlico “nekateri pravijo” (lat. Quidam dicunt). Medtem ko prvi absolutno zanikajo dialog, se mu drugi izogibajo, da se izognejo javnemu denunciranju drugačnih stališč.

We live in a day and age that is dominated by the “There’s no law against me saying this” argument. Here in Germany, people like Thilo Sarrazin or the founder of the Alternative for Germany party, Bernd Lucke, are driving this mantra and portraying themselves as alternatives to the mainstream: bold upstream swimmers. But here’s what they fail to realize: In Germany, everybody’s allowed to say anything he or she wants to.

Yet, while freedom of expression is held up high, we Germans fail to discuss and debate amongst ourselves – largely because we entrench ourselves in our close and narrow circles in which only the opinion we want to hear is voiced. This has led to the paradox of our time: We live in an age that is fertile ground for pluralism but remain mentally isolated as never before. The constructive culture of dialogue and discourse is on its deathbed.

When diversity was still considered an evil and people were cautious about their every word, there was one ploy that could drive a discussion or spark debate: “Quidam dicunt”, as the theologians and philosophers of the time put it, or “some say”, as we do today. By referring to “some”, they made it clear that the argument that was about to follow did not necessarily reflect their personal opinions but that of an unspecified group of people. In this way, they could position themselves against the religious and secular authorities without being directly in the firing line, and focus on arguments that were not officially allowed to be put forth.

You’re allowed to say anything, but woe to those who irritate someone with their opinions. What’s the difference between “some say” and “there’s no law against me saying this”? “Some say” is usually followed by an argument, while “there’s no law against me saying it” is usually followed by some sort of resentment. Resentments don’t foster dialogue; arguments do.

Vir: Alexander Görlach, The European

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