I am sure reams of paper have been archived regarding this topic. I don't claim to be a philosophy scholar or linguist nor have I had any "formal" education on the subject matter. The following, of course, are just my own thoughts.
As with anyone's worldview, mine has been shaped by the various experiences I've had in my relatively short life. I haven't the inclination to explain every experience I've had or to write a compiled treatise of the various works I've read through the years that have shaped my thinking. My intent is not to write extensive biographies on the people in history that have formed my political—and really, my life—philosophy.
My sole purpose of this article is to explain how to initiate a productive political conversation. I'm not being smug and, really, the tips are relevant to any conversation one might have.
When playing any game, participants must know the rules. A conversation is no different, and certainly a productive one is no game. When starting a conversation with someone, at least three concepts must be understood:
- One's entire belief system can not be discussed in one sitting.
- The conversation is the beginning—and will not be the end—of a productive conversation that will take place over time.
- A tenacious commitment to the understanding and action of the above two concepts.
While engaging others in political matters, filter the conversation (and pointedly, the person) through the following three dichotomies:
As much as I do not like to label and generalize folks, it is somehow ingrained into the human mind. The human mind groups things. This is fact.