“Just because I disagree with you doesn’t make you stupid.”

There’s a trend around today: if I disagree with you, you’re stupid.

I frequently see partisans on both sides of American politics call the other party’s Presidential candidate, or his policies, stupid. This is ingratiating.

I’m one of those annoying motherf**kers that thinks that you can disagree with someone and still respect them. I also think that you can disagree with someone’s position and still understand the basis of their argument.

Examplia gratis: taxation. Liberals generally argue that taxes should be higher so that social programs and infrastructure can be fully funded, increasing the overall well-being of the country. Conservatives generally argue that taxes should be lower so that more funds can be spent consuming and investing, increasing the overall well-being of the country.

Both sides reject the other’s approach, and they usually do it as saying that “it’s stupid”. You know what’s stupid? What’s stupid is not spending a little time looking into how the other person’s framed their arguments, what their presuppositions are, and getting down to an evaluation of the assumptions that fundamentally drive the argument.

A wise man—I know not who—once said, “The level of a man’s intelligence is proportional to the degree with which he agrees with me.” While that’s generally true, I’d rather work from the assumption that we’re all reasonably intelligent and can disagree.

Again, that makes me an annoying motherf**ker. Of course, hearing people call people they don’t like stupid annoys me. It’s the circle of life.