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Intellectual Advice on Arguments

Sandra Fluke comments that “It’s always more effective to be civil.” You may remember her from the birth control insurance debate a few months ago. She testified before Congress, and Rush Limbaugh called her names as a result. And then advertisers pulled out from his show and he was forced to apologize. His inability to be civil cost him money.

Being civil can be challenging, especially if the topic under discussion is one you feel passionately about. But unless your goal is to alienate, humiliate, or wound the person you’re talking to, civility is a must. If your goal is one of the above, then maybe you’re a talk radio personality. If so, feel free to ignore this post! In the book “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk,” being civil is one of the keys to talking.

So spend some time today listening to yourself. Are you civil? What drives you to incivility? Remember that being civil is a cornerstone of intellectual discussion. And it can give you a leg up in effectively arguing your point.

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