“…the solution lies in Christian Derbyshirism — that is, that Derbyshire’s got the more plausible basic understanding of the way the world works, but that he ought to Christianize it.”
It is a severe fact that one cannot take clear stands on many critical issues without expressing contempt for “the deeply held convictions of others with whom [one] disagree[s].”
The proper attitude toward a person or position one regards as contemptuous of, say, human life, is contempt –- which need not preclude pity, fear, and even compassion.
Anything less indicates one does not really take the matter seriously. It is always the fitting implication and sign of honesty in even the most “civil” disputes that the disputants are clearly antagonists whose differences cannot be reconciled or infinitely deferred without there being a winner and a loser.
This has always been the reality of “civil” or political discourse. And when confronted with people who are so profoundly disordered so as to advocate policy that breeds individual and social disorder, the “difference” is not a mere matter of “opinion;” it is a deep spiritual difference of great consequence.
What works, works –- an ounce of quality sarcasm, for instance, is worth a pound of argument, to say nothing of the common machinations of shrewd Machiavellian campaign strategists.
Like it or lump it: the more heated cultural politics of the day frequently merit returning fire in kind, firing pre-emptively, or deploying “nuclear options.” Of course things can get out of hand, and one might be wrong in one’s thinking and choices–that is always the risk of any serious exercise of power.
The side of that caution is also the side of false friends, dangerous appeasements, and emboldened enemies. In the long run, a civility maintained by putting love ahead of truth and justice leads to the entrenchment of hostile interests insulated from removal by normal political means.