The Hard Rules of Civil Discourse
1. Begin by assuming that about something you believe most intently it is at least theoretically possible you are completely wrong.
2. Begin by assuming that those who disagree with you are not crazy, stupid or evil.
3. Do not accuse those whom you disagree with of being crazy, stupid or evil. All discussion stops at that point.
4. Accept your opponent as a fellow citizen and patriot.
5. Try to go to where your opponent is to understand their thinking and feeling. Do not fake this by false feeling and straw man thinking.
6. Study your own position for its logical fallacies and emotional blind spots. Do not fake this by false feeling and self-confirming thinking.
7. Be aware of confirmation bias, our tendency to reject evidence that we don’t like and accept blindly as evidence what confirms our thinking.
8. Ask your opponent to guide you through their thought process so you can understand where they are.
9. Repeat in your own words what your opponent believes until they agree you understand.
10. Now guide your opponent through your though process to show how you got where you are.
11. Present your opponent with flaws in their thinking and data and listen to their criticisms of yours.
12. Do not yell, name call, use innuendo, or otherwise slander your opponent.
13. If your opponent name calls, uses innuendo, or slanders you, call them on it. If they continue, walk away from what is not civil discourse.
14. Do not make threats as this can only poison the discourse and may even lead to violence.
15. Accept that at the end of civil discourse, you may not have persuaded your opponent. If all that results is better mutual understanding, civil discourse has still proved useful.