Dissenting opinion is to be respected and not mocked in open societies

Reader responds to a letter questioning their initial intentions.

Dear Editor,

I write in response to Mr. Strachan’s confused and confusing missive.

Having never met the man, I shall presume him to be an intelligent person; as such, I think there is no need to explain what straw man and ad hominem arguments are.

I will, however, remind him that they are logical fallacies typically employed as tricks to avoid the issue at hand. It might be worth his while to re-read my original letter with an open mind. Should he do so, he will note that I speak as a citizen in an open society, full stop.

Surely Mr. Strachan is not wanting to prevent me entering into civil discourse in a public forum because of what I do for a living. I did not, and do not make any claims related to my profession or employer and I ask my interlocutor to stop that muckraking line of claptrap.

It is strange that Mr. Strachan would want to “go there” as it completely skirts the issue at hand, i.e. I think it silly to claim that god was present at the Ft. McMurray fire. Therefore, I ask that Mr. Strachan engage with me, if he so chooses, on the issue I raise, leaving personal attacks and name calling for playground bullies. Put another way, let us hear him talk about the very interesting (at least to me) question of whether god is present when disasters happen, and stop trying to score points with veiled threats and non sequiturs.

Dripping with sarcasm and contempt, Mr. Strachan, referring to me, opines that I am “sure” only my views are correct and [that I am one] who sees no contradiction in “mocking the alternative views of others”. The truth is just the opposite. I am not at all sure of most things and I did not mock anyone’s views. I did disagree with another citizen, and I do believe that in a pluralistic democracy, dissent is to be both allowed and encouraged.

Thinking that is clear, intellectually honest, issue-centered and civil is the hallmark of our society’s social contract. I invite Mr. Strachan, or anyone else, to join me here for what could be a fascinating discussion of opposing viewpoints. I will leave the reader to observe the sad irony in Mr. Strachan mocking me while complaining about my non-existent mocking.

Scott Lewis