Only fools agree to disagree

​There are some dismissive and insulting sentences. I detest them. Do you agree?

Has anyone ever said during a discussion (usually an argument because of the nature of the person who makes such statements)   “Let’s just leave it at that” or worse “We’ll have to agree to disagree”.  UuurrrrggggHHH! They then drop silent. They don’t even offer one another cup of tea. They just leave it hanging out there as if they are certain that you will acquiesce.

I have discussed this with journalists and writer friends of mine and we are ad idem on these points. One advised ‘Never argue with the village idiot. He’ll just bring you down to his level and then beat you with experience’. I wonder if someone might extrapolate from this that I am suggesting that the village idiot is always a man? It isn’t.

Occasionally I enter the fray realizing at the outset that whilst I expected a battle of wits, the other person arrived unarmed. But they forged ahead relentlessly leaving one to wonder which village they came from.

Photo by Thomas Park

Usually these “agree to disagree” type statements or demands are made by a person with the worst combination of arrogance, stubbornness and stupidity. This is the fall-back position of an idiotic fool who has neither the intellect to offer additional facts to support their position nor the presence of mind to recognize that they might be wrong – by commission or omission. They unknowingly lack the capacity to remember any fact which they might once have heard while simultaneously enjoying their ability to misinterpret or distort scientific facts and concrete evidence because they usually recall less than half of it. They stubbornly and blindly fail to recognize facts and truths. They want to choose not only their beliefs and their own, often misguided opinions, which they are free to do, but also ‘facts’, which they are not free to do. Add to this their inordinate stubbornness of a decrepit mule who will never admit that they might be (indeed are) wrong. It is a sign of their panic. The patronizing tone which usually underlies these statements indicates that they are using you as their psychological dumping ground. One is not obliged to agree to disagree at any time. One is certainly not obliged to agree to disagree because the unworthy opponent asserts that you “have to”. One has the simple right to disagree – and walk away. Then don’t look back to see their jaw drop.

If that village idiot hypothesizes that the medulla oblongata is attached to the patella and lies adjacent to the spleen, I don’t waste my breath with the Ausie retort of “Faaaaaark you mate”. I would rather enjoy my baklava.

More dismissive weaknesses displayed

In the same vein is “To each his own”. Often prefaced by “Oh well …” and usually said in a quiet voice. It conveys to me that they are not interested in what you have to say. It is a dismissive comment by someone who lacks the energy to talk about important ideas. I have found them to be so absorbed in their own thoughts and miserable lives that they rudely end that part of the conversation so that they can tell you more about themselves. And gloat. Because they firmly believe that they have won. As if there ever was a victory to be had or needed in a civilised discussion. Sadly, the village idiot isn’t always instantly identifiable. We need a law that requires them to carry a sign.

Don’t play chess with a rooster

If you eschew arguing with the village idiot, do not play chess with a rooster either. The rooster will strut across the board knocking over all the pieces while shitting on it. Then it will crow as if it has won.

Rafael Sabatini expressed it beautifully in his short story “The Venetian”. 

By such signs shall you know them   “ .  .  .  .  .   those insignificant parasites of humanity who, themselves utterly unproductive of aught that shall benefit their race, destitute alike of the wit to conceive for themselves or the energy and capacity to execute the conceptions of their betters, writhe in the secret consciousness of their utter worthlessness  .  .  .  .”   Find what I wrote previously, here

PS: I recommend Sabatini. His writing is wonderful and his use of language is beautifully inspiring.

PPS: This is my opinion and my experience. If you don’t agree, Coooooowill. I’ll enjoy my baklava – or tiramisu. If you do agree, please share your thoughts and experiences

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


2 Responses

  1. A strongly expressed opinion. I prefer to respect the other person’s opinion as strongly as I disagree with it. Otherwise, only conflict will arise, which is only self-defeating to both parties. Wasted energy.

  2. I understand Vaughan, but respecting everyone’s opinion is the gentle way out and why the stupid people and fake news appear to be winning. I cannot respect the opinion of a flat earth believer (although they can be entertainingly stupid), an anti-vaxxer (really? a micro-chip in every vaccine), or a terrorist. But is also denial and distortion of facts which I do not accept. As to conflict and wasted energy – there is none. I walk away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *