Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dialogue is what you do when you can't escape or remove a tyrant

Dialogue is toted a lot by progressives, therapists, and anyone who wants to stop the chaos that comes with fighting. It is prescribed on only as an anti-dote to literal war, but also the metaphorical, but still aggressive, wars of words like the abortion debate, the gay rights debate, etc.

We shouldn't underestimate the pain and damage caused by fighting, whether by words in the home or punches in the street. Fighting of any kind causes damage to all involved. But I would say this fact is not necessarily enough to justify the end of fighting.

We know there are dictators in the world who oppress their people. Castro, Kim Jung, Saddam (now dead), the Taliban. We know that they will not be stopped or changed by words. Really the sensible and only solution is to remove them from power. So why talk about dialogue?

The answer: We can't get rid of them in any way close to the ease that we might dream.

Shooting any of these guys in the head will not magically create a non-tyrannical government in its place. The vacuum left by Saddam's death was filled by groups fighting for power with every intention stepping on rights of other groups OR if they are not intentionally going to step, they will UNINTENTIONALLY step because they firmly believe, with a 100% certainty that will never change, that what they believe is "right". This is how toxic parents and many other perpetrators of injustice work: they have good intentions, but they also have an unchangeable worldview that confuses wrong for right, cruelty for kindness, and toughness for love.

These people can articulate very well their good intentions. Always expect a mission statement to be positive and bright. What happens when you look past it?

If we could wave a wand and replace all these monsters with a good, non-tyrannical government that will serve their people, would we waste indeterminate years on "dialogue" to gain some measure of "progress" with tyrants who are proud of what they believe and have no will to change?

Surely we would wave that wand. But since this magic is a dream, and we don't want to start World War 4 (or another Iraq disaster), we have to throw our efforts at dialogue, spending hours on speechwriting to convince the public that talks will accomplish "something" even while we all know people who have the beliefs of tyrants will not be changed.

Those of us fighting our toxic parents don't need to worry about military casualities. We're not asking for weapons or violence of any kind. We don't necessarilly even need money. We just need the social support from people who are capable of believing the RIGHT things.

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