"Ground rules" continue until they achieve "grounding". This isn't an evolutionary process; it is simply including what was not previously.
The aforementioned erosion (in the Atlantic Northeast one could say 'erasure') of principled debate cannot displace the desire to attain status / respect, i.e. the need to be seen / need to feel as if one were "correct". This leads inevitably to conflict between espousing what will (self) aggrandize oneself and having absolutely no basis to justify same.
So, the human race has developed a number of tactics for (especially educated) people to create the image of being "right" and being "good" without any factual / logical basis. Almost always this leads to the ad hominem attack: name-calling. When one hears two people arguing about some foreign subject the observer may know nothing about the topic but everything about how they advocate / defend their position. It is impossible to miss one person attacking another; it is impossible to be persuaded by the individual doing so.
People are quick to announce "I don't want to talk about politics" meaning generally any "hot" topic, which of course, is everyone's prerogative (and to some a first line of defense). When the day comes when we do decide to "step into the ring" that decision to "talk politics" springs either from the confidence one has in his innate ability or, the far more common confidence one has in espousing the point of view publicly endorsed by an apparent majority* of people. The latter is simply strength in numbers mentality: if everyone says 2 + 2= 5, it does!
"That is a subject I have very strong personal feelings about so back off!" is another way to say "I lack the intellect but my display of emotion should disguise that fact."
Another favorite (always in a group setting) "excuse me?!?!" Employed not because the individual did not hear you but instead because the individual believes the group did not hear you and presumably the "group mentality" is adverse to yours. Now, the theory goes, the sheer number of people will rescue the individual by intimidating you; intimating that majority = correct.
At any college in this country (remove the "o" in NJ) every employee will parrot a NY Times favorite: "diversity aids education". That's the full extent of these birds' thought process. All things being as equal as possible that must mean that a class of all white males will not learn math, science, literature, as well nor as quickly as a class when replacing one of those white makes with a white female. The latter will not learn as well as a class with two females; and will be outdone if we start adding a "person of color" or better yet, a female of color.
Now for those of you feeling foolish (i.e. unfamiliar with scientific method but unwilling to admit same) you call me a "phobe" or "hater" and rest assured that the participants in your next group setting are as able as you. Then you can tell yourself that even if it is ridiculous you are "good" because you (believe) meant well.........
.... so much pavement to a very warm place. Sad but true.
* "apparent majority" can also be fairly referred to as the "NY Times editorial page". I am not the first to point out this is the easiest to find as it is the first page.
July 19, 2019