Is there still room for debate?

Andrew Sullivan writing for NYMag on the state of liberal discourse in the 21st Century.

Liberalism is not just a set of rules. There’s a spirit to it. A spirit that believes that there are whole spheres of human life that lie beyond ideology — friendship, art, love, sex, scholarship, family.

A spirit that seeks not to impose orthodoxy but to open up the possibilities of the human mind and soul. A spirit that seeks moral clarity but understands that this is very hard, that life and history are complex, and it is this complexity that a truly liberal society seeks to understand if it wants to advance.

It is a spirit that deals with an argument — and not a person — and that counters that argument with logic, not abuse. It’s a spirit that allows for various ideas to clash and evolve, and treats citizens as equal, regardless of their race, rather than insisting on equity for designated racial groups. It’s a spirit that delights sometimes in being wrong because it offers an opportunity to figure out what’s right.

And it’s generous, humorous, and graceful in its love of argument and debate. It gives you space to think and reflect and deliberate. Twitter, of course, is the antithesis of all this — and its mercy-free, moblike qualities when combined with a moral panic are, quite frankly, terrifying.

Beautifully put.

I must say though, the whole thing is undercut painfully by the fact that when Wesley Lowery (who was quoted in Andrew’s article) objected to the way his remarks were characterised, Andrew simply responded: “There were no inaccuracies. They are all your own words. And I’m entitled to my opinion”.

Room for debate indeed…