Talking to people of an opposing view is never an easy thing to do, on an emotional level. You can prepare all sort of arguments in advance for different issues, trains of thought, and fallacies brought into the argument, but the human factor of arguing against someone never really fades away. Even the most seasoned orator can face difficulty in debating someone who is visceral, dismissive, or evasive in their arguments. The one thing that AnCaps are remiss in debating or simply conversing with those who aren’t like-minded is engaging in that very behavior that we’re notorious for making fun of.
Sure, it may be funny to characterize those on the left as shrieking, irrational people that duck and dodge valid points with the skill of a professional boxer. It may even be funny to paint a caricature of those on the right as brutish, irreverent, impulsive “sheep” that attack anyone that dares challenge their position. However, it seems as though many vocal anarchists have forgotten something that we should be doing, if we want our movement to gain any more traction. That thing is to try to persuade people to stop supporting the violence of the state and to join us in working towards a peaceful and voluntary society.
It comes down to a basic supposition: “Is it better to be right and have gained nothing from the conversation or is it better to be right and to have left the conversation knowing that everyone involved learned something from the experience?” You can be right about a subject like whether or not people should have government provide free birth control, but if you decide to be snide and cold about things, you may as well be talking to a wall. People will not listen to someone who is just trying to push their agenda and project their feelings of apathy or hatred onto them. They’ll only be receptive to those who are willing to hear them out, work with them on the points they bring up, and treat them like a normal human being.
This isn’t to say that you have to be “buddy-buddy” with every person that has a view that differs from your own. Sometimes, a person will try to bait you into eliciting a certain response and you need to keep cool and be firm about where you stand. There are people out there who are looking for nothing other than a fight on social media, to where they want to corner you and feel like they won that fight. When you come across those people, you can either choose to ignore them or try to work with them to see if you can’t get them to become more civil about things.
Anarchists are people who are supposed to be represent the very things that we hold as our morals and ethics. If we go around in public and on the internet, acting like a bunch of jackasses and tearing into everyone we disagree with, how is that sending a positive message of our community to those outside of it? We already struggle enough with the perception that most people have of us as violent, entitled, and unruly college kids. Why validate that perception by playing into that narrative and acting as savage and ignorant as they think we are?
If we want our world to become more like the anarchist society we all love to describe to others, there has to be a communal effort to engage others in a way that promotes our values. Pro-government individuals aren’t asking us to let us be a part of our community, we’re the ones who are asking them to be part of it! We have to level with them, understand their needs and desires, and help them reach the conclusion that there are much better ways of going about things than having the state create and control programs to resolve their issues.