I’ve been having a discussion on Facebook about private property and theft, sparked by my dismay at the capturing of the Barefoot Bandit in the Bahamas. Not to get into the details of the argument here (I was defending my romanticization of his story, and asserting that owning a plane or a yacht is barely less selfish than theft) I am struck by how much my behavior toward others is influenced by the way they present themselves. If someone argues with me in a tone that I don’t like, I am very likely to dig into an opposing position, with little regard for what the argument is over. Conversely, if someone states something in a fashion that I deem courteous and responsible, I will treat their position much more respectfully.
Do you do this too? I’m not sure how I feel about it; logically arguments should be taken at face value. I would not be surprised if arguments presented derisively are more often fallacious, but it’s not a necessary connection. I don’t know. What do you think?