Resolving Conflicts: Dialog vs. ActivismsteemCreated with Sketch.

in politics •  last year

Opposition often breeds conflict. Conflict arises from the incompatibility of two positions which can either both the false, both have aspects of falsity, or one is false and the other isn't. Ignorance of falsity keeps us attached to falsity while defending it as if it were truth.

Dualistic frameworks or models serve to contrast one thing from another, but they can sometimes keep us locked into seeing things as divided. Politics are stuck in the divide of the left and the right. There are many things apart from politics where we become identified and attached to various ideas and beliefs. Can opposing positions learn to let go of their attachments and really understand what is better?

In the political climate of "Black Lives Matter" and the Trump election, we see how much there is a breakdown in civility and an attack on freedom of speech. Despite wanting to talk to people on an opposing side, engaging in deeper, thoughtful and meaningful discussions has its challenges. There is a lot of tension and attachment keeping people from the opportunity to affect change in the right direction. Rachel Wahl of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education is studying the conditions that promote a willingness to learn through dialog, and how dialog impacts activism.

Wahl has roundtable discussions where participants are grouped with people that hold different opposing beliefs. What are the factors that support or obstruct learning through dialog?

She has found that the political pressure of activism can sometimes be necessary for things to change, but it comes at the cost of dehumanizing those who are the targets of the activism. Feeling targeted or attacked makes people more likely to reject the information or message. Wahl recognizes the importance of inner work in order to create productive dialog.

Effective conversations require the inner self-control to be less reactive in the face of the discomfort and tension of confrontations. Rather than be so sure that we did the right thing, such as voting for Trump or Clinton, we can realize that we don't have anything to lose by talking with others in learning their values and considerations for why they did not do what we did. Overcoming our own discomfort and fear is important to deliberately learn about the other person.

Respect for each other can develop as we understand people's perceptions, such as learning of their good intentions or shared values. Much of the polarization in debates comes when we are personally affected by what others are trying to do, which is the case in politics and the police.

Regardless of the BLM activism, there is a lot of tension between police and various citizenry in many nations. When your livelihood is on the line, you're going to be more defensive about your actions. Being accused of corruption or abuse of power puts one into a defensive position where honest dialog often goes out the window. And when the rest of us have our lives on the line in dealing with people who have authority we don't -- who can can hurt us or lock us in cages -- dialog takes a hit as well.

In many situations of inequality and conflict that arises, asking people to learn about each other through dialog has risks, but also trade-offs of possible opportunities. Being asked to learn in these contexts is political because we are being asked to put aside our desire to politically influence others. Rather than be political first in the form of activism or other political tools, should first think of engaging in dialog. Consider if the risks of talking it out with an enemy outweighs the possible trade-offs and opportunities that might arise from resolving the conflict.

Resisting injustice and fighting against it is important, but we shouldn't be resistant to dialog in order to achieve a solution. Sometimes dialog doesn't work, in which case activism and more social pressure is required in order to effectuate the positive change desired. But always relying on political pressure to resolve a problem doesn't always work, as information is not shared and learning does not take place.

That's not to say that all political activism is legitimate or valid. Some arguments are only partially true and have some confusion or outright falsity mixed in which is one of the reasons why many political ideals fall flat on their face. Many people espousing certain political changes don't truly understand what they are talking about or trying to do. Sometimes people don't want to let go of their false arguments, and dialog ceases to become effective because they don't want to listen. They just want to hold onto whatever they want to believe in.

Are you more of a political activist, or communicator?
Do you charge into conflicts?
Do you engage in dialog and avoid conflict?
Do you succeed in dialog to avoid conflicts?
Are you able to realize when someone else doesn't want to learn about falsity, and just wants to stay attached to it?
Do you have a hard time letting go of trying to explain things to people who don't really want to understand?


Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.

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Unfortunately, solutions have been methodically taken off the table.
So, all that is left is to argue over which false solution is better.

It is like the iron triangle.
You need a car to get to work
You need to work to keep your house
So, in order to live, you need a car, a job and a house.
And these are all quite expensive, and if ever you fall below a minimum threshold, your whole life collapses.

Police are the pointy end of politics.
They are a legal gang. They act like a gang.
Protecting fellow police officers is more important than anything. Laws, criminal violence, citizens lives...

In order to change this, we have to change things that can't even be discussed. First, every law should have to go before police who will vote whether it gets enforced. (at least 2/3s)

Second, police funding should be solely through and from the population they protect. And if they aren't doing a good job, that population can decrease their budget. In fact, I would suggest that it be an opt in arrangement. Where if you do nothing, then the police go away.

Third is real metrics. Currently police have quotas. So many tickets, so many arrests. But we do not go further and quantify how many good arrests, that actually went to trial and found guilty, vs plea bargains, vs just released. It is also important to note how much of a police persons time is spent on various things. Such as, in some jurisdictions, half of the homicides go uninvestigated. Just completely not looked into. The number one capital crime, and we have cops pulling people over for speeding instead?


Brothers in blue come first indeed... citizens are secondary. In-group v. out-group forming when the ingroup has the authority make for the Standford Prison experiment lol. Investigating ourselves always works well when our livelihood is on the line... follow the code.

BLM "activism" is dishonest across the board, however; it is a continuation of leftist "identity politics".

All studies outside those with a "critical studies" perspective find that police do not use deadly force against blacks with greater proportionality than they do other races, not that white police "target" blacks for higher rates. I have yet to see a "critical studies" paper that wasn't thoroughly tonguebathing Marx's backside throughout the Introduction

On the other hand, if BLM was honestly interested in preserving black lives, they would look to the gangs and the high violent crime rates within the inner cities; to the actual murderers of black men.

Considering the history of leftism and racial propaganda, it is doubtful this will ever happen. SDS/SNCC did not begin organizing riots, and the Black Panthers did not begin committing terror attacks, until after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

These are not people interested in justice, but in seizing political power through violence and propaganda.

And in general terms, this is how humanity behaves...most people are not interest in discourse, but rather in advancing their own interests.

...which brings us back to your point ;> A well written article!

Alpert, G. P., & Dunham, R. G. (2000). Analysis of Police Use-of-Force Data. Retrieved from

Fryer, R. (2016). An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force.

Wilson, J. Q. (2013). Thinking about crime (Revised edition). New York: Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.


Yeah, BLM is a good case study in how activism should not be done.

All lives matter. Not just black lives. BLM has been used to promote division in America. It is not the kind black movement of racial equality and peace that Martin Luther King Jr spearheaded. It has been funded by Soros and others. If black lives matter what about all the stabbings and killings of blacks by blacks. What about black babies that are aborted at a high rate. All lives matter that is why Christ died for us. He bled for all. One person is no significant than the other. We all come into this world the same - naked and bare - and we all go out the same. All lives matter! Thanks for sharing. - Troy


I agree with most of what you said ;)

Oi mate, you are very on point when it comes the importance of dialogue . I tend to criticize a lot nowadays. Talking to many people in Steemit #politics, I see that most hold very common values and the most important is a respectful approach. This is also a big plus when it comes to Steemit we don't curse that much, well at least on the blockchain...

Anyways there is a certain mantra I developed where I only like to talk about the points I disagree on and that fits very well into what you wrote about in this article. Just because i disagree with you does not mean I hate you, I am actually just curious why you hold those different believes.

Many people nowadays seem to think that disagreement means you need to treat the other person like shoot, which is kind of a modern way of thinking. The old philosophers constantly disagreed with each other and actually used dialog to develop their ideas.

My main criticism with your post this time : the word "dialogue" why would you not spell it "dialog" like we germans do? You even got "logbook" and stuff like that. Why would you adapt a french spelling with two silent consonants!?

Oh and on a serious note, activism is not in contrast to dialog for me. "Die Aufklärung" in Germany was mainly to spread ideas and to become politically active does not mean to fight something but that you want to establish something. At least this is what activism means to me.


Yeah dialog is part of activism, but for some dialog is vs. activism hehe.

Interesting about dialog. I had is dialog, then when I was using dictation it did dialogue. I just changed it now everywhere. I like dialog more.


changed it now everywhere. I like dialog more.

You got yourself a witness vote, buddy! :D


LOL. Thanks! I'll change words more often :P


seems to me (a Brit) that dialogue is the correct term for your excellent article.

I often speak out around the controversial topic of vaccination and as such am often met with conflict. While I don't shy away from this I do find that I will agree to disagree with someone when I can see that they are not open to even considering my views.
Personally I try to be open to both sides of an arguement as much as possible, even though this can be hard when you feel very strongly towards one side. Unless there is the respect from each side to listen to differing opinions, I feel not much progress can be made.
Very good thought provoking post.


Thanks, yeah sometimes it's better not to bother, meh... lol. Sometimes it's just about things that aren't that important to bother with our time hehe.

I am following you for about 10 days and you presented a lot of interesting articles-posts.
I like the way you present things.
You provide great read after witch i have to think for next few hours, sometimes all day. Thank you for that. I just voted for you as a Steem Witness.


Thanks for following and liking what I put out. Good stuff to think about most of the time ;) Thank you for the support :D

I tend to avoid conflicts and have developed the "in on one ear, out on the other" attitude. If I can't avoid it, I give my side after hearing the other and if they don't agree with me, I put it as a "let's agree to disagree" situation. I know it's probably not a good attitude to have but I find that in topics like politics, it's my best option (health-wise). I can only speak of politics from what I've seen in my country but most of the time, dialogue is rarely on the table. As it stands, politics is not an institution for the growth and protection of a community but rather a legalized means of exploiting and enslaving the masses. It boils down to self-interest. A lot of the people don't know much of law and governance so they look to people they think would know. And usually, the people that "know" are those that stand to gain a lot if so and so has the power or retains power. Padrino system has been the practice we've inherited from Spanish colonization. The general public would be fed with propaganda and it becomes a matter of choosing between the lesser evil in actuality even as they think they're choosing someone who could best serve the interest of all. And after all the character demolition campaigns, the masses on either side would be too defensive for dialogue and those that attempt it could be branded a traitor to the "cause". And that doesn't even cover the name-calling especially when one faction is losing. As long as self-interest is there, dialogue in areas like politics is going to be difficult.


Yeah, the politics of telling people what to do with dialog lol.

In daily life there are indeed many conflicts that we can find our surroundings, especially in the world of politics. But however and of any conflict there must be a way out, as you describe above Sir @krnel. your posts are always interesting to me, keep the spirit in providing a useful post for all of us. very interesting. Upvote and resteem


Thanks for the support and feedback :)


You are welcome Sir @krnel

Personally , I like to be involved in matters I know of , if something I see done is wrong I will stand up for it, ha being thrown my opinion to them, yeah sometimes my opinion or what I feel might not matter , but it feels good knowing I got it off my chest, with a lot of things I like to get it off my chest or it'll bother me @krnel


Yeah I think physical actions are better in some situations, and in others speaking actions ;)


Just need to know when to use which :D

• Are you more of a political activist, or communicator?


• Do you charge into conflicts?


• Do you engage in dialogue and avoid conflict?


• Do you succeed in dialogue to avoid conflicts?

Most of the time.

• Are you able to realize when someone else doesn't want to learn about falsity, and just wants to stay attached to it?

Most of the time.

• Do you have a hard time letting go of trying to explain things to people who don't really want to understand?

Most of the time.

Great article, one of many!


LOL, thanks for answering each question ;)

For me, Dialogue is the way to go however some evil pople like terrorists do not understand dialogue , then prudent force will be good in order to take control and solve the issue


Indeed, dialog is part of activism. In some cases though, activism doesn't listen anymore, and in the other extreme I guess is just dialog but no action to resolution in the end hehe

I like to engage and have discussions. Some may call it arguing...but that may just be a cultural thing. In the Indian culture, that's just a normal way of having a discussion.

Feeling targeted or attacked makes people more likely to reject the information or message.

But, when I feel like I'm being attacked, it is much harder to see the other person's point of view.


Indeed it is harder to calm ourselves and not response in like kind, giving them a taste of their own medicine lol

Thank you for this article! Great read and make valuable points on everyday life and people.

I try to have civil discussions with people about topics. Some topics do have a specific truth while other topics are open to more options and a certain way isn't exactly better or worse. When it comes to where one doesn't want to listen well. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.


Yup, open the door, but can't make anyone walk through it.

Great article as always from you @krnel! Enjoy reading :D

Are you more of a political activist, or communicator?


Do you charge into conflicts?


Do you engage in dialog and avoid conflict?

Also, yes

Do you succeed in dialog to avoid conflicts?

No, see next question why

Are you able to realize when someone else doesn't want to learn about falsity, and just wants to stay attached to it?

I think that might be it, shit!

Do you have a hard time letting go of trying to explain things to people who don't really want to understand?

OMG you are so right, yes!

I have to read more often what you are writing! I was thinking about a FB like newsfeed I could control myself, I can't focus on so many people at once. Maybe it's time for some more frontend chrome and features...