I am not disposed toward the soothingly facile idea embodied in the popular expression, “Let’s agree to disagree.” That trite phrase, intended to avoid confrontation, generally has the effect of delaying, or defeating entirely, any attempt to uncover the truth or error at the root of the question under disagreement. Indeed, agreeing to disagree is what allowed slavery to continue in America for three quarters of a century after the Constitution was ratified. And, it remains a favorite concept of politicians who seek to advance their own agendas behind the screen of an alleged “bipartisanship.”
Such shallow diplomacy is embedded in the contemporary exaltation of tolerance as the primary virtue necessary for life in a civil society. It is sham wisdom grounded in the hope that acceptance of each other’s perception of reality will produce peaceful co-existence (“Whatever works for you!”). What it actually produces is the lie of relativism, which holds that all opinions and cultural practices are equally true and good.