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John Waters was for many years a national newspaper columnist in Ireland. Two weeks ago he spoke to an audience on the topic: Ireland and the End of Debate.

In a wide-ranging address he described how the range of acceptable opinion in Ireland has become narrower and narrower over time. He said that rather than helping to open up debate, the media have largely been complicit in narrowing the terms of debates often through allowing voices that dissent from the secular, liberal consensus to be demonised.

He discussed how, in Ireland today, debate on many of the most important issues has been brought to a virtual halt. Token gestures are made in the media at having a ‘debate’ on issues like religion, but usually only in the context of a current controversy.

He said so-called ‘liberal’ assumptions are almost entirely unquestioned and those who do question them are demonised. This drastically reduces the range of opinions ‘respectable’ people are allowed to hold. If they do not hold them, they are expected to be silent.

He said we saw this in last year’s referendum on same sex marriage when the nearly three-quarters of a million people who voted 'No' were practically invisible in the referendum and in the run-up to it. The 'Yes' side almost completely controlled the public space.

In the course of his talk John was asked, what can be done? He replied in the words of Pope Benedict, ‘The truth always has a future’.

His talk can be down-loaded from here: https://www.icatholic.ie/wp-content/video/?ID=37645


Depends whose truth of course and that is where hatreds begin.

We're seeing all too much hatred in this place where I dwell at present.
I hope the remain party comes out tops.
Yes we're seeing so much hatred at present in so many places.
You and me both.

I can't see a future for us here if the Brexit lot win.
It will be a nightmare if the Leave campaign wins. Sadly they have never presented a properly reasoned argument for leaving the EU. It's just anti-EU rhetoric and barely concealed racism.
In the United States reasoned argument about the most important things has also been poisoned, and liberals. including radical liberals like myself, bear some of the responsibility for this.

But if anyone thinks that liberals are as responsible for the poison as conservatives are, they simply do not live in the same universe that i live in!

I have friends and relatives with whom i simply cannot talk about guns, or the president, or gender, or much else except for sports and weather (and now with the denial of global warming, weather is almost tabu also). I guess i could be the unreasonable one. but how am i supposed to know that? Am i to take Donald Trump's word for it?

Edited at 2016-06-21 20:55 (UTC)
Even sport is not a safe place as is seen in France.

I would consider myself conservative but I agree both sides must be prepared to debate important issues sincerely and honestly.
It's much the same in the UK. Sadly we seem unable to have a civilised debate.
I think that this is, sadly, all too true.
i disagree - at least here in the US
all sorts of "voices" on each extreme and in the middle are out there and being heard
it depends on where you look for opinions

but what is "truth"?
one of my professors quoted some philosopher (can't remember who) that truth is what the majority of a culture declare is true
"one man's truth is another man's folly"
verbal gymnastics
an arabesque on the beam
a twisting vault and sticking the landing
a daring dismount from the bars
it's all just verbal pyrotechnics

no matter what side your on it's all just fancy words - and a claim to have the "truth"

demonized - being the victim - all just ways of getting attention
one man's unquestioned is another man's proved
they all just like to hear themselves talk