As we mentioned in some of our previous posts, dialogues are regularly plagued with the sorts of oppositional behaviors (finger-pointing, name calling, ridicule) that make constructive solutions to real problems difficult to achieve. Other factors undermining effective dialogue include wishful thinking, simple dismissal of alternative viewpoints, insistent oversimplification, jockeying for credit, and unwillingness to trust in others. If we are to make dialogue a part of our self-governance, how do we go about moving beyond these negative norms?
This is no easy task. What we may require is a sea change in the way we do politics. What must we do to create a truly inclusive and functional public sphere that leads citizens into dialogue, helps them collaborate to develop the knowledge needed to make good decisions, and then results in those decisions being reflected into policy and action?