By: Dell Dumont
Whether I disagree about the quality of a movie or the taste of pineapple on pizza, there is no point in defending my belief if I can’t create a productive conversation with those with opposing perspectives. Adapting myself to my opposition to have a healthy discussion is important, but there has always been one kind of person whom I have difficulty confronting: The middle man. A middle man hands a megaphone to people with undeserving and questionable ideals. An additional perspective can sometimes drive a conversation away from its original points and can obstruct the view of a resolution. I do not believe an impartial third party, is always necessary for a productive conversation.
While it is important to have an open mind to the opposition in an argument, middle men take this too far in an attempt to appease both sides. I’ve had the misfortune to have arguments with people who try to defend what’s not defendable, not as a form of mediation, but rather to instigate frustration with no expansion to the range of discussion. But, an open mindedness for opinions that are immoral, have little supporting evidence, or are just straight up offensive, is not wanted or necessary. It is ridiculous to see people debating the validity of a person’s gender identity or sexuality against others who strive to better the lives of LGBTQ individuals. An impartial third party unsuccessfully attempts to find common ground.
When limited with time, middle men stall arguments by trying to waver back and forth between moderate options, negatively impacting productivity. Decisions that require quick responses have no room for a middle man to instigate a flicker between inaction or action. Indecisiveness should not be mistaken as mediation. If someone cannot make an informed decision about a topic, speaking under the guise of a third party is a waste of time and effort for all debating parties. Being the voice for another alternative for the sake of quickening a decision may save time, but it does not guarantee the best course of action. And with more options to consider, there is more time spent considering and less time spent taking action.
This is not to say that I don’t appreciate a third party. It is helpful to find middle ground to preserve humility and civil discussion. Nonetheless, there is a time and place for such interventions. Defending an argument that does not align with compassion and empathy at a bare minimum is a waste of time and effort.