I have long subscribed to Isaiah Berlin’s principle of incommensurabilty.
That is to say, some differences of opinion are based on such
radically different premises that even the most sustained efforts in
reasoning together will find great difficulty in succeeding: there is no
common ground. In practice, though, the principle need not be a
counsel of despair. Take same-sex marriage, for example, where as
recently as ten years ago differences seemed unbridgeable. But in fact
they were bridgeable, through the ideas of equality (a foundational
value in our society, however neglected in practice), and in some cases
friendship or consanguinity, when a close friend or relative proved to be gay or lesbian and would
benefit from marriage.
By contrast, in the matter of the current passions aroused by the death of Margaret Thatcher, there seems to be no bridge to soften or erase incommensurability. Hence the bitterness of the conflict.
posted by Dyneslines at 6:50 PM