They take opposing arguments out of context or restate them inaccurately and in bad faith.What might be useful there would be an example. Fortunately I have a near-perfectly illustrative example right here, from this blog, quoting a complete, stand-alone proposition:
That Justice Gableman agonized over running the ad before deciding to run it certainly could support an inference that he did not believe it was false. — law professor Rick EsenbergReplies Prof. Esenberg:
You're taking my comment out of context. I was discussing the constitutionality of sanctioning political speech, not speculating on Justice Gableman's intent — about which I have no knowledge.The comment was no more nor less taken out of context than it would be to take "You're taking my comment out of context" out of the context of the two sentences above.
Rather, it communicates a discrete, very particular idea that goes directly to one of the crucial elements of the code of judicial conduct Gableman is accused of violating: Intent. Prof. Esenberg well knows this and only pure sophistry can facilitate his evasion.
And even if I was "taking it out of" some context I was addressing it in its proper context: the record of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's case against Gableman, the initial impetus for which is the object of the very remark of Esenberg's that he's suddenly now claiming was taken out of context. Mighty tricky, I do reckon.
Alas, it's nothing but a trick.
You don't get to cry 'context!' just because you are at once discussing a broader topic and then make an individual statement which has no necessary connection to that larger topic (in this case, Prof. Esenberg claims, the constitutionality of sanctioning political speech).
If I'm talking about going to the Packers game and mention how much I love the stadium brats at Lambeau Field, it serves me little effective purpose to subsequently recant loving the stadium brats because, hey, I was only talking about the Packers game.
Finally — and read these one more time — watch how Prof. Esenberg actually denies what he'd previously written:
1) That Justice Gableman agonized over running the ad before deciding to run it certainly could support an inference that he did not believe it was false.But of course contemplating Gableman's agony seeking (and then "certainly" finding) support for inferences as to Gableman's true/false beliefs is "speculating on [his] intent." That's exactly what it is.
2) [I was] not speculating on Justice Gableman's intent — about which I have no knowledge.
Bad faith, indeed. Once we see the good faith, then perhaps we might begin to concern ourselves with the requisite "civility."
Better yet, if Prof. Esenberg ever takes to exposing his fellow travelers Charlie Sykes and Patrick McIlheran, both of whom operate in a perpetual paradigm of bad faith, that would really be something.