Here’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Conversations Anymore

It has nothing to do with cancel culture.

Jessica Wildfire
8 min readAug 18, 2021


He felt sick. He went to work anyway. He didn’t wear a mask. He infected everyone with covid, including a pregnant woman.

He didn’t apologize.

His excuse was, “I thought I had the flu.”

That’s a real story, from a discussion group I’m a part of. This is an example of slothful induction fallacy. In other words, this guy took all of the context clues pointing to a likely case of covid, and instead of getting tested he chose the more convenient conclusion that he had the flu.

Obviously, he was wrong.

Fallacious thinking has become symptomatic of the larger ignorance and selfishness that’s gone endemic in America, if not the rest of the world. It’s getting to the point where we can’t talk to each other.

This is not the fault of “intolerant liberals.” It has nothing to do with cancel culture or safe spaces, or wokeness. In fact, it has everything to do with the war on education and empathy in our society, and a right-wing media machine that nurtures outrage and paranoia.

I’ll explain why.

You can’t reason with everyone.

I’m starting to see calls for “civil discourse” again. Apparently we’re not being nice enough to the people who want the right to spread a dangerous virus, regardless of how many people it destroys.

They want us to respect all opinions.

Well, you can’t.

I teach communication and persuasion for a living. I’ve written books about it. The truth is, you can’t persuade everyone. There’s a time and a place for reasoned discussion. There’s certain people you can reason with. There’s certain conditions you have to achieve. Sometimes, it’s not possible. Sometimes people don’t want discussion. They only want the appearance of it, to enhance their status or position.

Sometimes you can’t negotiate.

You just have to hold them accountable. Right now, they’re screaming about vaccines and masks at school board meetings. They’re waving around copies of the Nuremberg Code they printed off the internet…