When you agree to disagree, you promote peaceful relationships.
Agree to disagree does not mean that we just give up on an argument that we feel is important and then hold onto resentment, anger, irritation, frustration or pain because of it.
The solution that some propose to the divisive controversy over abortion is that the opposing parties in this dispute should simply "agree to disagree." This is presented as a reasonable option.
First of all, to ask us to "agree to disagree" about abortion is to ask us to change our position on it.
To "agree to disagree" is to foster the notion that the baby is a baby only if the mother thinks it is, that the child has value only if the mother says it does, and that we have responsibility only for those we choose to have responsibility for.
Certainly, there are many disputes in our nation about which we can "agree to disagree." Various proposals, programs, and strategies can be debated as we try to figure out how best to secure people's rights.
In waking life, however, colleagues who agree to disagree
need a little more finesse.
Both Jackson and Cuomo mentioned the welfare repeal, which they each opposed, only to say that they would agree to disagree
with the President.
But what does it mean - really - to agree to disagree? Can a free and open society tolerate all beliefs, all ideas, all speech?
Even as she grants the quintessentially postmodern insight that "imperfect as we are, we can never hope to know [truth] fully or possess it completely," Cheney insists, "encountering postmodernists at work, we must not lose sight of how offensive their assumptions are, how condescending to those who seek knowledge." In her world, there seems to be no way to agree to disagree.
If we cannot agree to disagree, there is indeed very little common ground left to share and very little of substance left to discuss.
We agree to disagree
. What's more, in a pluralistic society, we learn to respect that disagreement, even cultivate it civilly.