In the field of conflict resolution there is a concept known as "unfair fighting." That notion refers to tactics used that tend to turn the conflict into bitter dispute based in nuance, accusation, recrimination, and vagary rather than toward an authentic attempt at resolution. The cheap shots of unfair fighting are often leveraged in order to skirt the real issues, to divert attention, and/or to center the dispute on personal rather than issue-based data. The objective of unfair fighting is to ensure that one party wins and the other loses, truth be damned, peaceful resolution be doomed.
I recently watched a video that was purported to be an academic discussion about the spiritual aspects of our humanity and the implications for our collective future. The discussion panel included representatives of the agnostic, atheist, religious, spiritual, and mystic perspectives. All the participants were highly educated, immensely credentialed, and notably respected within their fields.
While the conversation was intriguing and enlightening, I was disappointed to repeatedly hear the cheap shots so often associated with unfair fighting being taken. Cheap shots, even when subtly couched as compliments, do nothing to contribute to healthy discourse. Moreover, they usually serve to derail informative debate.
Almost without exception, the cheap shots of unfair fighting make the shot taker look and sound weak, uninformed, and defensive. Cheap shots never lead to positive outcomes.
Wise leaders know better, and practice otherwise.