The difference between an actual discussion (where we seek the right answer) and a political one is simple:
In a political discussion, people don’t care about what’s correct or effective or true. Facts aren’t the point.
The honest answer to, “if it could be demonstrated that there’s a more effective or just solution to this problem, would you change your mind?” is, for a political question, “no.”
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the the local water tower, the death penalty, labor unions, euthanasia, fair trade, organic food, the EPA or carbon. In political discussions, we don’t have enrollment in the scientific method. We’re not open to effectiveness or proof. We’re engaged in a tribal conflict.
The problem with the fencing in of one topic after another as political is that it gives us less and less space to learn and grow and understand.
Think tanks in DC call themselves non-partisan. But of course, that’s not true, because they’ve already made up their minds. They’re not thinking at all. Merely arguing.