Today’s first ” On the Square ” item is Justin Paulette’s essay, “Conceding Good Faith,” in which he recounts instructive encounters with ideological opponents. Their greatest flaw, Paulette argues, was not in their arguments, but their assumptions that disagreement necessarily owed to defect of reasoning, or worse, bad faith:

Political confrontations don’t, by and large, involve clear contests between pure good and pure evil. On the whole, both sides, even in the most heated debates, believe their end is good, and don’t proceed with evil intent or malice. Politics requires rational, moral, and informed decisions, but prejudiced presumptions of concealed malevolence in political adversaries cripples communication and excludes meaningful debate.