"For oft we see a wicked peace to be well changed for war."
People who make it their business to ensure that other people understand them, and, slightly less important, that they understand other people, make no end of gassing on about Engaging with The Other on Its Own Terms.* There are two things to consider here: the first is the caveat that these people are usually a far sight nicer than I, at least for the first few minutes. The second is that their picked policy of engagement is only as valuable as the terms agreed upon, and these usually end up being some tenebrous compromise between two otherwise opposing paradigms; a compromise arrived at not so much from a desire for Mutual Understanding* as from an unflinching courtesy that unwittingy craves chaos. Remove all manner of disursive authority from the fray, and politeness can exist even between antagonists who would have flayed each other alive a few centuries prior. While this kind of discussion bears no benefit, neither does it threaten with much discomfort, as those engaged have tasted and grown familiar with the ideological courses of their opponent, and consequently neither fear nor regard them; they are only another fleeting sensation on the casual sophist's palate; to be momentarily enjoyed, and if retained at all, then retained only as a triviality. It follows that the Understanding which was initially the goal is only possessed in an adulterated form, and we have not reached out and met our antagonist half way as we hoped, or pretended that we might. We have only reached out and borrowed his glass for a short swallow.
Naturally, all of this only dillutes whatever argument was our first cause for engagement. But this is the solace that Relativism offers, that a willful confusion of ones own principles is a small offering to be made in the name of more convivial relations with ones enemies, political, intellectual, religious or other. It may make us all equally barbaric, but we run no risk of confrontation. And this is the exchange that every sincere relativist is willing to make, and even more importantly, the Genius of Relativism itself; the willingness to convert to a Polite Barbarism.