Most of the people I know, self included, argue a lot, or perhaps even too much. For at least a few of us though, I think this must be a good thing. People who are given to aggressive discourse stand a better chance of offering a satisfactory account of themselves, if an account is ever called for, than people to whom the rule of deferrence denies the chance to cross propositions with a likely opponent. This much I gathered from living at a boarding house for a time long enough to realize that grace at times dwells even in division, even one as trivial as an argument on the theoretical application of the Mojo to the actual world of Men and Women. This is another point of knowledge I acquired at the Big Haus- that it is often more beneficial to devote a measure of mental energy to the trivial areas of life than to the Calamities of This Present Hour. This may be bias on my part, as most of the areas in which I am at all expert don't really mean that much. Fortunately, the atmosphere of the Big Haus fosters engagement with what Aristotle called "The Beautiful and the Useless." Very little, in all of the many arguments that there transpired, ever registered as a matter of any great importance. Most of E.W.'s philosophical expositions centered in the realm of proper valuation of the world and the things of the world, and then after having done so, casually dismisses all of them as objects of Futility. I am convinced, after having several years of attended his church and hanging out at his house that the reason anyone at all attends his church or hangs out at his house must owe itself to the fact that E.W. has the rare talent of making the proximity of the catastrophic sound sort of comfortable, provided one has an accomadating front porch and a good cohiba with which to enjoy it.
Among the other blessings of semicivil discourse is that, if I may state the obvious, it forces one to speak. A person's syntactical abilities tell as much, if not more about them than all the rest of their habits combined. Vocal expression is a better measure of intelligence than any standardized test could ever be, and it provides an opportunity to judge not just how much a person knows, but how much of what he knows he also as successfully arranged in a web of interrelation, and more importantly, what is the order of valuation in which he has placed it.
The ability to judge the latter of these is, I believe, the shortcoming of the Christian Classical movement, and the root of the development why relatively few students who graduate from any of its schools use their classical education for anything. They can teach grammar, logic and rhetoric year in and year out, and teach them effectively, but still not point a student toward a proper regard, specifically a proper aesthetic regard for the Order of Things, the attainment of which is, or ought to be one of the chiefest goals of any sound theory of education; we listen to the turn of a man's arguments, we can guess with some accuracy how closely he has gauged the optimal valuation.
Sorry to end on a dogmatic note, but I need to take off. Will post more on this in a bit.