I take the high road and I take the low road.
The vast majority of the conversations I engage in I will be polite, calm, friendly, and civil. It doesn’t matter the topic. You can say you believe in the most unpalatable things and I will still be polite calm and civil.
Most people would call this taking the high road, but I don’t do it for any noble purpose. I just believe that civil discussion that explores ideas will be vastly more productive (in almost every way) than shaming, moralizing, or insulting. This is because people generally just become more rigid in their views when insulted, and you harvest a worse culture by being an asshole.
However, like I said, the high road is only valuable for constructing nice cultures and productive discussion. Outside of these reasons, the high road is utter bullshit. I sometimes believe in taking the low road, and when I do, I try to go as low as possible.
When a conversation isn’t about ideas, but rather someone trying to portray dominance through moralizing, intimidation, virtue signaling, disgust, or whatever … I will either opt not to continue the discussion, or I will play to win. I lose all pretense of the conversation being about ideas, and I will merely strategically try to dominate them.
Most people in the ideological left believe discussion is merely a means to psychologically and morally dominate your opponent. They have narratives of victim/predator in their mind and every point you make is extending and perpetuating the power of predators. They think it is their moral duty to fight predators by whatever means necessary. Ergo, when talking with these people, a calm discussion is utterly irrelevant. Too often I see people bring nuance to a shit throwing fight and nuance can’t really fight on that battleground. Of course, plenty on the right can’t engage in discussion either and merely resort to domination, however, this isn’t generally built from their psychological narrative or philosophical premise … but generally rather from their ego defenses due to being poor thinkers and/or poor communicators.
The strategies I believe in employing will often be distasteful to others. I will sexualize my opponent, condescend and be a total asshole. I only stop short of calling names that degrade whole groups of people (fag, nigger, etc), because me calling someone a nigger isn’t just insulting to my opponent, but to all black people.
I rarely actually get in these sorts of discussions. I usually opt to bypass them since they are so easy to avoid. However, I do suggest to people to learn to figure out what the discussion actually is. Don’t bring nuance to a shit fight, either walk away or pick up a bigger pile of shit.