Agree to disagree

By Promod Puri

“Agree to disagree” is a declaration of face saving justification.

It happens when two or more parties or individuals after an argumentative discussion fail to agree. And in all civility, the agreement results in agree-to-disagree compromise.

With that declaration egos remain intact, but time wasted. Nothing is lost, nothing is gained either.

India and Pakistan have spent over 68 years in this agree-to-disagree parleys. Their on-and-off dialogues have continued for ever without any spirited solution to end hostilities between the two nations. But agree-to-disagree is a compromising escape route. It has become a longest-running bureaucratic and ministerial play.

Here is a humorous anecdote experienced by Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald relating to the agree-to-disagree standpoint.

One day he visits his doctor to have a health check up. The doctor told him,“you are very overweight, unhealthy, and out of shape”. The comedian responded, “I am a healthy person, I don’t smoke or drink and I’m in good shape”. The doctor insisted, “you are not in shape at all you need to lose weight”.

Finally, after some back and forth arguments, the comedian settled for “agree-to-disagree”. However, doctor immediately responded, “no, I will not agree to disagree”.

The story justifies when two parties disagree, “agree to disagree” is a cop-out.

Do you agree, or agree to disagree?