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Self Defense/Are some subjects really bound to turn into physical violent no matter how genuinely polite you try to discuss it?


This was inspired by your multiple blogs such as the one about Bleacher Thinking.

Just a bit off a basis. In academia and the intellectual world one of the assumptions is that so long as you use logic and are genuinely polite (you avoid insulting in the debate and other intentional offense) to be verbally abused and moreso physically assaulted is avoidable. However I notice when sensitive subjects are touched in certain cultural and socioeconomic groups (such as trying to have a discussion about Hinduism with the typical unWesternized Indians), violence blows out almost always no matter how polite you may be and this is quite the source of shock for many academics and intellectuals when they enter third world countries and try to discuss such sensitive topics.

So I am wondering if some subjects should be completely avoided no matter what? I mean to read about people from the same tribe with the same religion, etc proceed to hack each other despite debating on a subject they very much share the same opinions about makes me wonder about this humanistic notion that if you don't try to proselytize and yell insults that Allah is Satan, you shouldn't be hit because you were using logic and weren't being rude as you debated.

In your advice, if you choose to discuss such subjects outside of a cozy environment with police and other stuff academic environments typically have, should you be very selective of who to discuss it with?

I am quite curious considering you touch very sensitive subjects such as religion in your self defense writings all the time and you already commented some previous questioner and his experience about being accused of supporting communists and being hit even though he was repeating his teacher's opinion, not his (which had nothing to do with Marxist philosophy).

Bonus question:Can subjects that shouldn't even be "sensitive" be turned into a source of flame war and physical violence? This is inspired from another questioner asking about his experience with the Swiss knife and being called anti-American for it as well as my previous experience that because I love Hershey but admit Snickers has more bang for buck that somehow I unintentionally got sucked into a flame war and the person even threaten to hit me. Which was one of the most shocking and bizarre experience because I could not believe someone would dare want to hit you over arguing about the nuances of chocolate. I mean to see fans of Lego start fights because they disagree which toy line was the best made me laughed out so loud.

Short answer--

unless you have MASSIVE amounts of people skills, there's just some shit you shouldn't talk about with folks.

If you do have such skills, then there are all kinds of rules, ways to navigate and approach people, that will allow you to do so safely. YOU KNOW THESE ARE WHAT ALLOW YOU TO TALK WITH PEOPLE... not the subject matter.

Here's the problem, if you tell yourself you 'have these skills' you're going to find out PDQ that you don't when someone punches you.  But you don't know how 'not good' you are because you self-certified yourself as 'good' with absolutely no training, research, conscious practice or experience outside your comfort zone.

And that incidentally includes if you say "Well I'm good with people," but can't explain why that bringing the topic up is context and timing dependent.

For example, I've had some really good discussions with priests about what is wrong with the church they belong to. I've NEVER tried to have that conversation when they are in the middle of a sermon.

It seems like common sense not to do that, but most people who complain about how close minded other people are have absolutely NO idea how obnoxious or bad timing they are.

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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