Agree to Disagree: A thought-terminating cliché

One annoying phrase which tends to be more useless than anything is:

We can agree to disagree

Thanks to Wikipedia we know that this phrase may be close to 250 years old. We also know that it implies a kind of tolerance but lack of acceptance of another persons' position. However, there are several problems with this:

  • If someone simply understands the position, but disagrees with it, why not just say that?
  • Agree to disagree at the syntactical level is a contradiction
  • The other side may not in fact agree to the agreement to disagree

The basic idiocy of this phrase is best characterized by it's being named a thought-terminating cliché.