Yes, the structure of rational argumentation resembles that of a trial. Yes, holding people accountable in the course of an argument is akin to ‘policing’, just as punishing them through the imposition of detrimental normative statuses is akin, in a limited sense, to punishment in the form of physical violence. There is nothing unusual about this analogy: both the legal system and the police system are ostensibly ways of holding people accountable for responsibilities they have freely undertaken, and of penalizing refusal of such accountability.
In reality, of course, both of these systems have been subject throughout history to such a massive degree of manipulation and abuse at the hands of powerful minorities within society that it is understandable why one would be wary of tendencies to idealize and celebrate them. However, there is a big difference between idealizing an existing ‘justice’ system and recognizing the ideal of justice in terms of which such systems should themselves be held accountable. However corrupt such systems may in fact be (and whether this corruption is systemic or merely deviatory), we can only intelligibly describe them as ‘corrupt’ if we presuppose an ideal to which they should be striving and in terms of which they should be measured. There is, in principle, such a thing as a good legal system and a good police force, even if we have rarely, if ever, seen such things in reality.
Not every exercise of power is an abuse of power; there are justified exercises of power. Not every demand that one justifies oneself is the demand of a malevolent and unreasonable inquisitor. I understand why one might experience such demands as oppressive, in cases in which satisfying this demand would require one admit the untenability of one’s own position. This is, in a very distant way, not unlike facing the threat of bodily dismemberment. However, you aren’t actually be oppressed, both because it won’t actually hurt you to admit you were wrong, and because the rules you have violated are not being imposed upon you heteronomously, but are rules you freely accept and agree to play by insofar as you are engaged in a discourse – this goes as much for the regionally specific rules of particular discourses, and the fundamental rules defining any discourse as a discourse, i.e. the fundamental norms of rationality.
It is, ultimately, rather cowardly to ignore an argument in favor of comparing an interlocutor to an inquisitor. Just because many in the past have abused others in the guise of upholding the law does not mean rules should not be enforced, justification should not be demanded, or judgments should not be made. And it is even more cowardly to paint your interlocutor as some sort of pervert for desiring that these functions be fulfilled. Whether or not one’s motives for making a claim are secretly obscene has no bearing on whether that claim is correct.
It might be comforting to exempt oneself from an argument by painting your interlocutor in a negative light because he wants to argue. (!) Who would want to engage with such a judgmental, oppressive, power-hungry sadist? Why can’t that unsavory character understand that we should all be free to express ourselves without having to worry about being judged, or forced to hold ourselves to standards imposed by particularly close-minded and self-important, ethnocentric and condescending others? Quit being so negative!
This may be easy, but sometimes its better to do the hard thing. Sometimes, it is better to bracket considerations of what sort of person your interlocutor might be and just respond to the argument. There is nothing noble about dodging one’s responsibility to give reasons for one’s claims by implying that requests for such reasons are inherently vicious. No one wants to see you tied to the rack, although they certainly do want you to part ways with theoretical commitments that are undeserving of endorsement. Not because they want to see anyone suffer, but because it is the right thing to do, and because doing the right thing will allow all of us to thrive as collaborators in a theoretical community.