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Political discussions

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday contributing comments to a couple of discussions started by a liberal acquaintance of mine, and I have to say that on balance it was a complete waste of time and intellectual effort. I don't think there was any respect for my personal opinions or experience, and when I supplied links to support my statements they were blown off as being from "partisan sources", as if we were living in the 12th century before Bacon's revelation that the truth of a man's statement was independent of the man himself.

On the other hand, the liberals involved in the discussion felt perfectly free to throw out assertions and opinions without any backup whatsoever and apparently expected me to regard those unsupported assertions as being every bit as valid. All manner of stereotypes and bigotry regarding conservatives and Republicans was on display, and it really made me wonder if this is the kind of discussion these people would have if the subject was race instead of politics.

Sorry. I don't play that game, and if that's what's regarded as "open-minded political discussion" in these parts you can save it for City Pages. This is not the sort of "discussion" one has with friends where I come from, and if it's the way things are done here in Minnesota you can include me out.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 10th, 2004 09:16 am (UTC)

I really felt we were having a frank exchange of opinions and clearly you did not.

I pointed out you were referencing partisan sources because I felt it was relevant. If I had referenced Salon.com or michaelmoore.com, I would have acknowledged those sources as partisan. I was not dismissing your sources - I was putting them in a perspective I felt was proper. A perspective, I might add, I would have framed my own comments in had I been using a source I believed to be partisan.

I stated several times that I respected your opoinion but did not agree with it.

I even apologized when it became clear you had developed a contemptuous opinion of me.

I thought we were disagreeing but disagreeing amicably. I see clearly you did not feel that way.

For that I apologize.
Sep. 10th, 2004 09:28 am (UTC)
Apology accepted, and returned in kind, because I don't feel contempt for you at all - these are the opinions you have, and that's the way it is.

This is part of the problem with online discussions of this sort; there's a lot of non-verbal communication which just can't be expressed in this medium even with the use of emoticons, HTML tags and suchlike things. Also, WRT sources, I'm not so much concerned about whether they're partisan or not as to whether they have the facts straight and complete, and I think we might both agree (despite our political differences) that the mainstream media have been coming up short in this regard for quite a while. This is part of the reason I rely so heavily on Instapundit. Regardless of his own opinions, he provides links to the articles so you can go read for yourself and make up your own mind. He also does not hesitate to correct himself if he turns out to be wrong about something; it seems to me that he's internalized Ken Layne's motto: "This is the Internet, and we can fact-check your ass!" The same is true of a lot of bloggers. The fact that a lot of them tend to be conservative or libertarian is neither here nor there, imo.
Sep. 10th, 2004 09:33 am (UTC)
While my forays to Instapundit have led me to believe that there is a bias there, I would also say that you have given me another source to look at when considering an issue.

For that I thank you.
Sep. 10th, 2004 09:42 am (UTC)
You're welcome.

Everyone has a bias, everyone has prejudices. You can't avoid them, and after growing up in the DC area I am immediately suspicious of anyone (especially journalists) who claims to be unbiased and objective, because most of the time they're trying to run some scam on you or push their line of BS at you. I try to get different angles on what's going on (and am currently really enjoying some black conservative blogs which are decidedly not Republican) although there are some blogs I don't bother with any more because they're too far gone in the partisan fever swamps...Kos, Oliver Willis, FreeRepublic.com and Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler are good examples from the left and right.

Ironically, even these can sometimes produce good data...one of the first breaks in the Rathergate story came from the Freepers...but usually it's not worth digging through all the muck trying to find a pearl there.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )