More stuff about politics follows:
For the past couple of months I've been commenting on other peoples' political LJ posts, partially because I like the tussle but mostly because I believe there is such a thing as objective truth. Long years ago when fatigues were still plain green, I learned to categorize information both by the reliability of the source (as established by prior experience) and the "hardness" of the data, how useful it was in terms of information content. I've applied that informally to different media and information providers since then, and in these recent discussions tried to inject a little of that by providing links to information people may not have seen when they made up their minds about something. I also took the time to make clear where I was coming from in terms of my experience, and what might qualify me as a person worth listening to in these discussions.
However, argument as entertainment seems to have reached its limits with people in the other political camp. They've apparently decided that if logical arguments supported by verifiable facts will not serve then ad hominem arguments must. A person on my friends list had a post trumpeting a study by a think tank at the University of Maryland which appears to assert that people voting for President Bush are effectively insane, inhabiting a reality which is not based on objective fact. Another person, who often comments on that LJ, saw fit to reply to a comment of mine by indulging in a nasty crack about my military service vis-a-vis the current war in Iraq.
I thought about replying to those comments, but I just don't see any point to it any more. These people have made up their minds about which side they support in this year's elections. Nothing I can say is going to change that, which is fine, but it's disappointing, to say the least, that we can't even discuss politics dispassionately without them indulging in this kind of hateful, insulting and counterproductive crap. It colors the way I think about them in other fields, which is truly unfortunate, and it makes me want to avoid them in person since I don't care to deal with that sort of thing in person if I can avoid it. (Who would?)
So congratulations, mle292 and windelina. You can pat yourselves on the back and claim victory if you like. As for me, I thought you were better than that, and I'm sorry to find out I was mistaken. Have fun in your own echo chamber. I won't bother you with my opinions and links any more, since apparently you don't want to have a discussion on that basis, and I don't care to do it any other way.