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The talk stops here

I've been stewing about this for a few days, temporarily distracted by Valleycon, but after reading this essay by Jay Rosen and the associated comments I think I've come to a conclusion and a decision based on that conclusion.

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.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC)
It prolly falls under...
the same mindset that started the Crusades. Narrow viewpoint, and the "fact" that if you differ in their viewpoint, then there must be something dreadfully wrong with you.....
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:11 am (UTC)
Re: It prolly falls under...
I guess you could look at it that way. It would certainly explain the kind of bad science linked to (and derided) in this post.
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
It's tough I agree. I got burned last week and was not happy with either the reactions I got to a post or my reaction to the reactions. It's tough to be above it all, but I think that's where I have to be.
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC)
*nods* Ironic that they're the ones always going around squealing about dissent being suppressed, ain't it?
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC)
There are several, damn most, fan gatherings I can not speak openly that I admire GWB, especially for his spirituality without ridicule or behind the back snickering
Oct. 25th, 2004 11:51 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. It's not easy being a Christian in fandom these days.
Oct. 25th, 2004 09:26 pm (UTC)
It's disappointing that some people can't agree to differ civilly. Granted I can be a bit of a hothead too, but I don't resort to name-calling and personal attacks. I haven't missed those debates since I stopped participating. My mental health is much the better for it. :)

My world won't end if Bush loses. However, if Bush wins and carries Minnesota in the process, I think there are going to be some people on LJ having a mental breakdown of their own.
Oct. 26th, 2004 04:43 am (UTC)
I'm not going to laugh in their faces, but I'm not going to be too damn sympathetic either.
Oct. 26th, 2004 06:48 am (UTC)
Assuming they haven't moved to Canada by the next convention.
Oct. 26th, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
That would be CONvergence's problem, not mine.
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:00 am (UTC)
Where is this name-calling and personal attacking?

I got personally referenced, so I'm feeling personally attacked if you'll excuse me.
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:11 am (UTC)
See my reply to your comment below. Apologies may be in order and if so, are humbly offered.
Oct. 26th, 2004 07:28 pm (UTC)
I was responding to Wombat's post about someone making insulting comments about his military service. I don't know who he was specifically referring to. I didn't look for the conversation he was referencing. I think it was someone commenting in the journal and not the journal owner themselves. You'll have to ask him about it.
Oct. 26th, 2004 09:59 am (UTC)

I walked into a room and got sucker punched here.

I like a "good tussle" as you put it. I prefer objective fact. I have never been insulting to you and you were, in fact, the person I most actively engaged with on the opposite side because I felt I could get a clearer understanding of the viewpoint.

So, what? I refer to a study that has been HUGELY reported and I'm insulting you? It had nothing to do with you.

I wasn't trying to "win" anything with you. I'm a liberal and I won't apologize for it and we will never agree on certain basic things. But I liked you (and I liked that you actually came back with points and references and facts).

Ye,s the problem can be contributed to "discussions" on the internet where there is no tone of voice or facial expression. But if you've found me insulting, you've read something in that wasn't there.

But if you're gonna dismiss me without even actually talking to me?
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:10 am (UTC)
Maybe I misinterpreted your running that article about the PIPA study in your LJ as signifying approval of it and its conclusions. If that wasn't what you meant then I do indeed owe you an apology and would be glad to extend it in person.

You have never personally insulted me, setting aside the PIPA article for a moment. I was talking about the other LJ'er I referenced, and apologize for the confusion.

Still, I'm done talking to people about politics this year. With occasional exceptions, most people I've talked with on LJ seem to want to play the conversational version of Irish stand-down instead of have a discussion, and I'm not having any of that.
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC)
I'm sorry - I'm sleepdepped and cranky and so forgive me for a bit of overreaction there.

I just found the PIPA thing interesting if true.
Now, I've witnessed alot of random people averring all sorts of things that have been proven untrue, but these are random strangers so I enjoy the thought of them being insane.
I don't think you're insane.

I didn't look into the PIPA study or its methodologies, I was posting it for interest. And because I'm a liberal and enjoy the thought that other people who aren't me are clearly WRONG. *grin*

I'm pretty much done with politics for the next week myself also. Number one, I'm in tech week and ain't got the time or energy. Number two, we've reached an impasse and nothing will be changed (no one will be swayed) until it's been decided one way or another.
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:53 am (UTC)
I found the study suspicious on the face of it - it sounded way too much like the kind of reasoning the Soviets used to put dissidents into psychiatric hospitals, and being conservative, I've seen similar studies before. They never panned out, mainly because they had the kind of sampling defects that a first-year statistics student would have been flunked for trying to use and excuse...

One of the things I do worry about in the long term regarding politics in this country is an increase in the kind of overheated rhetoric, agitprop, pollution of the information stream, and thuggery that this election season has produced. We don't have a parliamentary government and so are not prone to the kind of thing that tore Weimar Germany and the Spanish Republic apart, but with a large group of public school kids who don't know how to read critically, write effectively, or use reasoning skills to analyze what other people are saying, I'm afraid we're going to have the same kind of violent political combat that led to the Spanish Civil War. I'm not talking about talking heads screaming at each other on Crossfire, either.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )



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