Comment Of The Day: “Let’s Have An Open Forum!”

I have not read all of the contributions to last night’s Open Forum (my Zoom presentation went fine, by the way; I hate it), but I was pointed to this comment, by Humble Talent, by many, and they were right. Heck, it earned the honor just by the sentence, “I feel like more and more, we find ourselves an army of hammers in search of nails.”

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on honesty, politics, and the state of things, from “Let’s Have An Open Forum!“:

“If everyone woke up one day and found themselves unable to lie, the Soviet Union would fall by noon.”

—-Unknown (Although I always attributed it to Solzhenitsyn, if anyone knows who said this, I’d appreciate the assist)

I feel like more and more, we find ourselves an army of hammers in search of nails. Every problem, every emergency, every poorly worded tweet, is taken as an opportunity to circle the wagons and hammer down hard on prior positions in what can only be described as a masturbatory exercise of a scale never before seen.

One of the great lessons in my young life was that even when people have essentially the same access to information, different people will put that information through different filters, and can come up with *wildly* different takes from that information… They aren’t *necessarily* being dishonest, they could merely be wrong, or biased, or stupid… Never discount stupid… And it’s important to treat those arguments as if they were genuine statements of belief and no matter how wrong, biased, or stupid the argument might be, if the point is to convince someone to listen to you, then you have to approach the conversation with a basic respect for the other person, and not immediately blast their argument. I’m not always good at that. It’s a personal flaw.

I’ve realized that my argumentation has shifted, and I don’t know if it’s a function of the weariness I feel towards political gamesmanship right now, or if it’s just the right response to the kind of arguments I’m facing, but I find myself more often than not repeating what someone has just said to me, while paraphrasing it for clarity or removing euphemisms and asking “Do you really believe that?”

I don’t know whether people are becoming more wrong, biased or stupid, or if they’ve merely shelved their pretenses and honesty, but some of the political theories being put out there require such a steep, immediate suspension of disbelief it isn’t even funny. The lie of the “Peaceful Protestor” in the case of the Floyd Riots comes immediately to mind. The immediacy of how CHAZ fell into cultish wokeness and violence was newsworthy, but instead the media carried water for them that must have felt like the burden of Atlas. How about COVID, and how it was deathly serious, and states attempting to open to avoid economic disaster were going to kill people, but protesting police brutality (or more recently, hosting a pride parade) is necessary and patriotic. How about the complete 180 on masks, and how one week anyone saying that masks were probably effective were idiots, and the next week if you weren’t wearing a mask you could be arrested?

I know how we got here. We got here by electing people who lie like they breath into high office. I know where Rand Paul stands on the issues, for better or worse. I know where Bernie Sanders stands on the issues, again, for better or worse. These are true believers in an ideology, and their response to issues is fairly consistent, and don’t change whether or not their ideology is in vogue. Juxtapose that with Hillary Clinton, or Elizabeth Warren, or yes, Donald Trump… Their positions fly around like blades of grass in the wind. I have no idea what the heck these people stand for because they don’t know what they stand for because they haven’t checked Twitter yet this morning.

And I don’t know how we make that better. I’m open to suggestions. There is a fundamental honesty deficit in today’s conversations, where it seems like the point of the conversation, more than to get solutions is to generate outrage and pander. And I don’t think that helps anyone….

Case in point: Tim Scott put a police reform bill in front of the Senate. This after weeks of Democrats screaming for a police reform, and because Scott’s bill was restrained to things the federal government could actually do, they refused to allow the vote on it. Scott’s Response was (I’m paraphrasing): “Some people on the left are saying ‘wait for the election, we can get what we want then’, well… Maybe. But if this is 80% of what you wanted, why wouldn’t you take 80% now and see about that other 20% past November?” To which the Democrats said: “Humina humina”, while they weren’t calling Scott an Uncle Tom, or erecting a gallows on the street in front of the Senate (Ok, one of those three things was hyperbole). What did the Democrats instead choose to allow through? A doomed-to-fail-bill recognizing the 51st state of DC.

America does have an issue with police brutality, it does a poor job holding officers to account when they do something wrong, the people on that side have arguments that have merit…. But instead of looking at qualified immunity, standardized bodycams, or a national database of bad cops, these protesters are being pandered to by having corporations endeavor to take every black face off product webbing and shelving problematic episodes of the golden girls and the Democrats are hovering somewhere around Uranus trying to gerrymander in two more senate seats.

16 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Let’s Have An Open Forum!”

    • I mean… It’s not lost on me that my comment, which lamented the loss of candor in politics, would be rebutted by a person who is fundamentally steeped in gas-huffing mendacity.

      It never fails to amaze me, Alizia, how you can write just scads and scads of words without actually saying anything, and then link two hour videos that ostensibly clarify your point, when in reality, I’m not even sure that you yourself understand your point. I believe, and while I admit I could be wrong, I’ve seen no proof of it, that you have feelings, strong feelings, that gravitate towards certain positions, but you have no words or concepts with which to express them, so instead you quote at nauseum people you think might be able to exemplify the things that you feel, but don’t understand, in the hopes that we might after consuming that information feel the same way you do.

      Maybe one day you’ll find someone that does, and that person can tell you what it is you actually think.

      Because it’s also not lost on me that while waxing poetic about my inability to call to action (something I fully admitted in my comment), you fail utterly to do the same. Which is kind of par for the course with you. You are more than happy to look down the bridge of your digital nose and make morbidly verbese comments about how everyone is wrong but you, while not actually explaining why you’re right. It took literal years to drag a definition of “conservative” out of you, despite you being more than eager to tell everyone they weren’t conservative, and that definition came out as essentially “I don’t know, because I’m working on the definition, but it’s essentially someone that conserves things”. Fucking Bravo. Take a bow. That’s the kind of thinking that gets shit done.

      Alizia, leave the thinking to people who can actually say words to eachother in a way that is mutually understood. I can smell the smodge of your brain-fire from a hemisphere away.

      • Well you got one vote there . . .a powerful ally indeed!

        Because it’s also not lost on me that while waxing poetic about my inability to call to action (something I fully admitted in my comment), you fail utterly to do the same. Which is kind of par for the course with you. You are more than happy to look down the bridge of your digital nose and make morbidly verbese comments about how everyone is wrong but you, while not actually explaining why you’re right. It took literal years to drag a definition of “conservative” out of you, despite you being more than eager to tell everyone they weren’t conservative, and that definition came out as essentially “I don’t know, because I’m working on the definition, but it’s essentially someone that conserves things”. Fucking Bravo. Take a bow. That’s the kind of thinking that gets shit done.

        Well that is good that you admit you have no sense of what a call to action would be. My ‘call to action’ only has to do with clarifying understanding. It has to do with reading and learning. And that is not at all easy. It takes time and energy. I have said it dozens of time: I decline to recommend action outside of gaining understanding. I can direct you to people who are recommending some forms of action though. But still

        My point is not an egoic one — to say ‘everyone is wrong’ — my point is to indicate, and try to explain, how confused and muddled our perspectives are. And to point out when I see people under the weight of ‘coerced opinion’. Your mistake is that this hooks your ego. It really shouldn’t.

        I am glad that at least you recognize that defining what ‘Conservatism’ means is pretty important. I did offer a nice definition. There was no response.

        As to getting anything at all done my interest is only in working clarify what really is going on. If there is something to ‘get done’ I think it will come out clarity. It certainly cannot come now, nor be forced, given the intense confusion.

        Every post you make to me is just like this one. My criticisms of your post — that is your ideas, your position — was very direct and constructive. You can only make efforts to block my efforts to introduce ideas (even if through contradiction).

        I understand your motivation and I accept it. But you know you could choose other tacks . . .

      • It’s not lost on me that my comment, which lamented the loss of candor in politics, would be rebutted by a person who is fundamentally steeped in gas-huffing mendacity.

        Fine rhetoric, son, but you will have to prove to me and to your peers here just what is mendacious. Pick one assertion and make an argument. I defy you to do this. Just making the assertion is not enought.

      • HT congratulations on your recognition.

        For what it is worth I make it a practice not to argue with geniuses and idiots we don’t understand each other.

  1. Well commented, HT.

    I thought this might be a good place to mention that I had just heard Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” song in a store and I think it would be great if everyone (especially people that don’t frequent this site) would stop and have a listen.

    PS – I’m off of Twitter, for those who I’ve had connections with on that platform.

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