Friday Open Forum, Safe Edition

I’ll be having some unpleasant and extremely expensive oral surgery this morning, and when I get back, I may only be able to type, “Urrrragghhh!” So I’m counting on the commentariat to come through big time.

For some reason, comments since the last Open Forum have been sparse, with a few notable exceptions. I’m trying to learn to ignore such things. I knew I would have a use for the Serenity Prayer one of these days…

24 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum, Safe Edition

  1. Without fail, when I challenge anyone from the 21st century’s “progressive” hive mind to actually support the claims they make with facts/evidence they unethically deflect, spew out some ad hominems, or run for the hills in complete silence. Those that are consumed with the “progressives” totalitarian hive mind ideology absolutely refuse to support their rhetoric, this is a pattern that cannot be ignored any longer.

    The unethical and immoral patterns I’m seeing from “progressives” seem to show:
    1. Their just parroting what they’ve heard and don’t actually know what they’re talking about.
    2. They think all non “progressives” are below their rhetoric.
    3. They are rhetorical cowards.
    4. They are too ignorant to actually have productive conversations.
    5. They’ve been brainwashed into never giving anything outside the hive mind any credence.
    6. They literally have no knowledge of anything outside the propaganda of the hive mind.

    Please add to this list any other possibilities you can think of to explain the unethical and immoral behaviors of “progressives”.

    • I would caution that the vast majority of people, left or right, are rhetorically inept. Most people have their opinions, but couldn’t defend them very well if they tried. Most people become incredibly frustrated trying to grope around to make cogent arguments, find the trouble hardly worth the effort, and then walk away.

      Certainly I find it frightening the extent to which our education systems have failed to train students in logic, debate, rhetoric, and so on. I find myself believing (though I don’t have direct evidence of this) that the choice to jettison those subjects was specifically to cripple the ability of the populace to properly reason.

      Worse still is the promulgation of the notion that instead of teaching us to control our emotions and engage our reason, our education systems have largely caved to the dominance of emotion over reason. Thus what matters most is how I feel about something, not what concrete facts are. This then leads to a huge disconnect in trying to engage people in debate. And part of this is not malice or cowardice or anything other than people trying to use logic and rhetoric don’t understand the emotional viewpoint, and the logic and rhetoric is incomprehensible to those with the emotional viewpoint.

      I’m terribly myself at engaging the emotional viewpoint, so if anyone has any good suggestions of how to do so, I’m all ears.

      • It is difficult to engage with someone who is making emotional arguments, but not impossible. You first have to understand person you are engaging with, how they think and why they think the way they do. Throwing facts at brainwashed people isn’t going to do anything, because most people have been taught to ignore facts that don’t align with their viewpoints. Younger people have been increasingly taught in school that feelings out weigh facts. Often the way to reach them is to start with feelings, and move slowly outward from the feelings to the facts. Acknowledge the correctness of their feelings, then explore the way they feel about all the feeder issues around whatever issue you are discussing. Usually you will find that even though they are very dogmatic about some major political issue, they have doubts about some of the related issues. It’s a process, and it takes time. Trying to simply change someone’s mind to your position isn’t going to work, but getting them to think more deeply about their own position will.

        There is a lot of discussion about polarization in the United States, but very little of that discussion centers on how people feel. The discussion tends to focus on what the media and politicians are doing to cause the polarization, but not much time is spent on the effect of the polarization on regular people.

        People on the right have been bullied, threatened and abused. You are not going to get anywhere with them unless you are willing to admit that they have been demonized, pushed around, bullied and treated horribly for the last decade or so. If you cannot even acknowledge those basic facts, the right isn’t going to listen to you because they are angry and hurt, they feel unheard, and they are tired of being pushed around.

        People on the left are scared, and many of them feel hurt and angry as well, because they have been led to believe a lot of very untrue things, and listened to propaganda for years. They think people on the right are evil, and are both afraid of them and hate them. It is actually much easier to change their minds, though, because most of them do not realize how much they have been lied to. Many people on the left become extremely disillusioned, disgusted and horrified if you can show them how badly they have been lied to on any issue. Sometimes simply showing them that people on the right are not evil and have good reasons for disagreeing with left is enough to completely change the outlook of people on the left. I’ve watched the blinkers fall off of some of my friends eyes before, and it is astonishing to watch. It takes time and effort, patience, understanding and willingness to listen. You also have to tailor your approach to the person you are talking to, and it helps to know them fairly well.

        I have one friend who could not understand my consternation over global warming (or climate change, climate emergency, whatever) and he used to argue with me over it constantly. He was a very smart, very analytical person, and I had trouble talking to him about it because he was just spouting propaganda every time we discussed it, which was unlike him. After several months of arguments over whether most climate change propaganda was in fact propaganda, I told him I would change my position on the subject if he could find me two peer reviewed journal articles covering scientific studies on climate change that did not have major methodological flaws in them. We were in college at the time, and had free access to the entirety of Lexus Nexus and other databases of science journals. He was very eager to prove me wrong, and dove into the search. First he brought me webpages of propaganda that said climate change was a settled science, and all the scientists agreed. I gently pointed out that those pages had no scientific studies on them, and reiterated my criteria. So he dove back in, this time into Lexus Nexus to find journal articles. Hours later he was sputtering like drowning horse over the methodological flaws in the studies he found. “How can they just change the data?!” Arguing with him did no good. Letting him try to “educate” me on the subject changed his own mind.

        To be fair, I have never taken the position that climate change doesn’t exist, I simply deny it’s been proven. I was willing to have my mind changed. I think that is what makes a difference.

        In another case, I was talking to a coworker who is from Cuba about socialism. We were discussing the end results of socialism on people’s behavior and the psychology behind it, mostly operant conditioning. One of our other coworkers was listening to us, a devout progressive, and she started asking questions. She asked my Cuban coworker about something she had read in some lefty paper about the people in Cuba making money selling sandwiches to tourists and seemed to be operating under the mistaken impression that Cubans were getting rich this way. He told her that that was capitalism, it was illegal in Cuba, people would get arrested for doing things like that, and that it wouldn’t actually be profitable because the ingredients in sandwiches were controlled by the government. After a lengthy discussion during which he explained that the only way to make a living in Cuba was to do things that made you a criminal, and all of those things were capitalism, she suddenly exclaimed “how do you guys know all this stuff?!”. She wanted to know what media outlets we were reading and how we came to understand the things we did. Her mind had been opened to the possibility she was wrong about capitalism. She previously had no idea how things actually worked in a communist country, or what capitalism actually was. It was the emotional arguments about the horrors of actually living in a communist country that drew her in.

        People are willing to listen, but you have to be very careful about how you approach things. Acknowledge their feelings, understand why they feel the way they do, be willing to make concessions, and be willing to make emotional arguments about why people should engage with you on a subject. Be willing to change your mind if the other person can make a valid, convincing argument on their points.

    • #1 Fun to deal with if you see where he’s going in the first place and beat him to the punch. And you can usually get in your response and go on to ask him a question before he can recover. Sometimes it works.

      #2 And have perfected the perfect minimal super-supercilious smile to go with it. The only thing you can do is smile a bigger smile and slowly wink. Either he’ll dismount and enter into a conversation (still thinking himself superior, of course) or turn the smile into a sneer and walk away.

      #3 mentally LAZY and cowardly: both characteristics feed off each other. A waste of your time when they become The Worst: The motorbots: butbutbutbuttabutta “But what about….?”ers.

      #4 This usually becomes apparent early enough to walk away without having to engage.

      #5 and #6: See #4

      #7. The aggressive progressive who comes at you with multiple punches of woke-ness. Listen attentively, remember, then answer each one slowly and clearly as if speaking to one both hard of hearing and stupid. If you’re lucky, he will have fled before you finish.

      The best conversations I have are with people who have been aware of politics most of their lives and have had different life experiences, have fresh information or depth of subject . . . and enjoy the discussion as much as I do. They can be adversarial or enhancing or take me off into an entirely new area. There are no quick and simple answers, not even on “my” side.

      • Reply is to Steve Witherspoon’s post. Once again, I took too long to write – by the time I finished, the conversation had progressed apace and involved other people.

        Null Pointer has nullified my comment anyway. What he’s talking about takes patience, time and energy I no longer possess. Appreciated the stories defining capitalism (I have a friend, a dancer, living in Cuba) and in making grounded arguments. I learned the hard way, myself – sifting through the basic data – how to make valid supported points. I expected at this point in life to find a hundred good arguments to enjoy with friendly, different thinking, opponents, but instead arrived at a barrier of the woke. Or the unbreakable — as are some of those here who continue to use homosexuality as a strawman.

        Nonetheless, this (these?) Ethics Alarms (all the way through its Comments) is a slap in the face that keeps me awake and alert and I am grateful for it.

  2. I have my own concerns from the DC Statehood post for which I never managed to craft a complete comment. But one of Jack’s statements addressed how DC has a higher population than Wyoming. Being a Wyomingite, I immediately want to protest, but I was hoping maybe some others could share their thoughts on the importance of a state’s population.

    Yes, House representatives are parceled out roughly according to population. But I’ve also read Valkygrrl and Still Spartan complain about Wyoming being grossly over-represented because of our one representative. I know that we in Wyoming tend to feel (there are those crazy feelings again) that we have no say at all because we have all of one representative, and we don’t really have much economic or industrial clout. Our coal has been a big factor in the world, but that is fading fast, and it is worrisome for Wyoming as a whole. We feel a great deal of powerlessness, except for the fact that we now have Liz Cheney in the House, and her personal prominence is what made her such an attractive candidate, even if her ties to Wyoming are tenuous at best, and her interests not really Wyoming’s interests at heart.

    How much should the fact that Wyoming has the smallest population by far factor into Wyoming’s place in the national conversation? For example, if we have a policy that will greatly hurt Wyoming but help a city with higher population (to pick a random example, Portland, Oregon), shouldn’t Wyoming the state lose out to Portland because more people are helped? Or does statehood actually grant Wyoming a leg up in considerations, and is that an unfair advantage?

    • Wyoming is a state and the Constitution sets forth the framework within which states get federal representation. I am not “offended” or concerned or critical that Wyoming as more say in Congress than DC, which incidentally has one representative, too. DC was set up as kind of a no-politics/neutral zone for the purposes of the federal government. I would consider ceding that area to Virginia or Maryland for the purposes of local and state elections. Also, we need to leave Wyoming alone. What did Wyoming do to anyone? It is a lovely state with lots of open spaces and buffalo running around doing buffalo things. If any territory needs help, though, it’s Guam. I mean, that damn island is gonna tip over! Save the children!


      • 1. D.C. only has a non-voting member of Congress, like Guam. I don’t think that’s really “representation.”
        2. Everybody, like Prof. Turley, keeps talking about “retrocession,” of bringing the District into Maryland. Maryland doesn’t want it, and the District doesn’t want it. Ergo, it’s no solution.
        3. Every state is a discreet (discrete?—dame that word) cultural entity and deserves the two senators and the House member or members. The population shouldn’t change that, and neither should the size. The issue isn’t Wyoming. It’s D.C.

        • I know this is about D.C. But, Wyoming is a lovely state – hell, Idaho is pretty cool, too. So is Indiana. As for the non-voting member of Congress, having listened to their Member of Congress, I am kind of glad she can’t vote.

          If Maryland doesn’t want the region, then give it to Guam. That would help stabilize the island so it doesn’t tip over, ¿no?

          Oh, and why aren’t you in Houston being treated by my lovely dentist wife?


        • #3 This might help (works for me!) Think of discrete as an island *Crete”, separate and distinct from the mainland. It’s mostly used in math. I think you’ll find the definition of the “other” one, discreet, with the ee’s hiding cautiously in the middle, is the one you’ll want most often,

  3. Anyone else see that Caitlyn Jenner is running for Governor of California?

    “Former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to run for governor of California and will officially announce her bid later today, her campaign tells Axios. […]

    She’s assembled a team of prominent GOP operatives including Tony Fabrizio, the top pollster on Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, Ryan Erwin, founder of RedRock Strategies, and Tyler Deaton, president of Allegiance Strategies.”

    I… have never…. in my life…. wanted a person to win more than I want Jenner to.

  4. An acquaintance shared on Facebook about taking the Harvard Implicit Bias test for Blacks and Whites. She shared that her results showed her skewing to favor Blacks. She said it was an interesting result for a pasty, libertarian.

    Intrigued I took the rest for Implicit Bias for Straight and Gay. I skewed to SLIGHTLY favoring straight people. Probably because I refused to answer the question about providing services. My attitude tends to be bake the cake, but requiring a photographer to be present at a gay wedding, transgender reveal, etc., is different. Maybe not logical, but there it is.

    The tests are ridiculously easy and cover a wide range of topics.

Leave a Reply to PennAgain Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.