(Editor Commentary follows)
From the “General Indictment of Society” Files:
I’m not sure if I’m just noticing it more, or if it’s getting worse, but I’ve noticed on a lot of pages I follow that there’s an abundance of folks who really enjoy being opinionated about subjects they aren’t all that educated about. I’m not obliquely referencing anyone’s intelligence here; I literally mean that people are taking adamant, borderline obnoxious standpoints about subjects that they are not well researched in. Way too many appeals to emotion, and not nearly enough objective thought behind it.
When I see a meme or someone’s opinion, for instance, I read between the lines. Follow the logic to its end, and trace it back to its source. Is it accurate given what I know about the topic from unbiased sources? Or does it just direct outrage at a politically correct target in a bid to manipulate my emotions?
If you tend to agree with any liberal ideas you’re especially susceptible to this. Why? Because adherents to liberal philosophy perceive themselves as the compassionate ones, and prefer to paint adherents to all other philosophies as heartless. You can see examples of this in every topic from abortion to college to healthcare to immigration to gun control.
“Unless you adopt every kid that would have been aborted or pay the mom for all the bills and responsibility she’ll incur for having her baby/pay for my college with your taxes/pay for my healthcare with your taxes/let in every person who wants to come to our country without making them follow the law or regardless of the risk/agree to restrict the access of law abiding gun owners to weapons… well then you obviously don’t care about [insert victim here] and you’re just a selfish prick!”
It’s not a smart tactic if you can’t handle confrontation or any opinion that contradicts your own. Because you literally just asked for it. Get your dukes up, because there’s plenty of folks willing to wade in swinging right back.
And holy cow, the PRIDE people have after they make their unequivocal statements! Just to make life a little less annoying for everyone… let’s talk about OPINIONS. We all know that opinions are like assholes– everyone has one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s is the only one that stinks. So guess what. If you don’t like hearing other people’s opinions then the Internet is not the place for you.
If you think that people disagreeing with you means they’re disrespecting you, then the Internet is not the place for you. (Neither is anywhere else occupied by adults, really, because that’s not how the grown-up world works.) If you like to call everyone else a jerk for believing/not believing something, but don’t want to get called a jerk right back… again, guess what.
It’s not hard to be an adult, y’all. Not in the real world or the virtual one. But part of that is talking to other people that may not see the world exactly the way you do. As long as you have solid facts to back up your beliefs, why in the world would you even get your knickers in a knot when someone disagrees with you? Is your ego that fragile?
It’s not a personal attack unless someone actually MAKES it personal by attacking some characteristic of yours, like your intelligence or your character (or your appearance if they’re especially immature.)
For example, if I say “what a pretty blue sky we have today” and somebody responds, “the sky isn’t blue, it’s green,” I am not going to be offended. I’m going to do one of two things:
1) say, “No, it’s blue. The reason WHY it is blue is that air molecules in our atmosphere scatter blue light from the sun.” OR
2) shake my head and go on about my day because I just don’t feel like messing with it.
If somebody says, “No, it’s GREEN you moron! You must be a republican, they’re all anti-science nutjobs like you! And oh yeah, you’re ugly too!” Then its personal, but I’d still advise you not to be offended. Just be amused, feel a little sorry for them because life is probably pretty hard when you’re that stupid, and just go on with your life.
Also, try try TRY to do some introspection. Ask yourself “why does this offend me?” Personally, I love to learn. I also like knowing that I am right. Not in the sense of “being right” but in the sense of knowing that what I believe is true, because there is evidence to support it. I like knowing that the sky is blue, even if some people can’t see it, and why it is blue.
There are objective truths in this world and I want to know them. Do you? Or is it more important that other people pat you on the head and tell you how smart you are and agree with you, even if they know a piece of information that proves you wrong? Do you want to spread the truth, or have your ego stroked? Just some thoughts.
Being a debater has actually enriched my life a lot. It has never ever, not once, cost me anything to disagree with someone or have them disagree with me. That’s even how I met the man I would eventually fall in love with– we met on MySpace of all places, because we both wrote blogs debating debating politics and religion.
We disagreed on a lot. He changed my mind on some things and I did the same for him, long before we ever loved each other. We helped each other grow. We still do.
Learn to accept disagreement. It doesn’t automatically mean disrespect, and it’s actually very small minded to say otherwise.
Learn to challenge your own beliefs. Research them with unbiased sources, not just some meme that agrees with what already appeals to your emotions.
And for the love of Pete, LEARN TO DEFEND YOUR WELL-RESEARCHED BELIEFS! It helps you grow as a person and might help somebody else grow too.
You’ll be a better person for it, I promise you.
Logic is based on experience and/or assumptions. Either of which can be true, perception, manufactured or channeled.
For events ancient, modern or contemporary, the best you can do is take original testimony of contempories and/or eye-witnesses as to the facts of the case, devoid of opinion and characterizations, with an eye toward their known character.
Sourced History has to be weighed on the scale of character and believability of the historian with an eye to their body of work. That one version must be balanced with other histories and historians on that period. Finally it has to fit the overall narratives of earlier and later periods.
Then, then one must appeal to their own conscience, experience and instincts to come to a decision on the truth of anything.
After that opinions are easy to wade through like a Marine squad reducing a bunker full of opposing opinions to a pile of smoking, bloody ruin. The facts on the ground win.
I suppose it could be said that most all opinion and characterization is fiction produced from exercised imagination and bias.-Gy Barton ret.