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Civility in Discourse: Mudslinging, Rhetoric, and the High Road

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Posts

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

  • QliphothQliphoth Registered User
    You can't really engage on a similar level when someone like Santorum compares gay sex with bestiality. Calling him a bigoted imbecile is not mudslinging or taking yourself down to his level. It's a reasonable response to a bigoted insane position.

    Going down to his level would be a democrat senator saying that it's lucky that catholics are allowed to get married or they'd all be raping children.

    THAT is the rhetorical equivalent of Santorum's bullshit.

    There's no way to rationally engage him in civil discourse on any level once he's said a minority has the same morals as animal rapists.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    Ridicule kills even the possibility of communication. There are probably some times when there's genuinely nothing more to be gained by communication, but it's rare.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe. That just seems like it's in really poor taste, and I agree with you.

    But let's look at another family situation where I think mockery might be justified: Bristol Palin's teenage pregnancy. Since abstinence-only education is a part of Sarah Palin's platform, I think it's valid - to a point - to make jokes.

    I'm not saying that ill will should be wished upon any of the Palins. That's not what I'm saying at all. But joking about 'yeah, looks like abstinence worked great for them' seems totally appropriate to me.

    Of course, mockery of Palin went far, far beyond cracks about abstinence. From a campaign by a then-prominent writer arguing for months that Trig was Sarah's grandson, to look-alike hardcore porn, and dozens of other things in between.

  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    The Republicans have been winning for decades with these tactics actually. The Democrats, and liberals, being polite hasn't got them anywhere near that power and without power you're less than nothing in politics.
    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    I agree that violence shouldn't be answer. We're far from that, thank god.

    Harry Dresden on
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    I agree that violence shouldn't be answer. We're far from that, thank god.

    But you're being reasonable now. Why aren't you ridiculing this ridiculous idea so that he'll feel shame and be silenced?

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    Well since violent revolution is something that can actually happen, it's not.

    No matter how bad of an idea it might be.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    But you're being reasonable now.

    When wasn't I reasonable? o_O
    Why aren't you ridiculing this ridiculous idea so that he'll feel shame and be silenced?

    I can't be bothered right now.

  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    I think that there's no place for ridicule in academic discourse, and also, that in an ideal world political discourse would conform to the standards of academic discourse. Given that we do not live in an ideal world, there are questions about the degree to which practical exigencies push us away from the ideal: particularly, there is a question of how to try to maintain a high quality public culture when one's opposition is not so committed to the ideal as oneself. Unfortunately, ridicule appears to pay high political dividends. If one can make one's opponent laughable then one can win the popularity war, and if one wins the popularity war then one need not win the war of ideas.
    Feral wrote: »
    There's also something to be said for the difference between ridiculing the person and ridiculing their ideas, which is a bit of discretion people need to exercise more often.

    I totally agree.

    This is also an important distinction, in my view. I would further add that saying "this idea lacks all support whatsoever" or "this idea is inconsistent with nearly everything we take to be settled fact" does not constitute an instance of ridicule. Sometimes people treat sharp disagreement as itself counting as ridicule, but I think it is important to keep that separate. One can disagree sharply but civilly, and one can disagree sharply without abandoning the discussion of the topic at issue. In my view, for an instance to count as ridicule it has the characteristic of abandoning the topic at issue: when I ridicule you or your view, I no longer argue against it on the merits, but rather, I employ rhetorical tools to attempt to make either you or it appear as laughable as possible. It's this distinct way in which we sometimes argue which I think has no place in our ideal political culture.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    These divisions are sounding pretty fucking arbitrary. Creationism, a wrong and bad idea that no one will die over, should be silenced with ridicule until all believers fear to speak it aloud. Solving political problems in the USA by violent revolution, a horrible idea that will cause thousands of deaths and bring to power people who believe the ends justify the means, is bad but not so bad we shouldn't try to engage it reasonably and talk over the pros and cons?

    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    I agree that violence shouldn't be answer. We're far from that, thank god.

    But you're being reasonable now. Why aren't you ridiculing this ridiculous idea so that he'll feel shame and be silenced?

    It's not a mainstream view. It's not catching on. It's not in any danger of becoming part of the national discourse.

    And most importantly, Giga isn't a candidate for a political office.

    -edit-

    Also, he probably deserves a chance to clarify what he meant by "why indeed" before we simply assume he is an anarchist like you obviously have.

    Regina Fong on
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote:
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    Well, it's the prisoner's dilemma - as soon as someone starts being disingenuous with their rhetoric and begins to eschew reasoned debate, the only option is either change the game or adopt the aggressive strategy. The alternative is that everyone loses in another, worse way, in that the crazy side gets to do whatever they want.

    I am agreeing that violent revolution is silly at this point (at least, directed toward the republicans, taking over corporate america by force on the other hand...) - I expect that no one is mocking Giga at this point because he might well be susceptible to reasoned argument which is preferred.

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  • JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.

    Does PETA count as leftwing? We ridicule PETA all the time.

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    These divisions are sounding pretty fucking arbitrary. Creationism, a wrong and bad idea that no one will die over, should be silenced with ridicule until all believers fear to speak it aloud. Solving political problems in the USA by violent revolution, a horrible idea that will cause thousands of deaths and bring to power people who believe the ends justify the means, is bad but not so bad we shouldn't try to engage it reasonably and talk over the pros and cons?

    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.
    Homeopathy, Chiropractic, the naturalist fallacy, acupuncture, anti-vaxxers... basically, general quackery.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    Discourse by us little people playing in a sandbox, or discourse at the level of pundits wielding columns and appearances on national TV?

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote:
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe. That just seems like it's in really poor taste, and I agree with you.

    But let's look at another family situation where I think mockery might be justified: Bristol Palin's teenage pregnancy. Since abstinence-only education is a part of Sarah Palin's platform, I think it's valid - to a point - to make jokes.

    I'm not saying that ill will should be wished upon any of the Palins. That's not what I'm saying at all. But joking about 'yeah, looks like abstinence worked great for them' seems totally appropriate to me.

    Of course, mockery of Palin went far, far beyond cracks about abstinence. From a campaign by a then-prominent writer arguing for months that Trig was Sarah's grandson, to look-alike hardcore porn, and dozens of other things in between.

    Wait, are you suggesting that the Democrats had a hand in the pornographic spoof or that it was otherwise politically motivated? Because that is... an unusual idea.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    spool32 wrote:
    Than, in a race to the bottom, everybody loses.

    But, is this the part where everyone starts to ridicule Giga's suggestion that violent revolution is a good idea? Because that's about as ridiculous as creationism.

    Well, it's the prisoner's dilemma - as soon as someone starts being disingenuous with their rhetoric and begins to eschew reasoned debate, the only option is either change the game or adopt the aggressive strategy. The alternative is that everyone loses in another, worse way, in that the crazy side gets to do whatever they want.

    I am agreeing that violent revolution is silly at this point (at least, directed toward the republicans, taking over corporate america by force on the other hand...) - I expect that no one is mocking Giga at this point because he might well be susceptible to reasoned argument which is preferred.

    Isn't the best solution to the Prisoner's Dilemma to retaliate once, whenever you're burned, then go back to being nice?


    And most importantly, Giga isn't a candidate for a political office.
    That doesn't seem to be much of a barrier in other situations.

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe.
    Or at least it wouldn't have anything to do with his politics if he didn't bring it up when debating as an example of how hardcore pro-life he is. When you discuss private events in your life to the camera while campaigning, they stop being private. Neither he, nor anyone else, gets to have it both ways: this is why I'm awesome, but you can't criticize me over it.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    And just to check, spool32, when Giga advocates violent revolution, that's horrific and deserves to be mocked, but when a Republican Congressman does it, he should just get a pass?

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    @MrMister - You hit the nail on the head when you point out that we're equivocating between a whole range of different behaviors, specifically the idea that pointing out that any criticism is often interpreted as rude, ridicule or otherwise aggressive regardless of the actual civility with which it was expressed.

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  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Jephery wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.

    Does PETA count as leftwing? We ridicule PETA all the time.

    They're left wing.

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe. That just seems like it's in really poor taste, and I agree with you.

    But let's look at another family situation where I think mockery might be justified: Bristol Palin's teenage pregnancy. Since abstinence-only education is a part of Sarah Palin's platform, I think it's valid - to a point - to make jokes.

    I'm not saying that ill will should be wished upon any of the Palins. That's not what I'm saying at all. But joking about 'yeah, looks like abstinence worked great for them' seems totally appropriate to me.

    Of course, mockery of Palin went far, far beyond cracks about abstinence. From a campaign by a then-prominent writer arguing for months that Trig was Sarah's grandson, to look-alike hardcore porn, and dozens of other things in between.

    1) You can say Andrew Sullivan's name.
    2) He's still prominent.
    3) He never said that. What he said was why didn't anyone ask questions about the total bats story she was offering about Trig's birth.

    Which is still dickish and his obsession about it is weird as hell, but the story is indeed totally bats.

    enlightenedbum on
    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    spool32 wrote:
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe. That just seems like it's in really poor taste, and I agree with you.

    But let's look at another family situation where I think mockery might be justified: Bristol Palin's teenage pregnancy. Since abstinence-only education is a part of Sarah Palin's platform, I think it's valid - to a point - to make jokes.

    I'm not saying that ill will should be wished upon any of the Palins. That's not what I'm saying at all. But joking about 'yeah, looks like abstinence worked great for them' seems totally appropriate to me.

    Of course, mockery of Palin went far, far beyond cracks about abstinence. From a campaign by a then-prominent writer arguing for months that Trig was Sarah's grandson, to look-alike hardcore porn, and dozens of other things in between.

    Wait, are you suggesting that the Democrats had a hand in the pornographic spoof or that it was otherwise politically motivated? Because that is... an unusual idea.

    The Democrats aren't that creative. I'd be impressed if they had something to do with it, though.

    Harry Dresden on
  • Gigazombie CybermageGigazombie Cybermage Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Well, I didn't necessarily advocate violence, at least not for a first choice. It's simply a tool like any other. I only care about getting the greatest good to the greatest number of people in the most efficient way possible. Violence is rarely efficient. Deception, propaganda, etc. These things are far more effective. If it happens to be the truth, even better. Though, I'd lie if I didn't say that there are several peoples' whose obituaries I would read with great pleasure.

    steam_sig.png
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Must step out - I'm glad this discussion is happening, though.

    Than, I don't think either idea is deserving of ridicule. it's better to address issues if you want to change minds, not shame people into magnifying echo chambers.

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote:
    These divisions are sounding pretty fucking arbitrary. Creationism, a wrong and bad idea that no one will die over, should be silenced with ridicule until all believers fear to speak it aloud. Solving political problems in the USA by violent revolution, a horrible idea that will cause thousands of deaths and bring to power people who believe the ends justify the means, is bad but not so bad we shouldn't try to engage it reasonably and talk over the pros and cons?

    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.
    Well, I know a range of "leftists" (such as me) who ridicule the manifestly left and progressive radical feminist/gender/postmodern academics as batcrap crazy.

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    It seems like the dividing line here is "do I maybe agree a little bit with this idea?". I would like to hear the leftists offer up an idea their side of the political divide believes but deserves to be ridiculed into oblivion.

    Free, unrestricted, no-barriers immigration for everyone into the United States.

    Not a Democratic Party point, but then the Democratic Party is largely centrist, so we don't actually get any of the crazypants liberal ideas as part of our party platform. But that is one, and feel free to mock it until the proponents cry tears of rage into their social justice cereal.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Ridicule kills even the possibility of communication. There are probably some times when there's genuinely nothing more to be gained by communication, but it's rare.

    It's really not that rare.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Must step out - I'm glad this discussion is happening, though.

    Than, I don't think either idea is deserving of ridicule. it's better to address issues if you want to change minds, not shame people into magnifying echo chambers.
    Seems to have worked pretty well with the KKK, the Westboro Baptist Church, and groups like NAMBLA.

    Shunning and shaming and ridicule are effective techniques when used appropriately, and I really see no reason why they should be an arrow in the Republican quiver, but not in ours. Like I've said many times before, I'm tired of feeling good about how we lost; I'd much rather feel bad about how we won.

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Also, if we're interesting in civility for civility's sake, here is a brief lesson:

    1) Young candidate for Senator attracts national attention by saying this:
    Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

    He wins his race.

    2) Said new Senator runs for President. His main opponent is Hillary Clinton. There is not a lot of policy difference between the two (most substansive is a support for a health insurance mandate from Sen. Clinton). The major difference is the approach. Sen. Obama says politics doesn't have to be bloodsport. Sen. Clinton says essentially "that's nice, the Republicans will make it bloodsport regardless of our approach, I can deal with their shit better than you." This forum overwhelmingly supports Obama.

    3) The Obama Administration happens.

    4) The forum is less interested in civility.

    Lose: to suffer defeat, to misplace (Ex: "I hope I don't lose the match." "Did you lose your phone again?")
    Loose: about to slip, to release (Ex: "That knot is loose." "Loose arrows.")
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    I do wish the nature of discourse in politics was civil, however politics is a dirty business and often times being a dick gets results.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Also, if we're interesting in civility for civility's sake, here is a brief lesson:

    1) Young candidate for Senator attracts national attention by saying this:
    Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

    He wins his race.

    2) Said new Senator runs for President. His main opponent is Hillary Clinton. There is not a lot of policy difference between the two (most substansive is a support for a health insurance mandate from Sen. Clinton). The major difference is the approach. Sen. Obama says politics doesn't have to be bloodsport. Sen. Clinton says essentially "that's nice, the Republicans will make it bloodsport regardless of our approach, I can deal with their shit better than you." This forum overwhelmingly supports Obama.

    3) The Obama Administration happens.

    4) The forum is less interested in civility.
    Yes, if only Terry McAuliffe were still around, we would be so much better off...

    That was a man who knew how to surrender before war had even been declared.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    What, exactly, is the goal of ridicule and mockery but to silence and shame those it targets?




    Plenty of people should feel ashamed of the ideas they put forward. Particularly when the only goal of those ideas are to destroy lives for their own personal views and who will lie and misrepresent every opportunity they get to accomplish them. They are doing shameful things.




    And they will continue to do them, and more, once you've left. But will you argue that ridicule is the appropriate response to people like this, and also agree with



    Quid wrote: »
    You apparently aren't aware of the current political situation in the U.S. The Republicans have been doing this for decades and it worked. Liberals didn't become more hardened, they became afraid to even identify as one.



    And often the end does justify the means. That phrase has been far too vilified. Every end has a means to achieve it.

    Quid on
    PSN: allenquid
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Also, if we're interesting in civility for civility's sake, here is a brief lesson:

    1) Young candidate for Senator attracts national attention by saying this:
    Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

    He wins his race.

    2) Said new Senator runs for President. His main opponent is Hillary Clinton. There is not a lot of policy difference between the two (most substansive is a support for a health insurance mandate from Sen. Clinton). The major difference is the approach. Sen. Obama says politics doesn't have to be bloodsport. Sen. Clinton says essentially "that's nice, the Republicans will make it bloodsport regardless of our approach, I can deal with their shit better than you." This forum overwhelmingly supports Obama.

    3) The Obama Administration happens.

    4) The forum is less interested in civility.

    Yeah it turns out we were the only ones being civil, and it worked out extremely poorly.

    I'm not the only one who wishes it had been HRC instead of Obama. Especially after Obama descended into the sort of cronyism that, while far better than what we got under Bush the Lesser, was no better at all than what we would have seen in a Clinton White House v 1.02

    And it might be wishful thinking, but I'd at least like to think that Clinton wouldn't have been stupid enough to hire the people responsible for the economic crash to oversee the recovery. That was the moment where I really lost any faith that Obama's intellect would work as well at running the country as it did at making everyone believe he'd run it intelligently.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Also, if we're interesting in civility for civility's sake, here is a brief lesson:

    1) Young candidate for Senator attracts national attention by saying this:
    Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

    He wins his race.

    2) Said new Senator runs for President. His main opponent is Hillary Clinton. There is not a lot of policy difference between the two (most substansive is a support for a health insurance mandate from Sen. Clinton). The major difference is the approach. Sen. Obama says politics doesn't have to be bloodsport. Sen. Clinton says essentially "that's nice, the Republicans will make it bloodsport regardless of our approach, I can deal with their shit better than you." This forum overwhelmingly supports Obama.

    3) The Obama Administration happens.

    4) The forum is less interested in civility.

    5) Obama ridicules birthers.

    Quid on
    PSN: allenquid
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    The original topic (IIRC) was the Santorum family's funeral for their stillborn child, and the mockery that was being directed at Santorum personally for it. When some objected to the mockery, the idea was put forward that "civility was meaningless", and that it was OK because "Santorum and the GOP are much worse" in that regard. I find these justifications problematic, because they are at their core a way of defining our personal morality in relation to Rick Santorum.

    Given that their stillborn child has absolutely nothing to do with Santorum's politics, I see no benefit to the mockery you describe. That just seems like it's in really poor taste, and I agree with you.

    But let's look at another family situation where I think mockery might be justified: Bristol Palin's teenage pregnancy. Since abstinence-only education is a part of Sarah Palin's platform, I think it's valid - to a point - to make jokes.

    I'm not saying that ill will should be wished upon any of the Palins. That's not what I'm saying at all. But joking about 'yeah, looks like abstinence worked great for them' seems totally appropriate to me.

    Of course, mockery of Palin went far, far beyond cracks about abstinence. From a campaign by a then-prominent writer arguing for months that Trig was Sarah's grandson, to look-alike hardcore porn, and dozens of other things in between.

    I don't think those things are okay.

    I'm not arguing that any ridicule is okay any time, but rather that it's strong medicine that can be wielded beneficially in situations where one side is being particularly extreme.

    I'm sorry I don't have a really clear litmus test to define when it is useful and when it is not.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    This topic really drives me nuts.

    Ridicule is absolutely toxic to real discourse, and is nearly always a sign of failure. It means you've given up trying to understand the other person's ideas or where they're coming from. People always have reasons that they believe the things they do, and if you don't give up, and try to understand more (and more effectively), and explain more (and more effectively) there is always common ground to be had. And then you can investigate and find where that common ground branches off. And you can investigate that place, and find out if there's a way to bring them around there so you both agree. And if you can't, then you know where the difference lies and you can part with greater knowledge for the both of you. And maybe later you can find a better approach that will change someone's mind.

    Instead of just going, "Jeez, look at this guy that thinks something I disagree with. What a moron he is, huh?"

    There is some exception in this process for people who are arguing in bad faith. But first of all if you put legitimate effort into the process you can even draw a lot of those people into real conversations. And the more you do that, the better you get at it. Second of all, if someone is going to really argue in bad faith and refuse to stray from their talking points or whatever it is they're doing, your ridicule probably isn't going to embarrass them or shut them up anyway. And third as soon as you do give in to ridicule you've often ceded the opportunity to have any real conversation from that point forward.

    Now, that doesn't necessarily apply to the public arena. TV is TV, and politics is politics, and taking an entirely intellectual approach rarely if ever works. But we're not on CNN around here, we're on a forum explicitly dedicated to debate and discourse. So if you don't want to engage in it reasonably you're a stupid head that no one should listen to, and your hairy armpits smell.

    MentalExercise on
    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    This topic really drives me nuts.

    Ridicule is absolutely toxic to real discourse, and is nearly always a sign of failure. It means you've given up trying to understand the other person's ideas or where they're coming from. People always have reasons that they believe the things they do, and if you don't give up, and try to understand more (and more effectively), and explain more (and more effectively) there is always common ground to be had. And then you can investigate and find where that common ground branches off. And you can investigate that place, and find out if there's a way to bring them around there so you both agree. And if you can't, then you know where the difference lies and you can part with greater knowledge for the both of you. And maybe later you can find a better approach that will change someone's mind.

    Instead of just going, "Jeez, look at this guy that thinks something I disagree with. What a moron he is, huh?"

    There is some exception in this process for people who are arguing in bad faith. But first of all if you put legitimate effort into the process you can even draw a lot of those people into real conversations. And the more you do that, the better you get at it. Second of all, if someone is going to really argue in bad faith and refuse to stray from their talking points or whatever it is they're doing, your ridicule probably isn't going to embarrass them or shut them up anyway. And third as soon as you do give in to ridicule you've often ceded the opportunity to have any real conversation from that point forward.

    Now, that doesn't necessarily apply to the public arena. TV is TV, and politics is politics, and taking an entirely intellectual approach rarely if ever works. But we're not on CNN around here, we're on a forum explicitly dedicated to debate and discourse. So if you don't want to engage in it reasonably you're a stupid head that no one should listen to, and your hairy armpits smell.

    I used to mostly believe that until I tried to convince someone who had been successfully indoctrinated by the Kent Hovind series of creationist videos of reality.

    Now, I didn't start ridiculing him after I gave up, because he was just some guy who I stopped being friends with after it became clear he was on a non-stop course for crazyland.

    But a politician who believes those things? Ridicule them, because they cannot be dissuaded. But if made to look bad enough, we could at least spare some people who see it and think "Huh, no one respects that person, perhaps there is a reason for that."

  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Feral wrote:
    I don't think those things are okay.

    I'm not arguing that any ridicule is okay any time, but rather that it's strong medicine that can be wielded beneficially in situations where one side is being particularly extreme.

    I'm sorry I don't have a really clear litmus test to define when it is useful and when it is not.

    I can provide a decent litmus; when you realize your opponent will never concede any point, never admit to any flaw, and continues to project onto you to appear superior in the discussion. At this point it can safely be determined they are not interested in debating with you and are instead interested in talking past you or trying to silence you. Then I'd say it's quite safe to unload on them, not directly, but tie them up in a nice contradiction that reveals their own lack of substance on what they're saying and/or failure to really think hard about what the hell they're talking about. Then top it off with a closing statement that implies the only person who could be so inconsistent/incoherent is an X/Y. (Insert your own ridicule here! ;p)

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
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