August 5th, 2009
|11:16 pm - A Flame Warrior's Primer, or the Modern Way to Discuss Almost Any Issue|
From a blog post on health-care reform politics, but really applicable to how a lot of people tend to argue, particularly on the internet:
It's a much more effective way of getting to what used to be the "competition of ideas." In today's world it's really more a competition of egos, as blowhards replace reaching the goal of getting to the heart of a matter with a stab in the heart of anyone who dares disagree.
Of course, the other aim is to get on TV or the Internet -- the Boob Tube or YouTube -- and you can't do that unless you're outrageous. So as still another public service by Politics Daily (at least until our bosses completely disavow this), here is a primer on the laws of the political jungle:
COMPROMISE IS TREASON
Anybody who is willing to settle for anything but all-or-nothing victory is a sellout.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE
If it isn't destructive, the arguments are too weak
THE OTHER SIDE IS CORRUPT
Any conflicting viewpoints, no matter how reasonable they sound, come from people who are either on the take or blinded by ambition.
THE MEDIA ARE ALWAYS BIASED
They always blindly favor the other side.
So, now that we're clear on all this, it's time to talk tactics. Remember:
FAIR PLAY IS FOR SUCKERS
No one cares, so you may as well use dirty tactics. The other side will.
INTIMIDATION IS EFFECTIVE
Remember, the other side is not the opponent. It's the enemy.
INFORMATIONAL EVENTS ARE FOR DISRUPTION -- MOBS RULE
This is important to make sure any understanding of a controversial issue is drowned out. We're already seeing mobs getting in the way of town-hall meetings on health care. Try not to use violence. If possible.
GROUNDSWELLS DON'T NEED GRASS ROOTS. ARTIFICIAL TURF WILL DO
Computers for mass mailings and other phony "Peoples"movements have made real humans irrelevant.
ADVERTISING IS ONLY FOR DISTORTION
Scare people. Otherwise, why spend the money?
FACTS ARE DISTORTIONS
Therefore distortions are facts. Basic logic.
INTELLIGENCE HAS NO PLACE IN THE CONVERSATION
Ditto. Maybe not entirely logical. But ditto nonetheless.
COME TO THINK OF IT, DIALOGUE SHOULD ONLY BE SHOUTED
Always scream at each other. That way no one can hear what the other is saying. Who needs that?
RELATED POINT: DON'T BOTHER SEEKING THE TRUTH
Truth is only in the eyes of the True Believers.
Obviously, these profound sentiments are not necessarily groundbreaking. They've been refined over our history. Chances are you'll see a resemblance to the wisdom attributed to football legend Vince Lombardi that "It's not enough to win -- the other side has to lose." Is it necessary to remind everyone that Lombardi was a very successful coach, a winner. What works in football, works in our world of Gladiator Fight-to-the-Death Politics. Sooooo . . .
FAIR PLAY IS FOR LOSER-SISSIES
If it ain't dirty, it won't work. This is America, for cryin' out loud!
Current Mood: cynical
Current Music: "Yeyansaya" by Hamish McDoodle & Kicking Keltic Kaos Krew
This would be funny, if it was not for the discouraging fact that every bit of it is incontestably TRUE, and depressingly familiar.
The amount of money being spent on spreading misinformation and supporting "drown out the other guy" rhetoric on the Health Care what-passes-for-debate, could buy every uninsured American an Oxford Premium Platinum Executive health plan...
This post isn't really about the health care reform debate -- I posted it because this is now how debate on almost any topic degenerates into unthinking polarization, particularly on the net. People don't really want to have discussions anymore, they want to engage in win-at-any-cost verbal warfare. The amount of vituperation and venom in online discussions on pretty much any topic I find appalling -- whatever happened to civil discourse? It seems to be dead, from what I've observed.