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Thread: The Decline of the Debate and the Rise of the Far Left and Right

  1. #26
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    It's one of those things that should be expected, but never tolerated. Anyone who can't state their disagreement without resorting to harassment, stalking, and death threats needs to get their asses booted to the curb.

  2. #27
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    Not insane (at least until recently). Just cheap.
    To quote Kurt Vonnegut, from one of his two great books:
    Bergeron's epitaph for the planet, I remember, which he said should be carved in big letters in a wall of the grand canyon for the flying-saucer people to find was this:

    WE COULD HAVE SAVED IT,
    BUT WE WERE TOO DOGGONE CHEAP.

    Only he didn't say "doggone.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I should note that my original post was referring more to attempts of debates on topics nowadays in the real world, though the internet culture has been bleeding into reality more and more with time.

    You even try and have a public discussion on any of the topics I mentioned earlier and OH SHIT IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. And that really worries me as to the direction that we are heading.

    If you suppress "negative" opinions then all your doing is driving them underground as you may be able to silence someone but never of their opinion.

    I'm with some of the other posters in that I don't even like to voice my opinions on such topics as the vitriol that comes with it. Yeah no thanks.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I have had the complete opposite experience with the real world. While topics on controversial issues can sometimes get heated, none of the people I know have ever tried to shut the discussion down. And especially not in public debates, though I haven't formally debated in quite a long time. Of course, I don't associate with the far left or the far right either.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I'm certainly not far left or right. I can't stand racism but then I don't agree with many on the left on immigration so yeah. Definitely middle.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    You even try and have a public discussion on any of the topics I mentioned earlier and OH SHIT IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. And that really worries me as to the direction that we are heading.
    This stems from anger in one's heart, which is fueled by identity politics, both on the left and the right...giving birth to violence and strife.

    If you suppress "negative" opinions then all your doing is driving them underground as you may be able to silence someone but never of their opinion.
    Yes...Censoring opinions only leads to linguistic authoritarianism, which suppresses free speech...When a person or group becomes silenced by a group or groups in a position of power, they tend to rebel in order to be heard and respected, which is exactly how civil wars begin.

    This is why it is critically important to maintain "freedom of speech" for all groups of thought...because without it, a free society will become torn asunder.

    Here is a recent, relevant post...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vae View Post
    Without critical-thinking, one naturally relies on group acceptance as a priority. This is because it's an instinct that's allowed us to survive through the millennia. As we evolved, it was simply way more important to be accepted by the tribe than to risk saying something that could get you ostracized from the group, even if it was true...because banishment from the tribe meant that you would likely die, or at least have a much harder life, if you were rugged enough.

    When one is able to use critical-thinking, they are able to distinguish the difference between the instinctive motivations of group acceptance and the reasoned truths that don't always comply with the group that they're associated with. Plainly put, it feels good to have a connection with people that are thinking the same way you are, and it's good for survival...emotionally and physically.

    The problem is that without reasoned truth, you get a bunch of different groups with varying values, which are constructed from beliefs and ideology. This of course creates unnecessary conflict and strife, and that is why it is extremely important to seek truth through critical-thinking.

    I would say this is one of the key foundations for the future of humanity, if we are to survive.

  7. #32
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I'd say I'm considered decided Left in Texas but Center-right (really center-left or center-right depending on the issue) in a place like NYC. I think that applies to a lot of people in the middle. It's easier to just take the Political Compass test to say where you are, if you want a low-cost objective-ish (compared to most alternatives) way to tell: https://www.politicalcompass.org/test I'm (0, -3), which seems about right.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, no big surprise there:



    As for censorship, not every group deserves a platform equal to all others. For example, certain far-right ideas are an existential threat to large groups of people. Also known as the paradox of tolerance.

  9. #34
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 0x0x0
    Folks at the extreme ends of the political spectrum tend to be ruled by strong emotion. Reason gets shoved aside. In such a mental state it's difficult to near impossible to make good decisions and draw logical conclusions. Makes it's neigh impossible to have a civil conversation with somebody who has the tabled argument that "All Trump supporters are Nazis" or "All Muslims are terrorists" or "Death to the infidel." etc...


    Last edited by SlyFoxx; 17th Aug 2018 at 09:59.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I only said that I'm not far left as I don't agree with their methods, or what they stand for. And I don't agree with the far right for what they stand for. Middle is more of a "fuck you all, I don't agree with either of you. I'll make my own mind up" type thing.

    Over here in Australia you used to be considered far left if you were pro:

    * Action on climate change
    * The right for both sexes to get equal pay
    * Gay marriage

    And I'm all 110% for that.

    But then you throw immigration into it, and I'm like yeah nah no thanks. And where I live we've had a massive rise in crime from a specific racial group, majority of which being immigrants. And I don't agree with the stance of worrying more about the perpetrators of said crimes due to the life they experienced in their country of origin. <-- far left. My focus is on the victims. So I'm more for deportation there. So for me I don't associate myself with far left as that's a bit too head in the clouds type thinking. Hard to explain what I mean there.

    Right side tends to associate with (and I'm only speaking for my own country here):

    * Australia for "Australians". If you don't want to integrate into our multicultural society then you have no place here.
    * All Muslims are terrorists
    * Halal foods fund terrorism
    * Grouping of various races of people into specific categories.
    * Calls for violent acts against those of others cultures, races etc.
    * A complete refusal that climate change is real, and wanting to stick with fossil fuel based power.

    And I don't agree with any of that. So if I don't agree with the left and most certainly don't agree with the right. Wouldn't that make me middle? I'm just going logically via what I'm pro and against for.

  11. #36
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Look at this lefty muthafucka.



    That was a fun test, honestly I really only had strong feelings about the questions on the last 2 pages.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Okay, Cait, let's do this without actually talking about topics I don't think should or ought to be discussed.

    I think the reason that discussions like this get super-sensitive and or defensive comes down to how much skin you have in the game, or at least understanding the skin others have in the game.

    There's lot of talk about identity politics, but that's a new invention for people to try and discuss people's identities. And that's okay, if folks want to talk and learn more about those things, but it's worth nothing that folks feeling of self-worth are tied to their identities. As an example, maybe you're married, maybe you always planned to have kids, maybe you did all those things, what if I said that that's stupid and that you should be childless and that marriage isn't a right you deserve. Is that really a discussion?

    I mean what are we we actually discussing or looking to come away with when we talk about gay marriage, gender identity, racism, or the abuse of women by men in powerful positions?

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Here's mine:



    So I'm a lefty afterall. Bah.

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Minion21g View Post
    Okay, Cait, let's do this without actually talking about topics I don't think should or ought to be discussed.

    I think the reason that discussions like this get super-sensitive and or defensive comes down to how much skin you have in the game, or at least understanding the skin others have in the game.

    There's lot of talk about identity politics, but that's a new invention for people to try and discuss people's identities. And that's okay, if folks want to talk and learn more about those things, but it's worth nothing that folks feeling of self-worth are tied to their identities. As an example, maybe you're married, maybe you always planned to have kids, maybe you did all those things, what if I said that that's stupid and that you should be childless and that marriage isn't a right you deserve. Is that really a discussion?

    I mean what are we we actually discussing or looking to come away with when we talk about gay marriage, gender identity, racism, or the abuse of women by men in powerful positions?
    Firstly I agree with much of the above. My posting this in part was due to a Q&A segment on the ABC channel (publicly funded) over here, in which one of the people answering questions was Dr Cornel West, an American Christian (possibly a priest I'm not sure. He certainly spoke like one) in which when this question was asked by the an audience member, his response was much like you've said, that we all largely have been so focused on ourselves in today's world that we have lost the respect for others, and their points of view. So we see the world purely from our own perspectives with no thought to how things look from the others perspective. Hence the explosive reactions when a counter viewpoint is raised.

    I did a check and there is no video up besides the full length 1 hour Q&A episode which I can provide a link to if there is interest. The guys an excellent talker. Apparently he got in trouble during that segment for calling Trump a gangster, which made news over in the US. I'd not heard mention of it here.

  15. #40
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    This is an american thread.
    The situation in the US is not comparable with any European country.
    I know the right in the US tries to do that, but it's bollocks.
    The current situation is mainly a US problem.

    Imho there are 2 huge factors:
    1) Fox News. It's a fascist propaganda channel. Nothing less. The Nazis would have been proud. The things that are being said on Fox are outrageous. You just don't believe your ears. The bigotry, the lying, the aggressiveness. The slander. The pushy nature of their propaganda. The self-righteousness. Russia is not your enemy. Russia is not the country trying to undermine the US in a political way. It's Australia. (Fox is owned by Murdoch, who is an Australian). As long as Fox keeps operating as they have done over the last 20 years, the US will never return to being a normal country.

    2) Christian extremists. The US was founded on sound principles. You can summary it almost as: "Freedom is our highest valued asset. Every man (and woman) is free. Every man can do whatever the fuck he wants (within reason)". That has changed. The Christians in the US are trying to convert the US in a religious state. The have partially succeeded. The vitriol and aggressiveness with what they are doing that has nothing to do with Christianity. (Although that doesn't matter). Everybody has to adhere to their extremist christian values, or else you are their enemy. As far as I'm concerned, they can all go fuck themselves.

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    I don't necessarily agree it's wholly an American issue, but it's definitely part of a larger picture. Just by way of example. There was the plebiscite about gay marriage in Australia which was very poorly received. In the UK, there's actions by a minority to ostracize transgender and genderqueer individuals, including actions during Pride events in London, which stand out to me.

  17. #42
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Firstly I agree with much of the above. My posting this in part was due to a Q&A segment on the ABC channel (publicly funded) over here, in which one of the people answering questions was Dr Cornel West, an American Christian (possibly a priest I'm not sure. He certainly spoke like one) in which when this question was asked by the an audience member, his response was much like you've said, that we all largely have been so focused on ourselves in today's world that we have lost the respect for others, and their points of view. So we see the world purely from our own perspectives with no thought to how things look from the others perspective. Hence the explosive reactions when a counter viewpoint is raised.
    So what's the solution then? How do you or I inspire this level of compassion and respect in others which drives healthy debate ? Part of me feels that some of what happens today is maliciously intentional (i.e. trolling). Is it really something we can regulate/encourage on a societal level?

    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    I did a check and there is no video up besides the full length 1 hour Q&A episode which I can provide a link to if there is interest. The guys an excellent talker. Apparently he got in trouble during that segment for calling Trump a gangster, which made news over in the US. I'd not heard mention of it here.
    Sure, I'd love to see this.

  18. #43
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    So I'm a lefty afterall. Bah.
    Ha! Hippie!

    Here's mine.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Renzatic; 17th Aug 2018 at 15:12.

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Minion21g View Post
    So what's the solution then? How do you or I inspire this level of compassion and respect in others which drives healthy debate ? Part of me feels that some of what happens today is maliciously intentional (i.e. trolling). Is it really something we can regulate/encourage on a societal level?
    Well that's what I was asking in the first post, as I have no idea what the solution to it is either. I know that things didn't used to be like this, but here we are. Hence my deep concern for where things are heading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Minion21g View Post
    Sure, I'd love to see this.
    Here you go:
    Link

    Or to download it for later viewing:
    http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/tv/qanda...26S00MA1D1.mp4 - Though this may be in a much lower resolution to watching it direct from the site.

    I'm not sure if that will viewable to viewers outside of Australia. Should be. Note that the freedom to free speech question / inability to conduct debates on certain topics is just 1 of numerous topics covered in the session. Will give you a good little insight into how things over here are either way . You get a mixture of answers to the question since you have 1 person answering it who is from Canada (from a free speech organization), Dr Cornel West whose American, and the rest being Australian representatives.

    It's an excellent program overall. One of the few neutral sources for information with no slant either way on TV over here. Our current government (which has a right sided slant, but not far right) has not been too fond of the channel (ABC) since it tells things as it is. So when the government does something underhanded it tells it as it is, unlike the other channels which put a bit more of a positive spin on it depending on the channel. Been a few big funding cuts in recent years due to this (since it's government / public funded).

    My assumption there is that the current government expects the ABC to put news stories and coverage with a pro government slant. But that doesn't happen (since their neutral), so they've been quite angered by this. Hence funding cuts. The other channels have stated that this due to the channel leaning too much to the left. Opinions vary. I see it as an attack on democracy and free news, others see it different. The channels often favored by many in the public due to it's neutral slant.

    The other main channels we have:

    * 7 - I don't really notice too much of a left or right slant. Though I've not watched the news from it much lately, since I can't watch the channel from my current location (TV reception problems).
    * 9 - Definite pro-liberal slant. Very noticeable. Current government being Liberal. So you see many stories with a pro government slant, negative slant towards the opposition (Labor). I'll note that this channel is part funded by Rupert Murdock, who himself is VERY pro-liberal + anti-climate change action.
    * 10 - This channel has 2 news programs. The main one doesn't have much of a slant, though the other show "The Project" has a definite pro - far Left / Green party slant. Very noticeable.

    Anyway that has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. I've had a few drinks and am just rambling. Watch the video. Good viewing .
    Last edited by icemann; 17th Aug 2018 at 16:29.

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    This is where I fall today:



    Some of the questions are kind of absurd. And I think the test is biased on the social scale. In order to score in the upper right or upper left, you have to answer like a caricature of an evil dictator.

    Worse, I think the people behind this test are using it as a political propaganda tool. Every election, they "rate" the candidates on their scale. But they don't use the questions on the test to survey the candidates. They just make shit up, usually placing candidates up and to the right of where their public positions are. Here is a case in point, US 2016 and US 2012:




    So Obama is more authoritarian than Clinton and I'm to the left of Sanders? Right...
    I challenge anyone to find a set of answers that place any of the candidates where this site puts them without directly contradicting their stated positions and/or actions.

    Another case in point, note where Macron is:



    The above includes commentary saying Macron is a US-style libertarian and social Darwinist. Really?

    They're not even consistent in assessing their own country's politics. Here's how they depict the 2015 UK election, note where Labour is:



    And now Labour in 2017:



    They are not transparent about how they assessed the candidates and parties. They don't publish any statistics about how people answer their test questions. And the test doesn't include questions about nationality, party affiliation, candidate support, or political philosophy that could be used to validate the questions and rating algorithm. In short, I think the "Political Compass" is a bullshit propaganda tool designed to trick people into believing they are supporting the "wrong' candidate or party.

  21. #46
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea
    Good post, heywood...The evidence is clear that this "political compass" is skewed and therefore produces corrupt results, due to either an inferior algorithm or intentional manipulation.

  22. #47
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    The site itself says that it's harder to peg specifics in this day and age, due to the fact that there's a considerable amount of blurring between the various ideologies. Because of such, Person A landing in the same grid space as Person B doesn't show that these two people share the exact same politics, only that their respective ideologies have a goodly amount of overlap.

    In short, it's messy, but it works as a quick and dirty generalization.

  23. #48
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    First, the left-right scale is not about social attitudes, it's about economy. Think communism vs neoliberalism. Bernie may seem far left in the US context, but his proposals for free college, expansion of health care, etc, are not really much different from what western democracies have been doing for a while now.

    Secondly, it's not about public positions, it's about voting history, planned policies, and actions. By 2012, Obama had done some pretty authoritarian things by extending Bush's policies and keeping Guantanamo open and killing Osama without a trial (no matter how much he deserved it, I hope you'll agree that it's a pretty authoritarian act). You'll notice that Obama was considerably less authoritarian in 2008. But even then, he supported things like the death penalty and US politics lean more authoritarian and more right by default in the current political climate (e.g. being okay with a surveillance state and idealising capitalism).

    Also, Macron did have something of a libertarian bent, from what I read about him. By US style I assume they mean he's a right wing libertarian, not a left wing one. No idea what the jab about him being the candidate closest to social Darwinism is supposed to be about. A jab at libertarianism, maybe?

    Finally, this is not meant to be a tool for detailed political analysis. Think about it -- would two axes really be sufficient for that? It's about leanings, not accurately pinpointing someone's policies. It is meant to be something of a caricature.

    They actually do address some of those things in their FAQ:

    Why don’t you collect statistics and report on test results?

    It is important to us — and most of our respondents — that the test remains anonymous, and purely for personal information. If we were to log anyone’s results, those results would have to be given voluntarily. This would mean that our sample would be self-selected, and therefore not statistically valid.

    In other words, such data would tell us nothing about the political position of a particular population; it would only tell us about the type of person who volunteered to have their result recorded.

    Trials have revealed that a wildly disproportionate number of visitors from particular cultures, and of certain age and socio-economic groups, were more willing than others to opt in.
    How can you determine where politicians are honestly at without asking them?

    How can you tell where they’re honestly at by asking them? Especially around election time. We rely on reports, parliamentary voting records, manifestos … and actions that speak much louder than words. It takes us a great deal longer than simply having the politician take the test — but it’s also a far more accurate assessment. In our early experience, politicians taking the test often responded in ways that conflicted with their actions but conformed to the prevailing mood of the electorate.

    We are occasionally asked about publishing the individual responses of politicians. We frown on this. The propositions are too vague to be considered statements of policy, and the individual responses are not significant in themselves. When summed to give an economic and social score, however, they provide an accurate profile of a mental state.
    Oh, and it looks they do use the term social Darwinism as a critique of right wing Ayn Randian libertarianism:

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2

    The usual understanding of anarchism as a left wing ideology does not take into account the neo-liberal “anarchism” championed by the likes of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and America’s Libertarian Party, which couples social Darwinian right-wing economics with liberal positions on most social issues. Often their libertarian impulses stop short of opposition to strong law and order positions, and are more economic in substance (ie no taxes) so they are not as extremely libertarian as they are extremely right wing. On the other hand, the classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism ( libertarian socialism) belongs in the bottom left hand corner.
    Last edited by Starker; 18th Aug 2018 at 01:22.

  24. #49
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Disclaimer: I thought the test was biased from the start, in that the assumptions in the questions seemed designed to put me on the defensive. My results:



    edit: dammit, I can't figure out how to post the result. I was x+4, y-0.31.

  25. #50
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I ignored the actual wording and translated the questions to more open-minded versions of what they were really asking. That put me further right and maybe up than I probably would have been without doing that. I think that's the better way to take that kind of test. It itself could be overly biased, but the person taking it themselves can try to be unbiased and account for and counteract the bias they can detect.

    There's probably a good lesson for life in that, not to mention the OP topic at hand. If people could filter bullshit and bias better and get to the nub of an issue, they can avoid getting sunk into some useless battle of emotions. The major catch, of course, is that you can't typically expect your opponent is going to play along.

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