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

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia

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

    Just thought I'd start a discussion on this topic as it is something that has been of growing concern to me over recent years.

    When I was growing up we debated topics of various natures across every topic under the sun for long periods of time in a completely civil friendly manner. This stayed that way for a very long time. However in more recent years things have changed in a massive way.

    Gone is the debate and instead is more argument style discussions with those that we don't agree with. Worst of all, there is now certain topics that cannot even be attempted to be debated or discussed as people often from the far left get extremely aggressive both verbally and abusive.

    Some topics that this falls under:

    * Gay marriage
    * Gender Neutrality / use of gender neutral pronouns
    * Immigration
    * Racism and bigotry
    * MeToo movement stuff

    If debate is even attempted on any of these topics then things often get hostile very quickly, and very often from those of the far left, though also sometimes from the far right.

    Now this is not a discussion on those topics, but more of how and why things have reached this point. In a free and democratic society, the right to free speech is paramount. The trend these days however seems to be that you must be of a certain view (often to the left) or your dead wrong and need to verbally and physically abused.

    So how did we get to this point, and how can we fix it?

    I'll note that attempts to even discuss this topic even, often results in the person being labelled as racist, sexist, a person with an agenda etc etc. That in itself is quite worry some.

  2. #2
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    I've been thinking about this a LOT lately. I spent many years balls-deep in the linguistics of conflict, the ways in which people protect themselves from things they don't want to hear, all that nonsense. Well, it's not really nonsense, but it IS sad.

    The bottom line is frustration, the kind of frustration that manifests as anger. Doesn't really matter how legitimate or sane this frustration is, even dogs get frustrated. But I've said this before: Ideology is the refuge of the angry. And the stupid, but let's not be too pejorative here.

    Can it be fixed? Probably not. Not without a decisive silencing of both sides simultaneously. And that ain't gonna happen. I get annoyed at Far Right and Far Left people all the time, it makes me reticent to express my liberal attitudes as well as m conservative attitudes. And there's no way in hell I'm going to present myself as a moderate centrist just for the sake of calm.

    It is known that the Internet has exacerbated many of the problems associated with this kind of polar politics... relative or actual anonymity, the echo chamber of subreddits, news site comment chains, facebooks, forums, and everything else has only served to embolden the insane instead of mitigate their worry and cray. So it goes.

    It is horrifying (no hyperbole) to see the rancor and acrimony every single fucking morning when I try to be a good World Citizen and stay abreast of the news. It is disheartening to discover that your friends, family, and acquaintances have slipped into one trap or the other... they parrot whichever flavour of bullshit recommends their opinion rather than the other way around. We are hurt by a twenty-four hour news cycle of shit and Pablum, we are divided by the idea that ONE TEAM WINS WE ARE THAT TEAM, and we are going to be at each others' throats until the people who are more powerful than us stop making us feel like we're being attacked. And by "we" I mean EVERYONE, left and right. There are people who think that we live in the worst of all possible worlds on BOTH sides of the imaginary line.

    Another problem is that people no longer understand debate. They only seem to understand yelling and dominance v submission. Nowhere is compromise an option. Ignorance on both sides is met with ad hominem and bolstered by bias in the supposed sources of trustworthy information. There is no longer any reason to trust other sources when twice as many easily found rebuttals exist.

    This is no longer a "left / right" thing -- it is rather a Wanton Ignorance v Considered Reflection thing. If I could legislate and enforce critical thinking I would, but the police have asked me not to do that anymore on account of all the gunfire.

    I'm a liberal gun owner in California. I'm an actual white male European against racism. I'm a straight guy with gay and trans acquaintances who sometimes wonders if they're not being a bit sensitive about thing while also raging about the shit they have to put up with. My place is insecure, I have no team, no cult, no backup.

    And I am coming to the understanding that I simply have to ignore the howling noise from the retards on the Left and on the Right. Boy, that seems very irresponsible to me, but I simply don't have the energy to argue with them all.

    They may not be worth saving. But that's m failing, my submission, my abdication. Or is it? Am I responsible for everyone else?

    Here's the important question (this is always the important question): Cui bono?


    (Hint: Not you, not me.)

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    It's context dependent. If you're in a rural area of the US, then it's by far the Right that does this with the greatest hostility. If you're in a small liberal arts college in pretty much any English speaking country, then it's by far the Left that does this with the greatest hostility.

    My attitude recently is if a person isn't interested in real discussion or debate, I oblige them and don't discuss things with them. Seems to have been working pretty good so far. And I come in with low expectations. Then I'm happily surprised when somebody does want to engage in honest discussion & it's refreshing.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Likely the left is tired of thinly veiled homophobic, racist, sexist, and xenophobic crap from the right. Also self righteous crap about how it is the fault of the left for not liking that stuff and how they should change their minds when it is the right who is closed minded and won't meet in the middle.

    That about cover it?

    Also what Dema said.
    Last edited by Tocky; 16th Aug 2018 at 22:20. Reason: and GBM- how the hell did so many posts happen so quick?

  5. #5
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Word up, dema. And if you live in northern California you have the rednecks and the pansies, the Liberals and the Conservatives, the genuinely concerned and the selfishly entitled... Travel 50 miles and see the world. It's exhausting when you see how they're all wrong and they're all right.

    It's time we brought the flames to the real world. Psychic and emotional immolation of the wantonly ignorant, I don't care which side.

  6. #6
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I'm too damn lazy to type out a long reply at the moment, so I'll just sum up my feelings on the matter in a quick quip.

    Everyone is the victim these days, and we all LOVE it. Fuck you for not taking my obvious pain and victimhood seriously, which is actually real, unlike yours, which is all a bunch of made up bullshit you're throwing out there for some cheap attention.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I'm in the heart of the bible belt and every day I have to argue with my boss because he knows I'm an independent and can't stand Trump. I just want to get my shit together and get out on the road. I think I've about gotten him adjusted to the fact I'm never going to lean right on financial issues or Trump so now he is arguing dark matter is causing gravity by a constant push when it's obvious gravity is the collective pull of atoms magnified by the amount of them thus the mass effect. I just want to get on the road and listen to music.

  8. #8
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    It's the Higgs Boson, Tocky. Swimming pools. Movie stars.

  9. #9
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Dude, I hear that. My "bosses" are proud Christian Conservatives who think Joel Osteen is the greatest and that Jeff Dunham represents the pinnacle of political humor (probably the Achmed Terrorist puppet schtick, I don't know)... I just keep my head down and remember that the dogs are the smart ones.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    We should have been to Mars by now but we are insane.

  11. #11
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Not insane (at least until recently). Just cheap.

  12. #12
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    we're gonna build a space force and the martians will pay for it

  13. #13
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    When have the Martians paid for any goddamn thing here in the states? Why the hell are we expecting them to do so now?

    Martians are moochers.

  14. #14
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    FIST BUMP

    You're absolutely right! They come here with their tripods and their lipless mouths and they harvest all out people for blood! They say they need women, but do you know what?? THEY ARE WOMEN! They just on't know it because there are no genders on Mars. Wankers! LIPLESS WANKERS!

    On a serious, dough... I have always been interested in why we haven't even done a legit moonshot since I was born. There must be some crazy shit out there that we still can't deal with. Unless, of course, it's simply prohibitively expensive to escape orbit without a damned good reason.

    SPACE FORCE

  15. #15
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I think the reason for not doing such is one of boring practicalism. The Soviets are gone, our next closest competitors are at least a full decade behind us on the technology front, and there's no financial or military gains to be made from going to the moon. So why bother? For the most part, we're not a country that does things just to see if they can be done anymore.

    We traded starry eyed idealism for cold pragmatism sometime back in the 70's, and we're a lesser people for it.
    Last edited by Renzatic; 17th Aug 2018 at 01:17.

  16. #16
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I wouldn't say this is even a new thing. I think the vast masses out there have always been this unhinged, and the only thing really different these days is they're connected online and making their voices heard in a way they couldn't in the past.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    I wouldn't say this is even a new thing. I think the vast masses out there have always been this unhinged, and the only thing really different these days is they're connected online and making their voices heard in a way they couldn't in the past.
    I basically agree with this, though I think the availability and tendencies of the internet as a communication tool have amplified these tendencies intensely over the past decade +.

    It's much easier to become incredibly angry about 'the other side' (and to believe that there actually is an 'other side') when you don't actually speak to anyone with a different opinion face-to-face, but just see stuff being posted online that you can't associate with an actual human being so easily, and in a context where you can't pick up on the kind of nuance you get from physical communication. And as others have said, the echo chamber effect and structures like comment chains feed you news in a one-dimensional way which prevents exchange until your opinion is well on its way to being formed.

    It's also much to behave like a shit when you're anonymous. Until recently I have found myself saying things on reddit that I would just never say to a person in front of me, so I have made more of an effort to step back and not care.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gingerbread Man View Post
    I've been thinking about this a LOT lately. I spent many years balls-deep in the linguistics of conflict, the ways in which people protect themselves from things they don't want to hear, all that nonsense. Well, it's not really nonsense, but it IS sad.
    You have a psychology PhD right? I think I remember a thread from forever ago posted by MsLedd in which you'd just got the degree and were recounted being tossed out of a bunch of bars

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    There is a swarm of people now who apparently think that they have a right to demand justifications and explanations for anything they don't like or that they might disagree with. For example, there are lot of people that think Anita Sarkeesian owes them "debate", as if she has nothing better to do than argue with thousands of random people on the internet.

    Not to mention that lot of the "debate" is really just thinly veiled harassment in the form of pretty aggressive sealioning, if not outright abuse.

    To think that debate is possible in such a climate is naive at best. Let's say there's a guy who decides to wear a blue hat in a town where people mostly wear red hats. As people get wind of it, they gather around him and hurl abuse at him. Soon there's a crowd of angry yelling people "debating" the blue hat guy. If you now wanted to debate the merits of wearing the blue hat and went over and asked why the guy wears a blue hat, how do you think it would go over when there are all the people angrily demanding to know why he wears a blue hat?
    Last edited by Starker; 17th Aug 2018 at 03:03.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Not to mention that lot of the "debate" is really just thinly veiled harassment in the form of pretty aggressive sealioning, if not outright abuse.
    I'd never heard of sealioning but that's actually hilarious


  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2016
    Location: Trollinus Maximus
    I find it hilarious BOTH sides have snowflakes.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Are those the two options? To be completely ignored or to be made public enemy number one?

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    And there is no reaction like overreaction.

    It's just vastly out of proportion compared to how Roger Ebert was treated when he criticised video games, and he was much more harsh, basically dismissing the entire medium out of hand.

  23. #23
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I've watched, maybe, 6 minutes of one of Anita Sarkeesian's videos once. Though she made some good points, and over-exaggerated others for empty effect. I think, by the end of it all, I wasn't particularly moved either pro or con.

    Never one did I did I ever consider dropping a c-bomb on her, and threatening to kill her while she sleeps. But maybe I'm just weird like that, you know?

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Steven Pinker would disagree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Now

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn
    Haha, don't ever change, Abysmal.

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