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They've Got Nothing

Entry 1836, on 2017-02-06 at 22:11:36 (Rating 4, Politics)

I've been stirring up trouble again. Yes, I have been on-line, mainly in Facebook but also Youtube, leaving comments for people who I consider are talking BS. Just to prove that I am an equal opportunity critic of ignorance, I have criticised about equal numbers of people who would probably be categorised as right and left.

In some cases I have had some fairly thoughtful reactions, and some have even changed my opinions slightly, but in general my opponents simply have nothing, and either respond with irrelevant comments of their own, refuse to answer my question, insult me (one person called me a "cabbage"), or just unfriend or block me.

On a couple of occasions I have terminated the debate because it was just going nowhere, or going around in circles. In that situation I usually say something like "We have got to a point where we interpret the facts differently because of our worldviews, so there's not much point continuing. Thanks for the discussion" and that ends it.

I have realised that differing worldviews can lead debates to a point where no progress is possible, but I want to write a full post on that in future so I won't continue it here.

There is one phenomenon I want to comment on here though. That is, although I am a fairly liberal person myself (that isn't just self-reported, it is also what I inevitably get when doing political orientation tests) it is people on the left who generally make the most ridiculous and ill considered comments. They also tend to react with denial rather than argument, including blocking further comments - in fact I was unfriended by one lefty (I was going to say "libtard") today.

The worst nonsense from the left unsurprisingly, involves criticism of Donald Trump. Now I'm perfectly happy for anyone to criticise any politician, because I think once someone enters politics they should expect to become a target, but it is just embarrassing when the critic gets it hopelessly wrong, especially when they are obviously just parroting a criticism they have got from their friends with similar political views.

I have commented on this phenomenon before and I think it's getting worse rather than better. I have also blogged about how to avoid falling into this trap. It's really quite simple: the more you want something to be true the more suspicious of it you should be. So if you are about to post something which strongly supports your political ideology just check it first, preferably in a source which would normally be against your views, or a neutral one (if neutral sources even still exist).

The fact that I was blocked just for pointing out a whole pile of inaccuracies in a criticism of Trump indicates that the person involved simply didn't want to engage in a search for what is true. The same person responded to an earlier comment I made with something like: "I knew you would point out that was wrong but I don't care". This person actually wants to be ignorant!

So the stream of hate-filled criticism of Trump (ironically for what they claim are his hate-filled attitudes) is likely to continue, although I see less and less of it because most of the libtards (there, I said it this time) are blocking me!

And as dissenting voices like mine are blocked I guess those people will only get confirmation of what they want to believe. So they will become more and more ignorant. And as that happens they will become more extreme, and a moderate position which most people can agree to will become harder to achieve.

In general, the future doesn't look great. Where we need more agreement we are getting more division. Where we need more progress we are getting more regressive thinking, and most of all, where we need more facts we are getting more ignorance. Apparently, most people can't argue their political position rationally because they've got nothing!

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Comment 2 (4654) by OJB on 2017-02-06 at 22:40:29: (view earlier comments)

I try not to label myself with any particular political leaning. My primary interest is in what is true and that sometimes comes from the left (global warming is true) and sometimes from the right (GMOs and nuclear power should be taken seriously as worthwhile technologies).

In fact, it is the libtards (I know I shouldn’t, but I use that label to describe ill-informed, politically correct people from the left) who are the traitors. They make it impossible to take the left seriously. That’s another reason I don’t identify with a political ideology.

I think that is one reason why I have had so many issues with the left though. They thought I was on their side, but I was only on their side when they were right. As soon as they started talking BS I criticised them for it.

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Comment 3 (4655) by codeinfig on 2017-02-06 at 23:25:18:

People can't argue their political position rationally because they've got nothing!

Nuclear power seems like it would be safe enough for anybody as long as we used thorium reactors, and GMOs seem like they would be safe enough for anybody if we burned them in the thorium reactors instead of eating them.

The problem with a discussion of GMOs is, its going to go like this:

You're going to tell me its "perfectly safe" which is to be fair, "what they always say." about things like lead, thalidomide, ddt, and splenda. if you think im a complete idiot, youll insult my intelligence with that old gmo-chestnut about how weve been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years (which is sort of like saying we can safely detonate atom bombs for fracking, because weve been using THIS MUCH DYNAMITE and "your body doesnt know the difference!")

Then im going to say "even if it is safe" as a technology i dont really trust the companies doing it at such a rate. it becomes a process they have too much control over, which is how i feel about the pesticides as well.

And we get into a pointless debate about types of pestcides, both of which rely mostly on data from the companies with a vested interest in carefully selected data, not that such things ever happen when the only people that can afford to rate the safety of things with large studies, are the companies that might be slowly killing us :(

"We are using fewer poisons and more endocrine disruptors" "and those are cancer-causing" "no, they said they're not! Besides you're exaggerating!"

And meanwhile im completely against GMOs on the simple ethical and philosophical grounds that i dont think ALL OUR FOOD should be "intellectual property" or that we should have to get permission from a corporation to plant seeds-- thats just a little too dystopian for me.

So you say im overreacting or misinformed, and then cite some byline from a lobbying firm i will never believe, and when we get tired or bored we simply walk away and decide that the world is too stupid, why are we even trying to feed anyone non-poisonous food anyway?

Whatever your position, I can tell you that theres no standard of proof that would ever convince you to change your stance, and vice-versa. and even if there were, youd have to buy it from the company with an interest in you not having it.

Maybe im just cynical. I dont think theres a way out of this standoff, other than for the companies to continue to spend enough millions of lobbyist dollars (like they have to prevent labelling initiatives) until they have every politician on their side, and who cares what us plebs think (or want, or prefer) then?

Indeed, I think youre going about this all wrong. just pay me to change my mind. thats all it would take if my opinion mattered to anyone anyway.

There now, I've saved you the trouble.

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Comment 4 (4656) by OJB on 2017-02-06 at 23:51:53:

Yeah, I wasn't trying to start a debate on those issues, just to point out that I have ideas which traditionally are seen as coming from both sides. I'm also not sure if your comment reflects your views or some theoretical opponent I might have on those subjects.

Either way, I take your point. GMOs and nuclear power certainly have good and bad points, and any reasonable person could fairly debate those. I would say that the idea of large corporations controlling GMOs is more a criticism of capitalism (which I would totally agree with) rather than of GMOs themselves.

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Comment 5 (4657) by codeinfig on 2017-02-07 at 10:25:23:

“the idea of large corporations controlling GMOs is more a criticism of capitalism (which I would totally agree with) rather than of GMOs themselves.”

It's a criticism of monopoly, which no capitalist entity can have without one of these: 1. state-like entity 2. an army 3. some kind of thugs 4. superior technology 5. a kept, if foolish, mutual agreement –to enforce it.

But more than that, its a real (and already demonstrated) effect of gmos in the real world. If corporations are creating proprietary food products (and they are, this isnt hypothetical) and they're creating monopolistic legal regimes around them (and they are, this isnt hypothetical) and suing people for not participating in that monopoly (once again - not hypothetical) then this is a problem directly related to GMOs - in this world, anyway.

In another (hypothetical) world it may not be a problem with gmos, but it is a problem with gmos here, right now– and its likely to increase the more we rely on them.

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Comment 6 (4658) by OJB on 2017-02-07 at 10:25:54:

We are really getting off-topic here. This blog post was not meant to be a debate on GMOs. My perspective is this: we will need GM more and more in the future to improve food yields, give better nutrition, synthesise new drugs, etc. If we accept this (and many people won’t but let’s just assume this for the argument’s sake) then we need to find a way to have the benefits of GMOs without the negative consequences created by exploitation by big business.

My political perspective on this is quite anti-capitalism and I would prefer a competent and unbiased (there’s the problem) science-based state organisation to organise development and ownership of all important technologies. At the moment a lot of the basic research is done by universities then big corporations complete the development and sell new products for ridiculous profit and under very restrictive usage terms.

There are many reasons we need a post-capitalist society and this is just one. But, as I said above, that is really an entirely different discussion than what this post as intended to cover.

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