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Not Trolling

Entry 1971, on 2019-03-15 at 14:20:57 (Rating 4, Politics)

I like to stir up trouble sometimes, especially in discussion forums on social media. Some might call it trolling, but I prefer to think of it as challenging people who have a belief system who might not ever see alternative views if it wasn't for me.

Sometimes I am fully committed to the perspective I present in these discussion - although I am always prepared to change given sufficient evidence of course - and other times I only half believe what I am saying, but just want to present an alternative view. Again, I don't really think this is trolling (or sophistry, if you want to me more conventional).

The most recent incident of this type involved a "news" article about where a couple of people at a meeting made some rude comments to a person speaking who used the Maori language (the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand) because they couldn't understand what he was saying.

Of course, the politically correct crowd (including the news source presenting this item) immediately reacted with shock and horror that the indigenous language should be disrespected like this. To be honest, judging the situaiton just from the one-sided report I read, the critics of the Maori speaker were unnecessarily rude and intolerant, but that is the sort of thing that can happen at meetings, and I don't think it would have been news at all if the political correctness aspect of the use of the language hadn't been prominent.

Also, deliberately using a language that most people don't understand is often used to make a political point in this context. According to the stats I found only 21% of Maori people understand their own language, and presumably that is less for other communities, so most people at the meeting would not have understood what the speaker said. To be fair, there was no way to tell if there was some political agenda in this case, because of the superficiality of the reporting.

So I said: "Itís only practical and polite to use a language everyone in the room understands. This guy was just trying to make a political point, I guess. Deserves all he gets."

Of course, this initiated a torrent of sometimes quite abusive reaction, most of it negative. For example: "well FO to where your ancestors spoke your language" and "Owen yah tosser" and "another fucked ballhead" and "open your mind istead [sic] of just your ass".

There was also some sort of Maori curse "pokokohua" (pretty funny), some standard ad hominems: "spoken like a true Red Neck" and "Your [sic] obviously a Hill Billy inbred ha ha ha", sympathy for my perceived inadequacies: "Poor Owen what a sad lil cave you still live in", and some bizarre comments which made little sense: "white people gonna white people".

I did have a small amount of support, but to be honest it wasn't helpful because when you take a position like this it sometimes encourages people who really are a bit racist. So while the great majority of comments were against me, it was interesting to note that the reactions were in my favour (48 positive, 23 negative, 14 uncertain) so I think I had a lot of supporters who were too scared to comment.

And this is a problem because I think that this would be the case in almost every situation where the politically correct crowd think they command the majority view. I really think the PC people think the majority support their reaction of righteous indignation in support of groups which are claimed to be disadvantaged, like indigenous people, women, and the LGBTQIA+ (or whatever the current designation is) community.

Note that this isn't really a claim of who is right and wrong. It could be that the politically correct view is correct in some cases, but if the majority don't support it, that would be interesting to know.

Also note that I'm not saying that there are no issues of unfairness towards the groups I mentioned which should be resolved. What I am saying is that we need to look at these claims carefully, and not try to correct one case of unfairness by handing out privileges which just create unfairness in the opposite direction. I am also saying that we need to look at each situation on its merits, and not just automatically assume that every case involving a "disadvantaged group" is genuine (look at the recent Jussie Smollett and Covington Catholic cases for examples of this mistake). And finally I am saying, we need to be practical because making unreasonable demands, like everyone must learn the indigenous language, is unfair because many people might want to spend that time doing other things.

And the saddest thing is that while all of these social justice warriors are wasting their time trying to persuade us that everyone should learn what is essentially a dead language, there are real issues which they are either ignoring or paying less attention to.

And even if they do spend time on both trivial and worthwhile issues, the trivial issues negate any gravitas they might have had otherwise for the more serious subjects. So some people might be tempted to say something like "we don't need to worry about global warming because those crazy lefties also want us all to speak an old language, so they are obviously out of touch with reality".

Note that I don't think that way. Both the left and the right have some good and bad ideas, and having impractical, inaccurate, or ideological ideas in one area doesn't mean that everything a person believes can be rejected.

Did my arguments make any difference to the people convinced we should all be speaking Maori? Well, probably not, but I think those majority of people who gave me the thumbs up without actually commenting might at least see that there doubt is shared by others, and that a good argument can be made against the PC position.


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