Tag Archives: ad hominem

The Death of Reasonable Discourse

Here is a typical exchange on Twitter:

(Setting: started discussing open carry, and Disneyland’s policy on firearms – not sure how this showed up on my feed, someone re-tweeted, probably)

Me: Disney’s policy is no carry in the park, and they provide storage if you are worried about leaving it in the car.

@neur0atypical: Isn’t the best policy to leave ‘em in the gun-safe locked up at home in the first place?”

@neur0atypical: Not if you are road tripping and carrying for personal safety on the road.

@neur0atypical: Unless I’m going to a shooting range or out in the hills where nobody is around, I don’t need ‘em

Me: That’s great! When I’m driving across NV by myself, I need them.

@ursalette: I have lots of friends that drive around NV just fine.

@ursalette: Wow, you can tell you’re a lawyer.

Me: What does that mean? That I’m a model gun owner, I assume.

@ursalette “That you’re antagonistic and combative.”

 ….then the discussion evolves into them saying guns aren’t toys, to which I reply that that is an obvious statement, and not “anyone” can buy a gun, they have to take a written test and demonstrate knowledge of safety, and for CCW (open carry is illegal in CA) you are required to sit through many hours of class.

 @ursalette “I believe you’re referring to concealed carry permit, but I’m not in the mood for an argument.”

Me: Explains licensing requirements, says that requiring additional training may be a good idea, but I’m unsure as to how far we can go without violating the Second Amendment.

@ursalette: I agree w/caveats, but I don’t think you should try to make everyone agree w/you so aggressively.

Me: I don’t think you need to agree with me, all I’ve done is point out facts. I believe in clarity over agreement.

@ursalette “CA has some of the toughest gun laws in US. Take your case & plaint to Georgia. They need you!”

(I, having NO idea what that means, then make a comment about how reasonably people can’t get into politics without big money and connections.)

@ursalette: “Probably your personality”

Every single comment I made was related to existing laws, and how they function. Want to know what happened next? I get attacked:

@ursalette “I’m out, I have neither the time nor desire for someone who has yet to learn politesse of debate.”

Me: Something about not being able to handle disagreement.

@ursalette “Not disagreement. I was head of the debate team!” (Wow, really…)

They devolved into a snark-fest between the other two friends, forgetting that Twitter is a public forum:

@neur0atypical: “that lady just kind of went typical rabid gun crazy….”

@neur0atypical: “ya, I mean, who wants 2 deal w/the equivalent of a rabid dog…”

@neur0atypical: “Gawd, think about that, y’ve blown my mind. She’s over there earlier telling me she had 2 have 2 to drive through NV?”

@neur0atypical: “ppl drive thru NV all the time unarmed, I have friends who live there & have never felt the need 2 buy gun there. Crazy.”

@neur0atypical: “I guess u better get a gun then, b/c that crazy lady is armed & on the roads somewhere near u lol”

@neur0atypical: “Shit, she’s on the roads in our state, Run! Lol”

 ——————————————————————-

Terrifying, isn’t it? Half of the time, I have no idea what this woman is talking about. It is this kind of intellectual dishonest that is ruining our society. v o as me pointing out Disney’s very reasonable policies on carrying, where they know that people are going to be travelling, and they will have off-duty LEO visiting, so they’ve made arrangements for that. It ended with me telling them that I’m not trying to change their minds, just trying to point out their incorrect facts…and with them having an absolute melt-down and calling names.

Do I care? Not really. Not in a personal sense, anyway. What worries me is that this is characteristic of most social media discourse. Anyone with a reasonable, sane voice is shouted down, called crazy, and then blocked.

I’m not the only one noticing the phenomenon. Just a few days ago the Washington Post ran a piece entitled “Welcome to the death of civilized political discourse.”

The heart of the matter? Washington Post puts it perfectly:

“What’s bad — and getting worse — is the idea that people who disagree with you are idiots solely because they disagree with you.  Remember the phrase “Reasonable people can disagree”? Dead.  How about “disagree without being disagreeable”? Also, dead.”

The other scary phenomenon is what the WP article calls “Self sorting and redistricting.” Basically, people only want to associate with those who agree with them ALL THE TIME. We’re surrounding ourselves with “yes” men, and it is terrifying – and, I think, it is making us stupid.

So what’s the solution? You can’t hide in your ideological silo, and you can’t be offended when someone disagrees with you. No matter how intelligent you are, name calling and dehumanizing the other side tarnishes your own viewpoint, and, to be quite honest, makes you sound stupid. And I believe this is true for BOTH sides. I call people out on Facebook all the time for it, and I usually get un-friended or blocked. If that’s the case, they probably aren’t the kind of person I want to call “friend” anyway. Sorry, I won’t put up with that kind of discourse from either side. It isn’t helpful, it doesn’t move us forward on the issues, and it doesn’t promote any kind of progress.

This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy political satire – I do! But there is a difference between calling someone dumb or dehumanizing them and poking fun of current political events. So I’ll just leave you with the WP’s conclusion:

“Disagreement is good for politics. Demonization is awful.”