I recently visited a liberal blog I had become aware of, and I made a couple of posts. Sorry – no link – I see no need to send any traffic over there. In any case, I posted, politely, what I felt were relevant comments laying out my understanding of some of the issues at hand. I tried to make clear that I was willing to hear their ideas in contrast with mine.
The blog owner started out politely in the responses, but overall, in all the responses to my comments, I informally count 7 incidents of calling me names; 1 sexual slur; and 9 cases of pure verbal rudeness. So far as I can see, none of it was provoked except by one thing: my statements did not match their preconceived ideas. They started out fairly politely, and ended by telling me to get lost.
Sadly, there was zero attempt at actually examining any information I presented. I did in fact examine information at links one of them recommended, but this was, as far as I could determine, not reciprocated. Statements I made that they couldn’t attack, they ignored.
I had hoped to establish a dialog wherein I could learn what they believe without having to strain out the talking points; and I was willing to return the favor. I always seek the truth, and the closer you get to the source the better your facts will be. I thought, and still think, that this would be a valuable source of knowledge, and who knows? They might have some good, valid ideas. No joy; there was no chance of honest dialog with these people. And, I think these were reasonably intelligent people; reduced to elementary school name calling when confronted with ideas they disagreed with.
I have had previous experience with liberal crudeness, on more than one occasion, so this wasn’t the first time. But I keep hoping. Nor do I believe that all liberals are like this; there are bound to be some, somewhere, willing to actually communicate and debate without resort to name-calling. Granted, I haven’t made a concerted effort, but I have put a toe in the water every once in a while. So far, I still haven’t found any liberals willing to engage in polite discourse. They seem to get angry if you don’t immediately agree with them. I wonder where all that vaunted liberal ‘tolerance’ is? I saw none on the blog I visited.
Fair enough – I’m sure there are people on the conservative side that are just as rude. If so, we need to quit it.
This is really sad. One thing I have noticed on both sides of the divide; there is a tendency, which mankind has always had, of vilifying the enemy. People tend to think people that don’t think the same as they do are evil, subhuman and deserving of contempt. This discussion demonstrated this, in microcosm. It is amazing the world has had as much peace as it has had. I fear this is a tendency that is hard-wired into humans, and if we ever want to have real peace, we must find a way to get beyond it.
So it’s not just liberals vs conservatives; it is Muslims and Christians; blacks and whites; you name it. People identify strangers as enemies by default. I see no real difference between this and bigotry. Bigotry is unreasoning hatred of someone because of skin color, usually; this is no different in emotional content.
I really don’t see why people with different views cannot discuss their ideas peacefully and respectfully. But I guess, in the real world, it isn’t going to happen. And this is a tragedy.