Note: this post was originally written Feb 29, 2008, but never published. I am glad that this artifact remains. I guess we are now seeing the results of what I was saying.
It is really annoying to me that yelling and lying has replaced arguing in America. I blame talk radio, talking point TV, internet message boards, bloggers and political pundits. I don’t think bragging, distorting facts, shouting down, and insults make for constructive conversation. Especially not in the realm of persuasive argument. Especially not on the internet. Unfortunately they are entertaining to some, and it’s a lot easier to shout down your opponent while they are trying to rebut the last round of misinformation. When “truth” is mistaken for “fact” and opinions are more important than either, we are all in trouble.
Even the idea of Winning an Argument has been replaced with whomever gets the most jabs in, not who actually persuades anyone of anything. Maybe that’s the real problem- people don’t even understand the point of an argument anymore. Arguing is a kind of sport or mental exercise, not communication.
The outcome of an argument ought to be either one of 2 things :
1. mutual respect and an agreement to disagree
2. the persuasion of one party to agree with the other party
or maybe a 3rd variation :
3. partial persuasion of both parties on some idea, but still respecting differences
It is depressing but it just goes to show that by constantly directing your product, be it on radio, TV or internet, to the lowest common denominator – everyone gets stupider. It’s a never ending downward spiral and the only way out is to choose to get out. I just think it’s sad.
And the WORST part of it all is that we are in the turning point, Gen X was probably the last generation not to have grown up through our childhoods with this constant barrage of bad manors and ever increasing ugliness. it only started in our late teens, and we are already churned up in it. the kids today have no chance. the future is grim, and stupid. ever more so.
also – if you don’t agree with me you are a retarded, commie, pinko freedom hater who hates our troops and wants to tax the poor, bomb Canada, free dangerous prisoners, give free abortions, legalize drugs, pollute the water and air, take money from schools, give guns to babies, open the borders to terrorists, say the F word in church, piss on an eagle, mandate same sex marriage, shoot lasers at the moon, and you are probably a pimply fat high school drop out redneck liberal with bad hair who rides a bike to save the environment but chain-smokes at home where you are rearing 3 illegitimate children on welfare who operate a meth lab and have a star trek/furry complex.