1/24/08

Trying something new..

Not sure how often I will do this, but I'd like to try something called "fisking," though what I actually produce will usually be a poor example of it. I would rather get my thoughts out, in a broken form, than miss getting them out there while I wait for the opportunity to more clearly articulate them.

My first one is based on an article that I encountered in my Del.icio.us network (that links to my own bookmarks, but I'm referring to a bookmark somebody else in my network posted.) The article is: How to Respond to Conservatives, and my response to it is:

The first half of this document is basic conversation/debate tactics. It makes the claim that conservatives are emotional and unreasonable, even though you could easily swap in a person with any ideology for that. They are attacks on the person, not the topic. They highlight the flow of the conversation over the content. The problem is he slides in content: i.e., diverting a pro-lifer by saying "by all means then, you should not have one". You should be careful what you learn from this article, because it provides no means for dialog, and very little means for reason.

The second half of this document is entirely about persuasion. It establishes liberals as a wall of truth, and teaches you how to extend your territory without ever giving any up. Amazingly, it again makes no space for honest 2-way dialog with "truth" being the goal. Instead, your own ideas, the vague ideas behind liberalism, are the goal.

The fact of the matter is, dividing the world into two camps: liberals/progressives/leftists and conservatives/rightists, is no better than dividing the world into democrats and republicans, which creates absolutely no real "progress", because it both polarizes people, and obscures ideas.