Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by John Bear, Mar 24, 2003.
Re: How about 2 new fora: Left Wing Rants & Right Wing Rants.This one is no fun any m
Why? - too gauche.
A Canadian army marching chant goes gauche - gauche - gauche - droit - gauche - droit - gauche - droit - gauche.
Is a moderate rant possible?
Re: Re: How about 2 new fora: Left Wing Rants & Right Wing Rants.This one is no fun a
I meant to say- not gauche enough?
The Tom Head problem, in a nutshell: I find it hard to sit by as a regular in a forum and watch any minority group get the Joe McCarthy treatment. What this means is that I check my email and respond to the anti-conservative liberal attacks on my listservs, then I show up and respond to the anti-liberal conservative attacks here.
If you post a thread like "Why [All] Europeans Are Antisemitic," it sets off Pavlov's bell for me and I go arfing off to defend my European friends. If you post a thread like "Why [All] Conservatives Want a Pax Americana," it sets off Pavlov's bell for me and I go arfing off to defend my conservative friends. You don't see a whole lot of the latter here, just as you wouldn't see a whole lot of the former on my liberal forums, but it does happen.
All of this is starting to rub off and make a crank out of me (as Bruce and Kristie could attest), which is why I generally avoid political forums. But what else am I supposed to do? I've added Orson to my ignore list, but if he posts a message tomorrow with the subject line "Muhammad Was a Demon-Possessed Pedophile," I will have to respond and correct that because nobody else will, and what if there's a Muslim reading the thread who feels unwelcome on this forum as a result. And if he posts a message tomorrow that "the Left"--that's me, or at least a considerable percentage of my friends--supports Saddam Hussein, I have to correct that, too because, again, nobody else will. It's all very tiring, particularly when I see otherwise intelligent people provide an amen chorus to mean-spirited rants. The only alternative I see is to ignore the off-topic forum altogether (which is beginning to look like a pretty good option).
How about simply being honest with yourself, and us, and just telling us what you really think, rather than automatically rushing to the defense of one group there and another here?
It's one of the reasons I very rarely read any of the posts from this particular area. It's either political ranting or religious ranting. I can well imagine folks reading and going away.
I now mostly just read the main forum. The rest has become not much fun.
I'm quite honest with myself, and see no need to prove that to someone in an online political discussion.
At any rate, I think Tom Nixon's idea here is the most sensible one. I'll just change my bookmark from "View All New Posts" to the actual distance learning forum, and you folks can have the off-topic forum to yourselves without having to worry about anyone intruding on your little fun. It's not like there's much worth reading there right now anyway.
I'm in agreement with John Bear.
Personally, I'm finding it far more rewarding to watch the war on CNN than to try to discuss it here.
Aren't there more significant and interesting ways to address all of this stuff than simply pouring gasoline on everyone's passions and trying to start fires?
The military events we are watching (often in real time from the "embedded" reporters) will be studied in war colleges for years to come. The political events are reshaping our world.
Is Degreeinfo going to rise to the occasion, or is it going to sink to being just another disfunctional internet flame group where everyone present chooses their "side" and then hurls insults at their opponents?
Either way, I would just say that I have learned a great deal from reading the political/religious ranting of others.
Tom, I would just suggest that you "let it be" if Orson posts something that is too abrasive to you. I know you want to defend this group and that group. But, the whole goal of doing so, or "protecting a forum" is impossible unless that is what the forum is established for.
I mean--degreeinfo will always protect itself from degree mill posts. But since it's not established to create fair political discourse, it wont.
Fine, Tom. It just seems a little contrived that you would automatically side with one group here and another there. You will always approach both forums with a self-imposed blind spot.
Re: Re: How about 2 new fora: Left Wing Rants & Right Wing Rants.This one is no fun any more
"Religious ranting"? Interesting choice of words. I think most of it has been intellectual dissection of theological concepts and issues.
I will have to remember that term. "Ranting". I wonder how we decide what intellectual discussion is not ranting.
Perhaps you can answer a question I have had for a long time, and seems more pressing with our current events. Why do both sides discard 'a priori' the other sides' point. Perhaps I can attribute this to a lack of political ingraining on my part, but I can truly get torn when viewing both sides' evidence. This is true concerning the current war (obviously, it is emotionally charged and not clearly defined by anyone) but this dilemna is more telling when weighing economic arguments such as welfare, subsidized housing, et cetera. I know what side I come down on, but understand my decision has yet to be proven the right one.
How can some people claim to have a crystal ball?
Well, there you go,
a moderate rant,
I find this very interesting. I have read a few of Orson's thread starters and find little to show that he is either a leftist or a rightist. He finds bits of info, articles, etc and posts them with a comment that logically could not be deduced to showing which "side" he favors (I believe he favors neither).
for instance many seem to think of him as a die-hard rightist..if so then does this post of his support that theory (understanding that not all people support all the people and ideas of one party or one party's representative)
"Hans Blix Makes George Bush Look Like Genius!
Appearing on Music Television cable network Hans Blix lamented the US nixing of the UN Kyoto Carbon Dioxide protocal:
“To me the question of the environment [such as global warming] is more ominous than that of peace and war.”
(See “IPCC Temperature Projections in Serious Doubt”
Feb 13th 2003 , The Economist, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had better check its calculations http://www.economist.com/finance/di...tory_id=1579333>
Only a useful idiot like Blix could make George Bush look like a genius! Keep it up, Hans, baby.
as I said before...keep them thinking Orson! to paraphrase Lawrence Read said in Anything that's Peaceful...it is the arrogant, ignorant man who thinks he know it al and it is the wise man who realizes how little he actually knows. (an alternate formulation of "the more I learn the less I seem to know")
When you combine a couple of these guys with a few of these guys, and throw in this guy or this guy, it's a recipe for annoyance. How many people really fall entirely into either of these extreme (and often bizarre) camps, anyway? The fact that so many adults choose to throw themselves into these games (and take it seriously) really amazes and baffles me.
As for creating a new forum - aren't there already countless forums dedicated to this sort of thing? I'd think that DegreeInfo would have better things to do with the bandwidth. If we ignore it, it will eventually die out. Who knows, maybe posting some links to more appropriate sites would do the trick. Then again, maybe those sorts of threads are wanted here, though I suspect that they mostly just result in rolled eyes and deep sighs.
Tom: I know your heart is in the right place...
I know your heart is utterly in the right place, but I believe your quest is quixotic and doomed to failure.
Why? Two reasons. First, of all minority opinion is not always deserving of anti-McCarthyite defense!
Second, and more briefly, as a one-time President of the University of Minnesota said in the regarding the PC debate, "If you [or I] have not been offended, then you have not been educated." If so, then continuing education--in which many of us esteem degreeinfo.com as our extension faculty--invariably involves continuing offense!
Now returning to the first point, you and I may well agree that there is a sensible middle ground on the issue of illegal street drugs. However, among conservatives (and Lord knows, among too many hypocritical baby-boomers and Democrat General Barry McCaffrey), this is not the case. For example, the Netherlands shows the doubting Bill O'Reilly's of the world a realistic way.
And then there are subjects about which there IS NO sensible middle ground and neither you nor I will defend those who disagree: abolishing the Bill of Rights, slavery, anti-Semitism.
Yet there are those, today, for whom slavery is not only a good idea, it is also practiced: among Muslims, for instance! Clearly there are minority groups who approve, even embace, morally abhorent practices.
Why is there no great movement among the Left to abolish and condemn and root out this ongoing practice--something that's not news to aware people for at least the past dozen years? I think this tells us more about the supposed opponent's hypocricies than anything else: it's victims are mostly Christians (i.e., the Right), and therefore there is mostly silence from the Left!
(And my own libertarians have been, I think, far too silent about slavery too; it's a cause THEY and We ought to have championed far more vociferously than we have. [This is a betrayed legacy of the Radical Abolitionists, indeed.] The Left, which historically began with classical liberals, i.e, libertarians, are not immune to the sting of criticism, too.)
In other words, there are subjects and topics and approaches that deserving reproach and offense. PC has not made Voltarian thinking or the Swiftian sword obsolete: it has merely driven it underground (which explains why "Orson" so often couches politically incorrect criticism through the veil of others opinions).
Now to raise the logically implication of existing slavery, again--so offensive (HUH!!), and so politically incorrect ("Banish this guy!") that no one dares speak up about it!--why is slavery only tolerated by Muslims (and I mean outside of the so-called 'White Slavery' of organized crime)?
Or can Tom Head be consistently "anti-McCarthyite" about this too?
(Who is quite content to endure further offenses from others; he's a grown-up, after all! And as Jonathan Rauch agues so eloquently in his book and magazine article on the necessity of being anti-PC in any liberal open society, where the truth is considered a nobel quest, adults ARE needed--not wimps.
See "The Truth Hurts: The Humanitarian Threat to Free Inquiry,"
Reason, April 1993. Online at
According to Rauch's splendid shamefest of the deafening silence that greeted the Iranian fatwa of death to Salmon Rushdie, all progress depends upon criticism. Only adults can seriously sustain serious respect for criticism, and overcome offense--whether intended or not. Let all Doubting Thomas's of my post above post go there immediately!)
Orson, I may have been a little hard on you in previous posts. Clearly you're an intellectually honest guy who believes he's doing the right thing. But if your goal is to make people think, I believe you may be going around it in the wrong way.
You know as well as I do that this forum is almost exclusively conservative, that Muslims and Europeans are vastly underrepresented here, and so forth. So what are you doing? Affirming Bush's moral ground (which virtually everyone here already agrees with) and criticizing European and Islamic culture (which nobody here is qualified to defend). This forum's audience--which is not massive--probably sees little or nothing offensive or challenging in your posts. You're preaching to the choir.
The reason I took on an "anti-Orson" position is not because I actually disagree with everything you say--I'd say I agree with you about half the time (though I would use different terminology)--but because this forum suffers from a profound lack of dissent. For example, Bill Dayson and I are probably the only two people here who would argue with your assertion regarding slavery and the Arab world. Slavery is actually still a global problem well worth fighting, even in many predominantly Christian countries:
My personal opinion--if anyone here wants it--is that fundamentalist traditions of Christianity and Islam both fail miserably when it comes to the abolition of slavery. Look at the 19th century abolitionist movement and you will find that Leftists like Emerson, Thoreau, Garrison, Channing, Anthony, Stanton, Douglass, and so forth are overrepresented. (Incidentally: For a good example of a liberal praising civilian slaughter because it fights an unjust system, see Emerson's essay on John Brown. One of the very few cases where I strongly disagree with Emerson--as far as I'm concerned John Brown's revolt did very little good for the abolitionist cause, and a great deal of harm--but it does establish that the current situation among the most radical left-wingers is not without precedent.) Now, it should be argued that racist slavery is unjust according to the Bible--but one canonical author had the opportunity to condemn all slavery in Philemon, and chose not to do so. In reality, the Islamic position on slavery is indistinguishable from that of the New Testament. Both systems do, however, reject racism.
I have nothing to gain by involving myself in discussions that consist of liberals supporting liberals or conservatives supporting conservatives. A balanced forum is generally more useful to me because I have time to respond to arguments in an intellectual way without having to worry about spin and without feeling like Custer. The fact of the matter is that I have very little to say here that's worth saying--I can either be a grand shiznit disturber a la Abbie Hoffman and rant as a liberal, I can sit on the sidelines and peck at your stuff, I can concede your points when I agree with them (thereby further marginalizing dissent), or I can stay out of the discussion entirely. Since labels make me cranky, the last option seems to be the most sensible. As far as educating myself on conservatism goes, bear my home state in mind.
In any case, my original reason for being here has nothing to do with politics. A quick search over my nearly 5,000 posts in the DE community (counting both this forum and AED) will tell you that my main concern has always been with distance learning. Most folks here probably had no idea I was even a liberal until fairly recently. Politics has never been a priority for me in these forums; I get plenty of that elsewhere. And even then, I prefer to have in-depth discussions of issues and history rather than in-depth discussions of what large groups of people might be conspiring to do. That's why I don't generally hang out on liberal politics forums, either.
Bottom line is that I'm just plain burned out. This isn't the way I discuss politics.
It's weighted towards fundamentalist Protestants as well. Catholics are as rare here as liberals. I've wondered about why that is.
I guess my question is: Is the religious right tone here at Degreeinfo representative of DL as a whole, or is it just a fluke? Is DL largely occupationally-driven, a matter of adult continuing education, or is there an unrecognized cultural aspect to it as well?
Does part of the attraction of DL consist of it being an alternative to mainstream left-dominated higher education, something akin to the home-school movement?
I'd be more apt to question the issue's relevance to the war in Iraq, to the Israel/Palestine dispute, to America's behavior in the world, to other nations' response to that behavior, and especially to some rather outlandish conspiracy theories.
It's idiotic to choose one of two totally stereotyped "sides" (either "left" and "right"), and then hunker down in our intellectual foxholes and lob a succession of short zingy argument-fragments at our enemies as if they were rhetoric-grenades.
Unless political (or religious) argument is willing to address foundational disagreements and our reasons for taking our positions in the first place, all anyone succeeds in doing is masturbating in a highbrow way.
It might be pleasurable, but it lacks results.
Separate names with a comma.