Friday, June 24, 2005

I try to be nice...

But some people just make it so difficult. This guy wants all positive support for the war in Iraq terminated unless you've actually enlisted. His supposed point is that if you're not willing to put your life on the line then you don't really believe in your convictions and so should just be quiet. It's amazing to me the lengths that people will go to in order to silence those with contrary viewpoints. If people actually listened then in one fell swoop he would have silenced all those who oppose him and the only thing we would hear about Iraq is how bad it is....wait, isn't that pretty much the situation now? I've got news for the people like Sirota. The essence of free speech is not 'all speech that agrees with me is okay.' The essence of free speech is that all people have the same right to air their opinions/feelings. I disagree with you, and quite frankly think your conclusions are asinine. Notice though, that I'm not telling you to shut up. It's like you think the louder you get, the more sense you'll make. Volume does not denote quality. You can play Garth Brooks turned up to 11(if you got it, good. if not, you need help) but that doesn't make it music. So how about coming down off the soapbox, putting down the megaphone, and allowing other people to have a say? I realize that I'm asking you to recognize that people other than yourself might have good points and ideas, but I don't think I'm asking too much here.


At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I hear the argument that "dissent is free speech too" all the time from both sides of multiple different (usually political) discussions.

It's ridiculous if you think about it. Essentially, side 'A' disagrees with side 'B', side 'B' then disagrees with side 'A's disagreement, then side 'A' uses "free speech" to support their disagreement, while completely ignoring the fact that "free speech" also supports side 'B's initial disagreement.

In other words, we are trying to justify our point of view by changing the topic of the argument to free speech, which, by definition, applies to both sides, and so is totally pointless.

What we are really doing is just venting in frustration to make ourselves feel better. In this case, it is further witnessed by the generalized attack on the stereotype, "country music lovers are war mongers", and taking it one step further to suggest that (by association) country music lovers are too "uncultured" to ever have seen Spinal Tap. Things like these are completely off topic, so why do we say them? Because they make us feel clever.

There is no higher road to be had by changing the argument to free speech. As human beings, we all want people to share our point of view. Using the free speech argument is never more than searching for a way to convince people to agree with our point of view. In the back of our minds, we make this erroneous argument: "Hey, what I am saying is free speech, and free speech is good, and since free speech is good, you should agree with it."

And hey... we are all tempted to do this. I have done it myself on more than one occasion in the past. After thinking about it for a while I came to realize the falseness of it. Now, whenever I debate something, I very consciously force myself to stay on topic. What I have found is that doing this usually forces the other side to jump off topic first, at which point they have lost their position (even if they don't know it).


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