Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arguing On The Internet

     I try not to.  I don't always succeed.

     See, it generally doesn't actually do anything.  Oh, in the rare cases in which there's a large and interested audience of Undecideds, it is possible that a well-crafted set of points and verifiable examples may sway minds and/or hearts, but in most cases the onlookers take it as one of those Sergio Aragonés cartoons in the margins of Mad magazine, or at best an episode of Spy vs. Spy.

     I will ask for cites -- claiming "X" without supporting evidence is plain lazy on This Here Innerweb -- and where the law is already clear, I'll call folks on wishful thinking.  But most arguments boil down to a matter of politics or taste (or both) and debate often turns on stupidly fine points. (Would there be fewer shootings if there were no guns?  Yes.  Would there be less violence?  Doubtful at best.  So which outcome did you want? -- And who "wins" depends on the answer to that last question.  Either way, when the online debate is over and the principals are sitting back and sipping coffee, nothing in the real world will have changed.)

     If you've got a friend who holds some opinion you think is plain wrong, ask yourself what matters more, the friendship or trying to get in there and take a wrench to the contents of their skull?  Ask yourself, is this person doing harm to others on the basis of their opinion, or is it just another of the damfool notions wandering around loose in people's thoughts?  Ask yourself, "When did I enlist in the Thought Police?"  'Cos you probably didn't. And you've probably got damfool notions of your own.  I sure do.

     I'd rather have friends than an echo chamber.  Sometimes we just have to disagree and go on.


John Peddie (Toronto) said...

MAD ???

A staple of my grade school entertainment, in the decade it originated.

Wonderful to hear that name again.

Divemedic said...

I agree, but there are just some things that I cannot ignore and still have you as a friend.
After Newtown, I had a friend of 15 years vehemently insist that all guns needed to be made illegal, for the children. She went on to say that the police should be forced to use all tools at their disposal and go door to door, confiscating them, and any "gun nut" that resisted should be shot.
We are no longer friends.

Eck! said...

MAD such good humor and satire.

Online arguments... I've been on
line since the early 80s to the various forums of the day. Every discussion is plagued with the people who claim much, deliver nothing and live by wishes are ponies. Then are the trolls and abusive sorts that time to tease
or otherwise destroy conversation. The latter were always so much fun considering the idea of anonymity back then was non existent. They exposed themselves and their institution.

Now, I see it for what it is. irrational people writing stuff composed of whole cloth based on feelings belief of how it should be.

They don't understand law, its function in society, or care about facts.

I can not argue with an irrational person. People that hold that stance are often have me back to them as they cannot add to a discussion of substance. I do note who they are as they are dangerous often without knowing
they are.


Anonymous said...


I find the friends with whom I can disagree and still have fun are the best.
Because we don't waste time on brain surgery!


Merle Morrison said...

Ah yes - spy vs spy!!! My favorite part.