More Sensible Discussions

Yesterday I wrote about two troubling failures in public discourse, and today I came across two articles by the same author which each tackle one of those problems.

The first problem I talked about is that people tend to use issues and events as ammunition or cannon fodder in their own ideological battles.  There is no honest intellectual attempt to understand the issue itself; rather whatever isolated aspects of the event can be used as a talking point get cherry-picked out of context and placed center-stage in the discussion.  This article by Vox Day, “The Left-Wing Internet Checklist,” describes this process pretty well.

As I’ve said I try to maintain a sense of neutrality, so the title of “Left-Wing Internet Checklist” deserves a quick look.  The point I am driving at is that very often issues are taken out of context.  Do left-wingers tend to do this more than their opponents?  I’m not sure, but I think it’s worth noting that just about every internet meme which centers around hypocrisy or incomplete understanding is aimed at left-wing positions.  Examples:
And, of course, anything featuring this girl:

The second problem I mentioned is that people often make statements that have no grounding in reality.  I don’t mean they are wrong, or poorly constructed arguments, but rather they are just a bunch of words that don’t actually make any relevant point whatsoever.  The most recent example of this I have noticed on cable news (which is, unfortunately, unavoidable at the gym) was the President’s recent statement that raising the debt ceiling was not actually incurring further debts against America’s credit.  This is absolutely, 100% factual.  However, why would we need a higher debt ceiling if we don’t intend to incur further debt?  Does a person who is earnestly repaying his credit card debt go open more cards to spend on?  Again, Vox Day handles this excellently and in detail in, “It Is, Technically, True.

So, what say ye?  Are right-wingers as guilty of context-free news as left-wingers?  How many other current events are being dominated by meaningless discussion?

Looks like Vox Day might need to be my next blogroll introduction!

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