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.
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?