?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Sep. 29th, 2006

So I suppose I should post this as it have been the subject of much argument.

What has happened to civility in our discourses? At what point did it become okay for people to be called un-American for questioning our government? When did it become okay to call those who want to peruse safety with out restraint fascists? Is it okay to say someone is like Hitler to make some sort of political point? I will not understand, nor will I ever understand why some people feel it is okay to be uncivil if people don’t agree with you. I am a strong critic of the current trends in our administration. I may even go so far as to say they are dumb things to do. I will however try and make my points in logic and passionate argument. I will endeavor to avoid directly insulting people who believe in those policies. You know what, that does not make me any less strident in my beliefs. It merely means I have the capability to make the argument civil. These are not baby killing monsters. These are men and women who believe in their cause and that these measures they are pursuing are needed. I disagree with them. I will express that with letters and debate. I will express it with my votes.

I have a number of friends who are conservative. I don’t believe them deluded or foolish. I believe them perhaps to be wrong on points because of certain points I will gladly talk with them about. I trust most of them will treat me with the same respect.

The whole demonizing of people on the opposite end of the political spectrum thing is just a waste. It convinces no one except the people who already agree with you. In the opposite people who may have been willing to listen to you tune you out because you have started to use the language to indicate you’re on the extreme. It is no better for a liberal to use the language of anger and fear than it is for a conservative. You only prove yourself the same and indisguishable from the people you oppose.

And why is it people want to do this in the end. Are people so frustrated that no one sees the way they do? That seems a likely explanation for why Bush and his fellows do it though I don’t know. Is it a stroke to the ego that you can prove yourself strong in your opinions, so strong you don’t care who you offend? Well I am sure that is a motivator for at least some.

I myself prefer to look to our better angels and say that while I strongly disagree with someone I will not be reduced to schoolyard name-calling. I believe in the notion that discussion and action are better gauges of our national character than name-calling and mudslinging.

Tags:

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
pickmansraven
Sep. 29th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
Good points...
I don't know where the civility in our discourse went, but I fear it's been eroding from our society for the past 30 years. (The "if it feels good, do it" mentality holds some of the blame, I believe.)

ANYways ... I hope we continue to have civil discourse and polite disagreement. We each have our opinions, and I believe in the end we both want what's BEST for not only ourselves, but what we view as society as a whole. We just have different opinions on what will work.

Okay.. Back to the Salt Mines for me...
hapersmion
Sep. 29th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Good points...
What does the small print say on the "Trust Bush" bit of your icon? It's too fast and tiny for me to read. And if I don't ask I'll have to watch it all day to try to figure it out.
technoir
Sep. 29th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Good points...
funny part is we have been joking with each other for years about how far on opposite ends of the political spectrum we are.
pickmansraven
Sep. 29th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Good points...
Yup - But even where we disagree, we keep it civil. Sometimes I can't come up with a good response to your points, and vice-versa. :)

But at least we listen, learn and respect. I try to keep an open mind about these things .. Sometimes it gets hard when the rhetoric (on either side) gets too thick.

Cheers!
moosea1
Sep. 29th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear!!!
gideondelnath
Sep. 29th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
I think a part of the extremist arguing has come about due to some of the shows that we have today on politics where the hosts of the shows think that the only way to be heard is to argue like this, and by doing so they set a bad example for the rest of us. They also, as a part of this arguing 'technique', don't allow for the views of anyone but themselves and those that agree with them. In the end, I think that this is the core of the problem, but then again there is the agressive human nature that goes with all that and feeds it, making it easier and easier each time to bleed into it from a spirited discussion.
medicine_weasel
Sep. 29th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
I am generally against propaganda. I hate it. I hate it even when it is espousing things that I belive in. However, when you loose all ability to have any degree of control (most votes in the USA are now calculated by highly-tamperable electronic voting machines that leave no physical record) and the opposing powers-that-be pass laws that allow them to snatch any of us off the streets and do what they will (see the new "anti-terror" law), what is left? And besides, contrary to your post, many of the men and women of the Bush-administration ARE baby-killing monsters! How many babies died during the bombing of Iraq? How many have been slaughtered since? How many Iranian or Kurdish babies died from the chemical weapons Donald Rumsfeld gave to the the Iraqi's. How many babies have suffered as the result of thier parent's heroin addictions and over-doses...heroin sold to them by Bush I's CIA (YES! The CIA sold heroin in the USA to support their operations... if you don't believe me, do the research yourself) while he was director.... I can go on and on....
technoir
Sep. 29th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
and on and on....
The problem is you just made my point for me. First off you have made a rather broad and inflaming statement which you will be hard pressed to back up with facts. The chemical weapons Iraq recieved in the 80s did not infact come from the united states as far as anyone has shown. Most of the ones I am aware of that have been found had either arabic or german instructions on them. Now you might have had some reasonable arguements based on the fact he was our ally when he actually did have functioning chemical weapons. As to the bombings in a war killing babies, well lets see. By your arguement you would name over half the pressidental administrations in history as baby killers. People die in war. If you add in all the babies who died from from poverty and malnutrition then congradulations every ruler in history gets to be a baby killer. And so do you for everytime you dont contribute to some charity that feeds children. I mean if we are taking the circuitous route why not go all the way. My point here being is if you want to call someone a name you can. I can toss around inflamitory claims I cant prove also. But why? Why whould I listen to someone who stands up and says "Bush is like Hitler!" Why would anyone? Your not really saying anything when you say"they are baby killers!" You really cant back that up with facts so your just as bad as the president saying I am "Against freedom" because I oppose his policies. If you have a cogent and reasoned arguement then I will to listen and so will other people. If you sound like a left wing radical people will shut you out and you will not advance the cause at all. I wont tell you that you cant say things like that. free country and all that, but what I am saying is it does not help and frankly more hurts your points by doing it. I am saying I disappointed intelligent people cant find better ways to express their passionate beliefs than to result to cheap shot. Your a writer Ian. Cant you come up with a better use of words, a better arguement than the reactionary. I certainly believe you can and it is worth the effort for reasonable men and women to make the effort to argue the cause. I think it is better to fight the fight with the right weapons. Let fear and half truths be the weapons of lesser men.
pipistrella
Sep. 29th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
It is also possible to use historical examples to illustrate a point. Certainly such comparisons can be inflammatory, but they can also highlight simliarities that can serve as a warning. Arthur Miller was not hysterical when he published The Crucible in the McCarthy era.
technoir
Sep. 30th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
Okay fine.

How does Bush resemble Hitler. Ha he advocated classifying an entire ethnic group as second class citizens? Are there secret programs to clasify retarded people and sterilize them? Oh I know he has advocatedthe burning of gheto nieghborhoods? Has he invaded a nieghbor for "breahting room"? Is he a failed artist? Is he a brilliant orator? No.

so the comparison does not stand. He has suspended habeas corpus at least partially. This is bad. This also the only thing he has in common with hitler and few other folks in history. But why should that detract from perfectly good inflamatory image. You want to make a leader look like they are a monster, you compare him to hitler. It does not matter that in no way does he actually resemble Hitler politically. You march it out and there is a gut reaction.

Arthur Miller may have used the crucible as a metaphore for the McCarthy hearings. An apt one maybe. But he did not at any point in his play say he was burning people at the stake. He used an artistic medium as a to draw paralells sure but hey that is not the same reactionary politics we are talking about are we. Hell if someone did make a comparison with say facts or maybe just some good old subtelty I would say it is not so bad. But in the form I have seen it used lately it is niether accurate or even making a good point. It is almost the equivilent of calling him racist. You cant really support it but it get people in the gut I suppose. But it like so many shock tactics eventually wears off. And the person who used it begins to look bad.

One of the reasons Bush has been dropping in the polls is he has been playing the label and fear game for a while and people eventually get past it and recognize it for what it is.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 30th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
I thought we were discussing the practice of using an upsetting historical image to illustrate a point, and not whether this particular one was accurate. In this case perhaps an image of Mussolini would be more appropriate, since Bush's policies bear a much closer resemblance to Italian fascism than Nazi racial policy.

The Third Reich did share some ideas with this administration: paranoia, excessive power in the hands of the excutive branch, and an idea that patrotism should be imperialistic for starters. The Reich did not start out with gas ovens. German leaders slowly retracted right after right, and considered it the government's prerogative to spy on "enemies of the state" without due process. The point is not that Bush is just like Hitler, but that fascist regimes often begin by limiting rights in the name of patriotism and security, which is what the current administration is doing right now. This is not to say that our government is likely to establish an oppressive fascist regime tomorrow, but such comparisons can serve to warn us against the possible, worst-case-scenario consequences of such legislation.

I don't see what Miller's lack of burning scenes implies, but I could have just missed something there. I don't actually think Bush and Hitler have much in common. However, we should keep history firmly in mind and remain aware of the small encroachments that can lead to terrible outrages in the future - because, you know, things like that have gone there before.
pipistrella
Sep. 30th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
Sorry I posted this twice. I forgot to log in and I thought I caught it in time. :)
pipistrella
Sep. 30th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
I thought we were discussing the practice of using an upsetting historical image to illustrate a point, and not whether this particular one was accurate. In this case perhaps an image of Mussolini would be more appropriate, since Bush's policies bear a much closer resemblance to Italian fascism than Nazi racial policy.

The Third Reich did share some ideas with this administration: paranoia, excessive power in the hands of the excutive branch, and an idea that patrotism should be imperialistic for starters. The Reich did not start out with gas ovens. German leaders slowly retracted right after right, and considered it the government's prerogative to spy on "enemies of the state" without due process. The point is not that Bush is just like Hitler, but that fascist regimes often begin by limiting rights in the name of patriotism and security, which is what the current administration is doing right now. This is not to say that our government is likely to establish an oppressive fascist regime tomorrow, but such comparisons can serve to warn us against the possible, worst-case-scenario consequences of such legislation.

I don't see what Miller's lack of burning scenes implies, but I could have just missed something there. I don't actually think Bush and Hitler have much in common. However, we should keep history firmly in mind and remain aware of the small encroachments that can lead to terrible outrages in the future - because, you know, things like that have gone there before.
technoir
Oct. 1st, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
I will agree that history teaches us lessons. Comparrisons can be drawn in many places. The use of that particular comparrison is pretty emotionally charged and as you said he does not match it. The reason I pointed out the the lack of real comparrison to between the two was to point out if you are going to make a historical comparrison then back it up. Especially if it is so emotionally charged. As to the slow removal of rights and cetralizing the authority in germany started well before Hitler.

Here is another point and I am certain i will find those who disagree with me here, but I dont believe Bush has risen to a point of Facism. Do I disagree with him? Hell yes. Do I want the current legislation reversed? Hell yes. Do I want everyone out there pushing for a change? yep.

I just cant say he is evil or facist. I have seen misguided actions sure, but I dont see it as the sky is falling bad as people characterize it. It is bad. and it should be fixed, but people almost are to the level of treating it like the act of a comic book supervillain. The system can and will work if enough people really want change and work towards it.
pipistrella
Oct. 1st, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
Don't be ridiculous. Cheney is the supervillain.

I do rather think that condoning torture is evil. Perhaps these people are not truly evil, down in their bones. Perhaps they do not cackle and wring their hands and aim death rays at the populace, but they are certainly capable of evil actions.

Also - can we define Fascism for the sake of argument? What do you think Fascism is? I'm curious as to whether we're operating on the same definitions here.

Political cartoons are also expected to exaggerate these things. The image in question was, to me, a photoshop cartoon meant to draw attention to historical parallels. You might as well go ask Gary Trudeau to prove that the President plans on restoring the Roman Empire, because, you know, he put him in a Roman helmet. The point is to draw your attention to the fact that the President is acting like a conquerer, not to imply that he sacrifices to Mars. Oops! Trudeau also put a crown on Bush recently! We had better make sure Bush has planned a coronation! I'll grant you Nazis are rough material.

See what I mean? I figure Bush has got quite enough in common with Fascists to justify this image. Am I really frightened? Nope. I don't think all of this will last long, honestly. I do think we ought to make noise about it, though.

Goodness, I wish we had a virtual Waffle House in which to talk all this out! :)
technoir
Oct. 2nd, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
Re: and on and on....
as to a workable definition of Facism I will quote Wikipedia.

"Although the broadest definitions of fascism may include every authoritarian state that has ever existed, most theorists see important distinctions to be made. Fascism in Italy arose in the 1920s as a mixture of syndicalist notions with an anti-materialist theory of the state; the latter had already been linked to an extreme nationalism. Fascism in many ways seems to have been clearly developed as a reaction against Communism and Marxism, both in a philosophic and political sense, although it opposed democratic capitalist economics along with socialism, Marxism, and liberal democracy. It viewed the state as an organic entity in a positive light rather than as an institution designed to protect collective and individual rights, or as one that should be held in check. It tended to reject the Marxist notion of social classes and universally dismissed the concept of class conflict, replacing it instead with the struggle between races, and the struggle of the youth versus their elders. This meant embracing nationalism and mysticism, and advancing ideals of strength and power as means of legitimacy, glorifying war as an end in itself and victory as the determinant of truth and worthiness. An affinity to these ideas can be found in Social Darwinism. These ideas are in direct opposition to the ideals of humanism and rationalism characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment, from which liberalism and, later, Marxism would emerge.

Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic; in the examples given, by way of a strong, single-party government for enacting laws and a strong, sometimes brutal militia or police force for enforcing them. Fascism exalts the nation, state, or race as superior to the individuals, institutions, or groups composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, leading to a cult of personality and unquestioned obedience to orders (Führerprinzip). Hannah Arendt classed Italian fascism as an ordinary authoritarian ideology, and included only Stalinism and Nazism as totalitarians.[2]"

As to weather there were any items in that that the bush administration resembles, well there are a couple. But overall it hs not been any where that level of issue.

As to the humor issue. Well if it was presneted as humor then it is humor. Perhaps in poor taste but that is fine. But if it is presented as a part of say a impassioned plea to stand against the legislation then it is ill used and poor judegement. He does not resemble Hitler or even Mousalini. He has made made some mistakes to be sure. but if you are making a plea to get those mistakes changed you dont bandy terms like that around.I mean you can but it is dumb. People tune out the nutjobs usually. And that is what it appears as, the ravings of left wing wacko rather than a man(or woman) concerned about the changes going on. We hit the roof when the president or his men accuse us of being "unamerican", "Against the troops", or "supporting the terrorist." But people want to do the same because Bush did it first. That seems petty and lacking in any real style, substance or character.

I agree that I wish we were talking this over in a waffle house. I love a good debate.
pleroma
Sep. 29th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
The present political power in charge has been pushing an atmosphere of fear. When people are afraid, they will stand behind whatever will protect them from such fear, plus it helps such name-calling negativity flourish in otherwise normal conversations.
technoir
Sep. 29th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
agreed but I will say that does not mean we should resort to those tactics.
speaks
Sep. 29th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
Civil Discourse
When the other side does not listen, or even pretend to care, the shouting begins.

The Bush Administration, and Republican Panderers in the Congress, have shown nothing but contempt for the Constitution and the Civil Liberties of this Country. They have done serious damage to our economy (more debt incured by this president than by all other presidents combined). They have engaged in Cronyism and Corruption that has damaged our credibility and ability to function at the highest levels. (cf. Katrina)

Sometimes it takes a Two-By-Four to get the Mule to pay attention.
technoir
Sep. 29th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Civil Discourse
The person who resorts to yelling looses.
medicine_weasel
Sep. 30th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)
I tried to make a response to your claim that my assertations would be "hard to back up" but the post ended up being too long. I have therefore moved my response over to my own LJ. Feel free to drop by and check it out.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

technoir
TechNoir

Latest Month

February 2011
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728     
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Teresa Jones