Thursday, July 21, 2011

Demonizing those of dissenting opinion.

In the movie "A Knight's Tale", Jeffrey Chaucer said:
I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.
One of my hobbies, is playing chess. I play fairly regularly on the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) at the following website:

One of the services provided (all free of course, hence the "free" part of the name) is various chat channels that one can enter, while playing chess, waiting for a game, or just to say hi to friends or engage in conversation. One such channel, is the political chat channel (Ch. 39). There of course exists a broad spectrum of political leanings and ideologies in that channel and sadly, a few individuals that are unable to accept differing opinions, discussion of facts, and who resort to the traditional tactics when confronted with a view not similar to their own.

These of course being name calling, throwing around labels (such as "Fascist", "Neo-Con", or a new one to me "Tea, Klux, Klan") and of course my personal favorite "I'm adding you to my censor list" (a feature which lets you no longer see the chat from the offending candidate, but in this case, it amounts to nothing more than plugging your ears and yelling "LA LA LA LA" over and over).

One can imagine the types that come out of the woodwork, in an environment filled with type-A personality, over-educated chess players (or those that think a little too highly of themselves than they ought to) in a chat room where most feel that using large words in rapid succession amounts to knowledge and a proven point.

I decided to blog this today, after being the recipient of a few choice insults and slurs, not so much because it irritates me when people resort to this tactic, but also because it appears that people have resorted to using the word of the day, applicable or not, and apply this label to all those who disagree with their enlightened opinions. Many use Fascist, Nazi, Socialist, and racist, because everyone else around them does too, so it just seems natural to follow along and hey, safety in numbers...

First, we were in a discussion on the economy and one leftist (his handle is "Jones") was of the opinion that our government should return to the 1950'ish tax rates of 90% on the richest Americans (who Obama refers to as "those making over $250,000/year). He argued that it worked when FDR did it, and redistributed the wealth to the rest of the population, and therefore, if it worked then, it will work now. It was civil at first; I pointed out that regardless of the intent behind it, taking another persons wealth and giving it to someone else, amounts to Robin Hood economics, and that any government that sets that precedent of taking from the haves and giving to the have nots, could later apply it to those of us who don't have quite as much, and giving to those who have almost enough... not a power I want my government to have.

He is of the misguided opinion that our national debt is ONLY $14 Trillion (all blamed on Bush of course) and that the true number of more than $70 Trillion, in total unfunded liabilities is, how did he put it? Ah, right... "BS". I didn't have a chance at this point, to point out that the Debt was already $5 Trillion when Bush took office, and that in eight years, he raised it to $10 Trillion, an average gain of $625 Billion/year during his presidency. I didn't have a chance to say Obama raised it almost $4 Trillion in TWO YEARS, an increase of $2 Trillion/year, or to point out that a huge chunk of Bush's increased debt (almost half) was during the last two years of his presidency under a Democratic super-majority in the House and Senate.

"BS"... That was his response, his retort, and the beginning of his descent into intellectual oblivion. At this point, most would expect, in a civil conversation, to cite references and sources, you know, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" so to speak. If only one could be so fortunate...

As I sat there typing in my references to America's true debt/liability, in an attempt to explain that the true number is greater than the planet's GDP, and that his proposed taxrate on the wealthy of 90% would only yield around $880 Billion per year, still leaving roughly $1.2 Trillion deficit just this year alone, I was called a "retard" and an "idiot". He then called me a "racist" who wants to return to the 1920's depression economy in order to destroy civil rights... Can you imagine that? He doesn't know me, does not know my background, my ethnicity, absolutely nothing about me, but somehow feels justified in playing the "racist" card.

A little background... My step-father is black. I have 4 brothers and sisters who are half-black, a brother who is half-latino, I took my step-father's last name, as he is the only father I ever knew. But back on topic...

Anyways, this little punk, after inappropriately throwing out some fairly serious accusations, including the new one of "Tea, Klux, Klan'er" announces to the channel that he is done talking to me (again... "LA LA LA LA I can't hear you LA LA LA LA) and that he has added me to his censor list.

Slander, counter-point responded to with name calling, and dissenting opinion with censorship. These are time-proven methods which make the weak minded among us, feel better in their blanket of ideological superiority, wrapped head to foot in the warm blanket of bliss that is ignorance.

I felt compelled to add "Jones" to my censor list as well, as he was spamming my screen with irrelevant socialist garbage, the likes of which would bring a happy tear to Karl Marx' eye. If I couldn't respond to him, there was no point in watching his ongoing banter, so after adding him to my censor list, the channel was quiet for several minutes.

The next genius, someone who I have never seen in the channel, in the years I have been in it, suddenly feels the need to chime in on the previous discussion between me and Jones. This person (we'll call him "Ritzel") sends a full paragraph directed at me personally, using some big words that were not at all appropriate in the context they were used (I think it made him feel smarter) but which culminated with him calling me a NAZI and a FASCIST!!!

So while I have been in channel, talking about massive cuts to spending and our government being to large, and needing to be signficantly downsized, he resorts to another label that means almost the exact opposite of what I have been promoting.

That link, defines fascism as:
"a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism."
Seriously? This is the insult, the label, that this individual could come up with? Whatever happened to the good old days of someone calling you a name, and you having to stop and say "Wow, good one, got me there"?
"a unique variety of fascism that incorporated biological racism and antisemitism. Nazism presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies..."
Further down in the article:
"The self-identification term, used by exponents of the ideology past and present is National Socialism and adherents describe themselves as National Socialists."
So Nazi, or "National Socialism" is a form of "Fascism" which we saw above, promotes a strong central government with the power to do whatever it wants essentially (the essence of dictatorship) with incorporated racism (a slur applied to me, somehow justified by its user as applicable in a debate on national debt and taxation) formed of philosophies from BOTH the left and right...

So what is socialism?

"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles."
So basically, what my two opponents above were arguing in favor of... take from the rich and redistribute to everyone else, with the full power and force of a government strong enough to do it.
I would go so far as to say that these two individuals are everything they accused me of and more. The trend in debates among the rapidly polarized population today, is to resort to this sort of tactic. Whenever someone disagrees with you, villify them, demonize them, call them a racist, a nazi, a fascist, even if the terms you are using more accurately describe your own viewpoints, use them on your opponent first, because they sound really evil, and no one likes evil! Of course, if your opponent uses them on you, which sadly, some conservatives do, even though they may actually be accurate in this case, they start accusing the conservative of name-calling, etc... even though they just did it to. What a world we live in.

I was naked for a day, you will be naked for eternity...

1 comment:

  1. Good post! You are a recipient of the famous logical fallacy: the "ad hominem" attack. I, too, find the discourse these days to be fraught with irrationality. I believe that it's because of the "true believer" mentality, that our educational system has not prevented, but allowed to blossom. Look up "cognitive dissonance." Better luck in your next encounter!