Monday, July 28, 2008

Does calling a spade a spade dig your own hole?

Amid a blogosphere brimful of bickering and a polis rife with passions, Burgess Laughlin comes out on his own blog in favour of ... reasoned debate!  What on earth?

    In the last few years, I have frequently examined many advocacy websites. One of my purposes was to identify the manner in which the authors made their points. In some weblogs, one element of style stands out: insults to opponents. These writers call their opponents names such as: nutbars, nutjobs, morons, cowards, idiots, goat herders, ragheads, and scum. They also use adjectives such as: moronic, idiotic, stupid, nuts, crazy, loony, insane, delusional, and childish.

I plead guilty.  Meanwhile, Laughlin continues.

    Why do these writers [ie., me] use insults? Judging from their statements of purpose and the contents of their weblogs, these writers want the world around them to adopt certain views. Do these writers think that insulting their opponents will persuade their opponents to revise their values? I am not sure of the answer. I have only a "working hypothesis."?"

Answering for myself, I have two answers:

  1. Colour.
  2. Calling a spade a spade.

We're not having a debate in a university lunch room here.  If I can entertain, inform and enlighten by using reason and emotion, then all the better for both my readership and my advocacy.

What say you, dear readers?

[Hat tip Objectivist Carnival at Rational Jenn's]

7 Comments:

Blogger KG said...

I love the passion and fire of debate in blogs--and it's hardly so different from sitting across from a friend at a dinner party and calling them a "bloody fool" during a discussion, is it?
Table-thumping arguments have their place.

7/28/2008 11:54:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

It's true that I have a weakness for an insult. There's something profoundly honest & satisfying in calling a fuckwit a fuckwit. ;)

7/28/2008 12:14:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

(Shrug) The Net is almost totally free; that means it picks up pretty well all the opinion whether extreme or not. In that regard it has it's own balance.. if that's what you are looking for.

JC

7/28/2008 12:55:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

If some fool is presenting opinion devoid of rational, logical content and fact then let at him. Identify him as what he is and call 'em something bad. Give them a good lick of pain.

On the other hand, when someone presents some good material and raises some interesting points or asks intelligent questions, that deserves a different response entirely.

LGM
LGM

7/28/2008 01:23:00 pm  
Blogger Ruth said...

Do these writers think that insulting their opponents will persuade their opponents to revise their values? I am not sure of the answer.

I'm sure he knows the answer to that.

He just needs to look at the failure of Objectivism to 'take off' as an example.

Insulting one's opponents doesn't win hearts and minds in real life, even though it is good fun in the blogosphere.

7/28/2008 05:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean said...

But is correctly indentifing the nature of your opponants actually insulting them?

Is it insulting to point out that grass is green etc?

If people advocate evil, shouldn't one point this out?

7/28/2008 05:06:00 pm  
Anonymous James said...

But is correctly indentifing the nature of your opponants actually insulting them?

Is it insulting to point out that grass is green etc?

If people advocate evil, shouldn't one point this out?"

Yes....but not as Objectivists are so prone to doing....by assuming the person is a KNOWING advocate of evil and fully aware of the consequences of their views if implemented in reality.

I would suggest most people we disagree with are short range thinkers who haven't reached the realisation of what it is they are really advocating for and a restrained, measured and persusive engagement are more in order when first encountering them.If its established the person IS in full awareness of what will result from their beliefs then fry him by all means!

7/28/2008 09:30:00 pm  

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