“Those flaming assholes!” Is that an inflammatory remark? Are you thinking perhaps that I am going to talk about asshole consciousness or how to turn your colon into an exclamation mark? The healthiest way to take a shit? NO!
This is what I think to myself when I read certain comments or posts on various “social networking” sites. For example, “God hates Fags,” the doctrine taught by the Westboro Baptist Church under the ministry of Fred Phelps. ( www.godhatesfags.com ) and the outright lies perpetrated against Obama and health care. I choose to write about these here, as there is not enough room on those sites to adequately accommodate my thoughts. And I will not discuss these topics per se, but rather why we have this huge divisive gulf between Americans.
It is the nature of discussing, arguing, dialoguing that creates the schisms. I have publicly invited people who identify as conservatives to engage in discourse with me, provided they understand the basics of debate, and that they are intelligent and civil. I have had no takers.
It is only when I hear or read comments that have no basis in fact, or derive from generalizations which are false, that I am left with no recourse except to say to myself “flaming asshole!” I do not like it when I find myself so disgusted that I resort to that phrase. I keep reminding myself, “we are all divine, we are all divine,” but sorry, it is not working. If I have any great fault it is that I am obsessed with logic, insistent on it use. When logic is not in play during a discussion, I am relegated to using that knee-jerk phrase.
Where is William F. Buckley or his kind? Are they ALL dead? At least Buckley, the conservative’s conservative, could debate an issue without using inflammatory language, understood and adhered to the rules of debate, and was an intellect whose mind had room for opposing views and, arrogant egotist that he seemed, was actually egoless enough to admit when he was wrong or the opposition had “scored” a point.
I may be generalizing, but most conservatives today seem to get their talking points from sound bites off Fox news. They cannot argue intelligently or civilly beyond the sound bite or what they have been told by questionable authorities to be the truth. They will stick to their guns even after the holster has dropped around their ankles! Or, like Glenn Beck, resort to a chalk board and starting with a false generalization, use circular reasoning to so confuse his audience that they believe the conclusions he has drawn, though they be no more valid than a kindergartner doodling randomly. Now he is the perfect example of a “flaming asshole!” I challenge him to a formal debate.
Progressives on the other hand, are too nice. They are too willing to hear other points of view. Therefore they are (wrongly) seen as weak, when I think perhaps the problem is they are merely more intelligent and better educated.
I went to a small high school in a very small town in Florida. My graduating class numbered 110. It was a public school. Yet the curriculum offered Greek, Latin, Logic, Debate, Advanced English and Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and a variety of Art and Music classes. Can we even say that today about public schools, even those in upscale school districts? How about private schools?
How many of you know the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning? How many of you know what a syllogism is (too many sites to link… google it!) and how to use syllogistic reasoning to arrive at a valid conclusion? How many of you were on a debate team and know the rules of debate: Resolved that__________________?
How many conservatives would allow an impartial panel of judges to award points based on a true debate of an issue and abide by the outcome? I dare say very few. But I also believe progressives would submit to the ruling of an impartial panel. Once again, if they did so, they would be perceived as weak, rather than simply civil… and mature. It does take a degree of maturity to admit mistakes or that your premise was entirely wrong. It takes balls. Conservatives do not seem to have any!
Once again, I invite any conservative to debate me on any issue. If I am not fully knowledgeable on the issue, I will try to become so. But I will only debate someone who understands the rules of debate, the tenets of Logic and the principles of deductive, syllogistic reasoning.
Is there anyone out there who will engage in such a debate publicly (on this blog or wherever you’d like?) I am eager to diminish the differences between us. I long for discourse with someone who is willing to be truly objective. I want us to end this so very unproductive, constant, hateful bickering that is tearing our society to pieces. Please, debate me! Don’t throw epithets at me. When you are not open to sincere, civil discourse, I am left with no recourse except to say to myself, “flaming asshole!”
Shall we start?