False Labeling Stifles Meaningful Debate

Discussion in 'Politics' started by QUENTIN, May 17, 2010.

  1. QUENTIN
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    QUENTIN VIP Member

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    I see a common pattern on this board and in general political discussion of dismissive labels being applied totally inaccurately to people and then used to ignore them or avoid debating more specific issues at hand.

    I've been labeled a rightwinger, wingnut, neocon, Republican, etc. when I criticize Obama and Democrats for escalating the occupation of Afghanistan, curtailing civil liberties, egregiously rebuking the rule of law, expanding executive power, colluding with powerful corporate interests against the public good on health care reform and the bailout, and general lack of transparency.

    I've also been labeled an Obamabot, wingnut, socialist, Democrat, etc. when I criticize Bush and Republicans for much of the same and even greater failures of foreign policy and domestic governance, curtailment of basic liberties and disastrous economics, and extreme secrecy in how it operated.

    I'm far from the only one I see this happen to, it's quite pervasive. Critique the Kagan pick, you're assumed to be a Tea Partier and your argument is dismissed by the members who identify with the "left" no matter how substantive. Critique Cheney's views on habeus corpus, you're assumed to be a true blue partisan and your argument is dismissed by the members who identify with the "right" no matter how substantive.

    I've never voted nor supported either national party or their candidates, I've actually actively opposed them my entire adult life, and I have to believe there are a fair amount of genuine independents on the board, despite the generally polarized and partisan makeup here, whose grievances cannot be conveniently packaged with the platform of any party or movement.

    I just want to bring it to general attention in the hopes that a couple people will read this and think twice before assuming the next person they disagree or agree with in a thread is automatically of a certain political persuasion, holds a variety of allegiances, and can be judged on a wide range of issues based on their opinion on a single and specific one.

    We'd all be better off and discussion here would be a lot more rewarding if people took a little extra time and care to actually debate the issue at hand and not jump to conclusions about agendas and broader political beliefs, labeling any opponent in order to dismiss all they say or insult them, but rather engaging them point-by-point. Obviously there are people here who are simply loyalist partisans of both parties, but a lot of other people are more complex and individualized and there could actually be merit to debate that isn't shoehorned into simplistic, polarized, and so often inaccurate "sides."

    *Steps off soap box*

    Thanks for listening.
     
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    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  2. Lonestar_logic
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    Lonestar_logic Republic of Texas

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    Sticks and stones........



    It obviously bothers you to be labeled. But for folks like me, it's water off a ducks back.
     
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  3. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    From now on, I shall describe myself as a 'far left Nazi right wing Neocon'.
     
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  4. QUENTIN
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    QUENTIN VIP Member

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    No, it's not a thin skin thing. It's not the labeling that bothers me, if someone labeled me remotely accurately and responded accordingly, fine. And I could care less about someone applying a label to me if that were the only result.

    My problem is the unwarranted dismissal that follows based on a rash misjudgment that, as I said, stifles meaningful debate.

    A valid point being disregarded because someone assumes I'm just stumping for Obama or Bush, when I vociferously criticize both and think they're terrible presidents, and only want to discuss the matter at hand not be forced to try and defend the fact that I'm no fan of either party and don't fit into whatever box they've put me in based on my opinion on one issue, is annoying and discourages substantive debate and the time and effort that requires.

    If someone just assumes you're part of some group they despise and they won't give what you say a fair shake as a result, what's the point of bothering to engage them?

    The idea that criticizing someone on the right must mean you're a leftist and criticizing someone on the left must mean you're a rightwinger, or the reverse for supporting an action taken by someone on those sides, promotes polarization and discussions that amount to little more than name-calling between boosters of different sports teams. It reduces the complex and interesting into the stupid and predictable and makes it hard for anyone to get anything meaningful out of conversations here. That applies to everyone since I've noticed it as a really common go-to reaction among a lot of people, not just towards me. I have to assume there are members here whose views can't be pigeonholed simply into party talking points, otherwise this place has no more value than Crossfire.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  5. Lonestar_logic
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    Lonestar_logic Republic of Texas

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    Those that are dismissive are so because they don't have the intellectual capacity to wage a decent argument. One of my faults is calling liberials stupid idiots, a label that aptly fits the majority of them, but in doing so I try not to dismiss valid points raised. Unfortunately rarely is a valid point raised.

    You have raised a valid concern that really goes to the heart of the matter, how can anyone engage in honest debate when they're not willing to listen to opposing views. I'm guilty of that at times myself. It's something we should work on
     
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  6. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    This is a good topic, and it should make posters think. I am guilty of this habit, I admit. Most of the reactionary religious and political far right seem to me to be mindless conbots issuing silly proclamations. I see people on the far left do this as well, but not nearly as much.

    I suggest that when a poster does that type of mindless, knee jerk labeling, that each of simply post, "No need to respond to mindless labeling", and go on with the discussion.
     
  7. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    Oh gawd. Not another Obama/Bushbot!

    That's just human nature.

    BTW, love the TruthMatters quote in your sig line! :lol:
     
  8. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    The problem is the right really does believe that the president is a Marxist, communist, socialist who wants to take away your guns and destroy America.

    How do you talk rationally to irrational people?
     
  9. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Not all of the right is like that, but enough are to make discussions with them pitiful and annoying at times.
     
  10. Sherry
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    Sherry You're not the boss of me Supporting Member

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    I know what you mean, but on a large message board like this, I've found plenty of people to actively engage with in a decent debate. The rest just provide a source of amusement.
     

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