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Civility in the US political discourse and identity politics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Arthellion, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    I am a firm believer that if there was any better proof that god truly never existed, it's that if he did, there would have been another great flood reset a long time ago.
     
  2. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    God doesn't have to do a planetary reset. We'll do that ourselves when we render this planet uninhabitable to human life.
     
  3. darklordmike

    darklordmike Order Member

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    I wouldn't say she dislikes the people so much as she doesn't want more of them to move to her town. For context, she knows a few families of Somalian refugees through her church. How close she is to the families I have no idea, but she's not opposed to their presence in her church and she claims to like them. The issue came up in conversation because her church was doing something to invite more Somalians to settle nearby, and she didn't like the idea because it would change the culture of the town. She wants to help them from a distance basically. She doesn't hate them or think them inferior. She just thinks they don't belong in America.

    It's difficult for me to approach the subject without implying that she's a racist and making things way more than uncomfortable within the family. 'Bless your heart, auntie, but you're a racist, and here's why' simply won't work.
     
  4. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    First off, let me say thank you as well for how you conducted yourself in this argument. I only engaged with you in the first place off the basis that you seemed to genuinely want a good faith argument. This was a conversation that was valuable for me as well. It's rare that one gets the opportunity to have such an argument, and even rarer that it ends amicably. I am genuinely impressed by your ability to reason through what I have said, and accept where you are wrong. This is not something that is easy to do, and I think many here would do well to learn from you on this (I'm really trying not to be patronising and condescending here, but I think I'm failing...).

    I absolutely respect your faith, and your belief in god. I will never try to contest you on this.

    However, I do still need to contest your assertion that the existence of God is self evident to those with the eyes to see. This is inherently fallacious, as for something to be self evident, it must be self evident to all.

    There are really only two axioms that are self evident. The first is Descartes "I think therefore I am". Basically, only your own existence is beyond all doubt, anything else could be, in his words, a hallucination caused by an evil demon.

    The second is that 'a finite whole is greater than, or equal to, any of its parts'. This is inherently conceptual and of limited practical use.

    Any human being will accept these two statements as true, without any proof required. Anything else can be doubted (I'm not a skeptic, I think we can know far more than just these things, but I think we need to be able to show evidence for our beliefs).

    In order to objectively state that God exists, you must demonstrate evidence for this fact. Your thought experiment is not valid, there are many ways for a blind man to accept the suns existence, such as its warmth. The existence of life on this planet etc etc. There is nothing that God conveys upon his believers that separates them from other men, that can directly be attributed to his existence. Remember, causation is extremely difficult to prove. Correlation on the other hand, is not.

    Your assertion that he is self evident to those with the eyes to see, is an incredibly dangerous one. As it sounds like you are claiming those who believe God to be a different race, apart from those who do not. As if you posses something that other humans do not. This is an excellent way to segregate and dehumanise those who do not share your beliefs (perhaps you will not do this, but others who are less literal than you are might).

    I have two suggestions that may help alleviate some of the logical problems in your worldview.

    1) View God's teachings as principles that are dependant on context. As I've argued, there are times when kindness is not the panacea to all of the worlds evils. The same can be said for the others. This does not take away from the value of religious teachings. I may not believe that God exists, but I certainly agree with most of the teachings contained in the bible. I may not believe in God's existence, but I find myself agreeing with and following most of the principles that are taught regardless. I genuinely believe that there is true beauty in religion, but that beauty is tarnished when people attempt to follow the teachings objectively.

    In this sense, I question your assertions here. You claim to make no judgements on yourself, except for your intention. Yet clearly here you make judgements based on outcomes. Unless you claim to know the intentions of every individual? There are many atrocities that have been committed by men following Church doctrine with the best of intentions. How do you judge these episodes? Are they different to atrocities committed by men with bad intentions who also follow the Church?

    2) If you must hold to an objective viewpoint, and interpret scripture literally as objective truth. Then I would request that you be honest about this in your arguments. Don't try to hide the fact behind the veneer of your academic education. This is fundamentally dishonest. And I believe against the teachings in your scripture.

    You have said that you do not wish to debate beliefs/values. I am happy to let this conversation go if you so wish. I do think we've reached a natural end point here. Once again, I commend the way you have engaged here. In general, I believe that we agree on far more things than we disagree on. This is the nature of compromise, that which has been lost.
     
  5. darklordmike

    darklordmike Order Member

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    To shift gears away from religion for a moment, I'm wondering about everyone's experiences with talking to conservatives about climate change. Very few (that I've encountered) think it's a real problem. I usually get one of two responses:

    (1) Apathy. 'It's not really something I can do anything about,' or 'We can't do anything about it without wrecking our entire society.' Those come from otherwise sane people who just want to carry on with their lives and pretend that everything is fine.

    (2) Suspicion. 'The jury is still out on the science,' or 'climate science is a conspiracy of secular atheists.' The former comes from wealthy or middle-class types who don't want any trouble with their 401k. The latter comes from evangelical Christians who view anything scientific with suspicion because it is part of secular society and therefore influenced by the Devil. I shit you not, the last time I attended church with my parents (about three years ago), that was the theme of the sermon in a mainstream Southern Baptist church. The guy even said that if climate change is real, it should be embraced as God's will and a sign of Jesus' imminent return.

    It's easier to stay civil with people when discussing climate change, because they don't tend to see it as something viscerally personal. It still feels impossible to change their minds.
     
  6. Agayek

    Agayek Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

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    The responses I get tend to run along the lines of "Tell that to China and India. We're a drop in the bucket compared to their emissions, and they're certainly not doing anything about it", with a side order of "Do you have any idea what that would do to prices?".

    The underlying thesis in the circles I move in isn't denial that it's happening, but more that addressing it means putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage, economically and militarily, to nations that ignore it, and that as a result, it's not something we should do unless/until they do it first.
     
  7. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    There are two flavors, in my experience. One is denial. The other is that correcting the problem isn't worth it, and some form of selfish "I'll be dead by then, anyway."
     
  8. Innomine

    Innomine Headmaster ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'll admit my own privilege here. I don't really know anyone that denies that climate change is a thing. The most I'll hear is people questioning how we can know what we know. Day to day life, I live in the academic world in a research institute which works on this problem from a bunch of different angles.

    I'll get some family members who will question the extent of the problem, and certainly repeat some of the usual right wing talking points. But no one really seriously tries to convince me that it aint a thing.

    This is on a personal level. Professional is different.
     
  9. Solfege

    Solfege Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    EGstiA4UwAACPZ9.jpeg
     
  10. Dirty Puzzle

    Dirty Puzzle DA Member DLP Supporter

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    I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread, but depending on who you talk to, you very well might be able to get somewhat "uncivil" (for lack of a better term) and it's fine. I argue with my older brother all the time, and we've gotten to the point of pretty loud arguments/very close to yelling, but ultimately both of us are comfortable and used to arguments getting there. And to be clear, he's a bigoted asshole that I hate. Does he know that I hate him? No, but he doesn't know that because I'm not out to any of my bigoted family.

    Actually that's another good point. I can argue with bigots (typically of the white cishet variety) all day and night, and we can actually get somewhere if I don't say that I'm LGBT+ or anything like that. If we're talking about race, the convo inevitably goes way better I'm sure when I'm on the other end than if a POC is. The see it as you actually being their equal/on equal footing, and it changes the dynamic of the debate completely. Which isn't surprising, but that plays into being civil too. I can literally watch people's attitudes and levels of respect shift in real time when I say, "Oh, well I'm LGBT+. That's where this is coming from." You've immediately lost footing and it's likely the debate will spiral from there.

    That's my biggest thing against civility in practice. If you're talking to someone even mildly bigoted, if you reveal (or in the case of race, just exist) that you're a part of a minority group they're bigoted against, you've lost the high ground, so to speak. By definition, they think you're lesser, even if subconsciously, and it shows immediately in how the debate does or doesn't progress.
     
  11. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

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    My brother isn't even a bigot but we sometimes get into loud, angry arguments about various things like gun rights and abortion and such. Having a heated argument isn't necessarily a bad thing. People naturally get passionate about politics, especially when their rights are on the line. The only thing that matters is that the uncivil discourse stays civil (pun intended) and doesn't break out into violence.
     
  12. thejabber27

    thejabber27 Seventh Year

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    Gun rights are just an odd thing, most people I've talked to that own guns do agree that things people that have certain mental illnesses, violent criminal records, and that all non-antique guns (i.e over 100 years old) should be registered and that people should go through background checks. In fact, most of them agree that it's not all just personal responsibility and there should be some action by the government to put laws in place to better effect those. But the gun lobby seems to kill them all. My main thought is that this is because they'd eat into profits? But I don't know how much they sell consumer vs. military.

    It all seems to fall apart when instead of talking about people you talk about guns i.e. we're not targeting a group that there is a general consensus that shouldn't have guns but that there are certain guns or gun accessories that all people shouldn't have. This seems to be an attack on them as they consider themselves (and often are) responsible gun owners and that a few bad apples shouldn't mean everyone gets punished. The problem (as I see it, so grain of salt) is not the number of people that have abused guns (whether in mass shootings or gang violence or homicides) is that people displace themselves from the crimes because they're not directly affecting their life and that it's in a different community which while American are still in the group of "others" because they're far away enough that it can be hard for people to conceptualise it happening to them or in their community.

    Whether that's because they're in a group of "responsible" gun owners or a broader denial or good guy with gun will stop them or something else, I don't know. But until there is something that breaks these types of thoughts and the vice grip that the gun lobby has on the congress and senate we're never going to get anything substantive done.

    /end rant
     
  13. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony ~ Prestige ~

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    I think part of the issue is also the siege mentality that's developed among gun rights activists. The idea that the Second Amendment is constantly under attack, and any concession or compromise will just be seen as a sign of weakness that will encourage The Enemy to press even harder for their endgame of a total gun ban.

    And while I think the siege mentality is pretty toxic, I also think that with polarized US politics have gotten they're probably not wrong to think that in the current climate there's no way to hammer out a compromise that would more-or-less put the issue to rest. Any attempt at a middle-of-the-road common sense solution would get hammered from both sides for going too far/not going far enough. Compromise won't happen until the issue de-escalates, and I don't really see that happening anytime soon.
     
  14. Wildfeather

    Wildfeather The Nidokaiser ~ Prestige ~

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    I don't know any pro-gun people who favor mandatory registration. You must live in a state where registration is already instituted @thejabber27. That's generally how pro-gun people think it works, a gun control law gets passed, people normalize to it, and then another gun control law is suggested.

    In Florida we don't have gun registration. And if there were gun laws passed that required me to register, I'd almost certainly lose my guns in a boating accident. Lots of people I know are the same way.

    I don't know if it's fair to call the 'siege mentality' of pro-gun advocates toxic, since it's based in reality. There are approximately 1,000 total concealed carry permits issued in the entire state of New Jersey, which has a population of almost 9 million people. Florida has 21 million people and almost 2 million concealed carry permits issued. I'm sure people in NJ just have no interest in carrying their guns, right?

    But also, making the distinction between registering any gun over 100 years and a gun from today is stupid. The Barletta model 1915 is absolutely capable of killing people just as effectively as a glock 19.
     
  15. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony ~ Prestige ~

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    Not to mention the 1911 is still one of the most popular pistols around.
     
  16. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Folks, there is a thread for firearms discussions...
     
  17. Wildfeather

    Wildfeather The Nidokaiser ~ Prestige ~

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    Yes there is. It is also dead. Additionally, when in a discussion about civility in political discussion, someone called the 'siege mindset' of pro-gun advocates toxic. Considering that a thing being "toxic" or "not toxic" isn't really an arguable point, it's exactly the kind of position that this thread was actively trying to highlight as being pointless in the context of political discourse. The point was not to begin the gun control argument in a new thread, but to point out that the 'siege mentality' of pro-gun activists didn't appear in a vacuum but because of their interpretation of the history of gun control in the US.
     
  18. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    I got insta-banned for a week once for asking "What can be done" after another mass shooting. That thread was dead then too. Go ahead and revive it.
     
  19. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I think that gun control is actually a good example of the problem. You can present all the facts and reasoned arguments in the world, but the other side will never accept them. A gun control advocate can reel off numbers of gun related suicides, death figures for mass shootings, numbers of injuries from accidental discharges etc, but the guy who wants to own his guns because he likes his guns doesn't care about any of that. Likewise, the pro-gun advocate can point out the number of responsible gun owners, the number of people who save their own lives by having access to a weapon when they need it etc. And the gun control advocate won't care about that. Both sides are simply too entrenched, and the only thing that changes their minds is emotional arguments like "What if it was your kids school" etc. That sort of argument is, of course, immediately labelled as crass, rude, etc. But its the only one that has any chance of working.

    The same is true of any number of prominent issues. Abortion. Education. Climate Change. Women's rights/rape culture. Racism. Facts have ceased to matter to a lot of people.
     
  20. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    So, if you have a substantive discussion to contribute, necro it. You know the rules.
     
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