Saturday 7 January 2017
At the beginning of each year I have a discussion with my grandchildren to address ways in with they can improve themselves. I don’t exclude myself from this yearly ritual more commonly known as New Year’s resolutions.
On my mind was to try to seek a greater understanding of those who differ in philosophical political thought to me. I am what I self-describe as an empathic political democrat or commongoodist. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs is how I see it.
It’s something you are more likely to find on the left of politics than the right. After all the right seek to serve those who have, whereas the left seek to serve those who have not.
I haven’t gotten off to a very good start with it, the resolution. You see I find it hard to understand why it is when commenting on something someone has written, just why they need to wander off in a different direction by changing the subject or being sarcastic for the sake of it.
Here is an example from Facebook.
I wrote a piece for The AIMN titled The Trump Report No 4.
Michael Carter wrote “your whole article is based on a wrong premise. You just make yourself look silly”.
I asked him a number of times to explain what he meant but all I got was a continuation of “you make yourself look silly” in the most sarcastic way.
Then on Thursday of this week on this blog we had some rather thoughtless comments from Mark Delmege who was of the view that I should be writing about his chosen subject rather than mine which was Donald Trump. He thought I should be writing about the Obama administration. Undeterred he ignored me and began his own conversation. Anyway the thing got somewhat out of hand and our editor was forced to block him.
At the time I was at the movies watching La La Land and when I got home and read his comments I thought there must be some correlation between the two.
But in all seriousness I often wonder if technology and social media has just opened a pathway for nutters like these two to opine their drivel.
In the first instance Michael Carter didn’t have one iota of interest in the subject. His intent was just to play intellectual gymnastics with me but at my age I set a high bar that he was unable to jump.
These of course are only two. On Facebook I have to deal with them every day. Fortunately on The AIMN we seen to have gathered some excellent, what I shall call, professional analysis experts. People who offer encouragement but are at the same time are prepared to critique in a way that is objective and considered. Importantly they call a spade a spade with an eye always on the manners of discourse. If they don’t, they are tolerated to a point, and then dispatched to God knows where.
Arguments can break out at any moment on any post and it can be lively.
Often I find that people’s opinions are based on their feelings or values rather than any understanding of the subject and the difficulty is in separating the two. Or often they place their feelings before the facts or just choose to ignore them altogether.
So it is rather difficult trying to understand the other person’s point of view when you are confronted with the aforementioned examples.
“There’s nothing like the certainty of a closed mind”.
In the case of Mark Delmege his only intention was to hijack the discussion. Unfortunately for him his anger in not being able to do so was confronted by some astute minds who well and truly put him in his place.
So my new year’s resolution is of to a bad start because, well to tell you the truth,I don’t mind people having a different opinion to me but I do get annoyed when they create their own facts to support their view. Or with an empty head.
Plus of course when you have been following politics for as long as I have the pub test as we call it is sometimes more conducive to the truth than other forms of judgement. Like the drivel from a conservative journalist or the ratbag commentator on this blog or in the media.
My thought for the day.
“We can learn so much from people we disagree with that it is a wonder we don’t do it more often”.
Footnote. I’m not sure I believe that anymore.
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