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Day to day politics: Why do they make fools of themselves?

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.

An observation.

“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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  1. Jerry

    John please don’t call it the Pub test. I think this terms emanates from the mouths of Allan Jones and little Johnny Howard. How about calling it the man in the street or woman?

  2. Terry2

    Not so much a new years’ resolution as an ongoing commitment to speak out on the illegal and deplorable treatment of those in offshore detention.

    This from a detainee on Manus Island illustrates how he and we sometimes feel that nobody is listening and that nobody cares.

    Karam Zahirian (ID: FRT024), 31, Iran “I feel that it’s hard for me to imagine that one day I’ll leave this island because I don’t feel like a human being like other people. In Iran I had problems, but it was better than here on Manus. I don’t feel like a normal human being because I don’t have any power, because I feel like I can’t ever say something and have people listen to me. For more than three years, nobody has heard my voice or my story. I am not important to others.”

  3. roma guerin

    Dear John, please don’t change. I am sorry you have to put up with the nonsense that you receive

  4. helvityni

    “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”.

    Reading posts on some sites, one wonders what happened to civility.

    On my early days of blogging , someone advised me: H, you got to learn the art of sledging, niceness is not going to get you anywhere. I did not know it was about me.. 🙂

    Better advise came from someone else: Don’t give oxygen to trolls, without getting the attention they crave, they’ll disappear…

  5. Deanna Jones

    John, there is also a serious personality clash going on in that thread.

  6. king1394

    Some people are so fixed in their mindsets that should an alternate viewpoint get through, they have to do whatever they can to shut it down. When attacked by trolls or subjected to rude and ‘silly’ responses, or when someone is hijacking your argument, I believe that it shows you actually may have got your point through. They react this way because they dare not even consider that point and will do anything to make their own doubt go away. So I think this is why you sometimes see such responses.

  7. helvityni

    Yes, Deanna, a bit of one-manship raising it’s ugly head. not usually on John Lord’s threads though.

  8. Keitha Granville

    One’s mind when reading good blogs or commentary learns to sort out the rubbish. It is an easy thing to just trash a point of view, a rather more difficult one to formulate a good response about your side of the debate. I think maybe some people are taking notes from Hanson et al who just make things up to suit their agenda. They rather remind me of Henny Penny – the sky is falling – once they have people listen to that then they have a chance to push their own ideas further. There is no point in trying to educate and bring them round to your side, they are not ineterested in moving.
    I am always impressed with the succint way AIMN writers manage to defuse trolls and other nonsense commentators.

  9. wam

    Lord. I read your number 4 ‘impending disaster’ and was glad you didn’t judge.
    Surely, Mark has the skill of a rabbott, as described by Albo’s NO! NO! NO!
    His posts screant his opposition to your opinion on trump. When we remember his open letter article (dec 4), your assumptions in 4 would cause some ‘write rage’ in him’.

    To learn requires listening.
    Sadly, in today’s world, listening has become ‘hearing’ till a trigger word then preparing your attack. The ABC women are very good at such a technique(the men are bleah, except uhlmann who makes no secret of his allegiances) and labor is excellent a giving them practice.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    “Footnote. I’m not sure I believe that anymore.” Maybe refinement is needed. Can cope with debate where there is disagreement. Not necessary with disagreeable people.

  11. Steve Laing -

    Regarding your comment, there is a fabulous quote from Scotch whisky maker and businessman, Thomas Dewar – “Minds are like parachutes; they only function when they’re open.”

    Facebook had the potential to be a real forum for debate, but unfortunately it has quickly returned to its original intention – a way for its owners to make money. Yeah but, no but.

  12. MichaelW

    Mmm, new years resolutions, I had three, the first one: stop reading listening or watching the news, especially political news, this I thought would calm me down to enable my other two resolutions, cut down drinking and giving up smoking. Unfortunately I failed miserably at the first one, leading to a complete failure of the other two. Maybe a change of government would help…

    As for Mark Delmege I’m sure he would be and is welcome to post his comments at the Mudrake press, especially the Daily Telelaugh.

  13. MichaelW

    Congratulations to the coalition appointing ex Murdoch employees to the ABC Management/Board. Just watched the news, not one word about Ley, or Centrelink.

    Can’t wait to watch Q&A…..

  14. olddavey

    John, as Jerry said,
    “John please don’t call it the Pub test”
    People like Howard wouldn’t know what it was like inside a pub, and the closest Anal Jones would get would be the dunny, which in the old days would have got him arrested.

  15. Kim Southwood

    John, I think your New Year’s resolution was never put to the test by the two detractors you mention. They offered no “philosophical political thought” for you to engage in understanding. They did offer cowardly invective devoid of much thought at all beyond chucking a bully’s wrecking ball at a well-argued opinion on an issue of some considerable relevance in world politics.

  16. Jexpat

    John wrote: <i: I often wonder if technology and social media has just opened a pathway for nutters like these two to opine their drivel.

    Well, in your cited column, Trump Report 4 and previously under a general AIMN post (which you didn’t acknowledge) you re-published someone who’s made false demonstrably statements, purported to be fact -and also had a nasty go (ugly opined drivel) at progressives.

    Yet, here you are whinging about social media and “nutters?” Dealing with _____ (fill in the blank) on facebook? And saying: ” 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?”

    Mate, I’m sorry to have to say this: but my thoughts for 2017 are you need to take a long look in the mirror.

    And perhaps, reconsider doing the facebook thing.

  17. etnorb

    Just keep up ALL your good work John! Love all your items, as I do almost all the rest as well!

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