Monday 8 January 2018
At the beginning of each year, I – like many others, I suspect – have an internal discussion in order to seek a greater understanding of what makes me tick. In the labyrinth of this debate I seek to understand how I could relate better to others and how I could be a little more persuasive without being a know all.
On my mind is 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, idealistic, political democrat, or commongoodist.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is how I see it.
This ‘common good’ principle is 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.
Thus far my attempts have gotten off to a terrible start. 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 just being sarcastic for the sake of it.
I get remarks like “your whole article is based on a wrong premise. You just make yourself look silly.”
When one inquires as to the basis of this assumption one is usually met with a similar line.
On a post about asylum seekers on Manus Island, John Livesley – a man who purports to be of the left – said the following. (He posts racist remarks on his Facebook page and later removes them. In fact he is probably not a real person).
“It’s just this typical demonising of people that makes me despair of left-wing politics. It is so ignorant and a useless commentary and a blatant insult to those people who voted for each member. John Lord has often made the point that personality assassination is a negative element in our political system, yet posts this rubbish. Many of us on the left believe that the asylum seekers in off shore centres should not be allowed into Australia. So why does Dutton, who is doing what the majority want,come in for such ridiculous abuse. Sticking to comments on policy will advance our cause more effectively.. asked him a number of times to explain what he meant but all I got was a continuation of “you make yourself look silly”.
This comment referred to my post about “Who is the biggest grub in the Coalition?” and the association between character and leadership.
Last year 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. Their ploy is to change the subject so as to argue on their terms.
The intent is just to play intellectual gymnastics with me but at my age I set a high bar that they are unable to jump. Maybe I am in Trump’s class of genius.
These of course are only two. On Facebook I have to deal with them every day. Fortunately at 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 only knows where.
Argument 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.