Monday, June 10, 2013

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Debate Topic: Contraception

Progressives: Should be free and available. People should have ability to make choices about their bodies and family.

Libertarians: Shouldn't be regulated by government. Let the markets decide.

Former Conservatives (ie Willam F Buckley): Women and men should have the ability to make choices about their own life and government shouldn't interfere.

Current Republicans: Contraception should be illegal! Overturn Griswold vs Conneticut!

Typical argument: "If we start giving contraception to twenty year olds, we will have to give it to fifteen year olds and pretty soon we will give it to babies" (Yes, one of the candidates for the governor of Virginia said this).

My smartass response: Babies can't get pregnant. Eggs and sperm don't reach maturation until after puberty. Don't get all crazy, dude.
How do you even argue with that? 

Who are these people? WTF happened to the GOP?

I once read this book from the library (Cincinnati Public, what what) about why debate has fallen into he-said/she said argument and unable to move forward. The author, a Canadian journalist, posits that the Internet allows people of like mindedness to find each other and converse, thus allowing people to feel vindicated and find evidence for few points. Prior to the Internet, people often had to mix with others of different view points and had to work harder to find people of similar mind. Now a 9/11 Truther can just Google the term and find plenty of evidence to support his or her beliefs.

The Internet and criminals, like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones, and just ordinary people can build websites that allow the tunneling of viewpoints to continue. No one ever has to expand or think differently. And since they can make money off of that, why try?

Ok, that last paragraph is really just me being angry. But I feel like the art of the debate is dead. Have you watched debates on television, on C-Span? Goodness, we could all argue that Romney or Obama won a debate but really they didn't debate. They didn't have a real discussion about ideas. They basically repeated party lines in a pithy way. I wanna see William F Buckley debate people again (I really do feel like I miss him. I know, I know, but if we examine the articles he wrote, they were grounded in reality).

How can you have an argument with someone about death panels or Obama directing the IRS to target conservatives or, hell, even food stamps? Facts are not even considered. I once got into a huge argument with a family member who is an extreme conservative about food stamps. Despite evidence to the contrary that primarily whites use food stamps, that it isn't even a large part of our budget and its not even that much damn money, he believes that it is primarily used by people of color who are lazy grifters. Also, despite evidence that members of his family used food stamps while they were out of work. Nope. It's like facts don't matter.

I once had a graduate professor argue that rhetoric is dead. And you know, I think it's true. If people keep making false equivalences, using disproven facts, arguing that science isn't science, then how do you even construct an argument?

And if you can't have a good, fact based argument, then you can't have nice things. This is why so many of us loved President Bartlet. Dude could argue his way out of a paper bag and people listened. 
Now here is some fun Bartlet stuff to deal with the crap I just wrote.

Dude, facts!

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