Contributors

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Reaching Out

We've been talking about "reaching out" to the right in comments lately so I thought I would share a recent Facebook status update of a friend of mine whom I call John Smith.

JOHN SMITH is going to grill meat and use lots of coals to emit as much carbon as possible and piss of the global warming nut jobs.

So, my question is this...how do I reach out to John, hmm?

14 comments:

juris imprudent said...

Maybe you don't. Maybe you just pretty much ignore him, since it appears you are providing him the reaction he wants. Maybe instead of demonizing him and anyone who might have the slightest degree of inclination toward him and his beliefs and opinions, you reach out to THOSE folks instead of him.

I certainly don't think I'll ever influence you. But I might influence someone who reads your blog and still has an open mind. That's mostly why I hang around here - well, that and poking holes in silly arguments amuses me. I'm still chuckling over KennedyDem blaming libertarians for the current state of the Repub party. Whooo!

Dan said...

Does anyone on "the right" bother to reach out? Has there been one time when any of the conservatives even once conceded a good point? Been civil? Even tried to understand "our side?" No, because that would dilute their dogma. Which is what it is, nothing but dogma. A set of opinions, dressed up in what Colbert calls "truthiness."

If those here who claim to represent the conservative mind-set want an olive branch, extend one yourselves. Try being nice, for a change. Try to at least to give the impression that maybe Liberals might actually be Americans who love their country as much as you do. That maybe we actually have some compelling arguments, and maybe we aren't wrong all the time. Maybe having cleaner air and water is actually a good idea? Or how about it might not actually be a bad idea to reign in this atmosphere of rampant greed and corruption in the finance and insurance industries? Perhaps that holding to the ideals of the Constitution is more important in the difficult times than in the easy times?

Mark, until that happens, I wouldn't bother "reaching out." We have been trying to reach out to the conservatives for decades, asking for some help in solving some of the REAL problems this country faces. What we have gotten in return is nothing but scorn, ridicule and snarky, petty dogma. As for the "John Smiths" out there, fuck 'em. They don't have convictions, only inflammatory rhetoric. I once managed an older fellow, Clyde, who delighted in telling me he celebrated Earth day by cutting down four trees on his property. Yippee-frikkin'-doo. I knew he was only trying to goad me, and I didn't take the bait. Don't bother to get in the muck with the dipshits.

I will however, submit that perhaps your blog has become a tad too much like poking the beast with a long stick, just to watch how worked up it gets. In a way, it's a bit like Clyde the woodsman, trying to get a rise out of the cons.

We all love to expose and discuss the hypocrisy of "the other side" but it has to eventually give way to something better. Rather than this continual meme of "See how stupid/criminal/un-American the other guys are," which has been the bread-and-butter of far too many pundits on both the right and the left, I would rather read thoughtful compositions on current topics reflecting your own unique, Liberal viewpoint.

Our country has just gone through one of the most difficult decades in its history. We might have a chance now to make things better. But we won't get anywhere by flailing away at other Americans with dissimiliar viewpoints as if they were subhuman parasites, unworthy of civil discourse.

Juris, if you truly mean what you wrote about influencing open minds, here's one. My mind has been open since I gave up my conservative impulses, brought on by youthful intelligence frustrated and having read way too much Ayn Rand. I don't hold with everything that my fellow "lefties" profess, but I lean more in that direction. I'm waiting for some thoughtful and compelling arguments. When are you going to begin?

Mr Bill said...

Marky Boy... I started to respond here, but quickly found myself in the middle of a post for my own blog. Please follow the link to my response...

http://billsrantsandreviews.blogspot.com/2009/11/death-of-america-aka-response-to-marky.html

Markadelphia said...

Juris, the thing is that I'm not 100 percent convinced that climate change is due to man made carbon emissions. In looking at the IPCC's data, there is 10 percent chance that our climate is changing without the help of man.

But there is all that data that says that it is. So, I'm waiting for more data to come in before I declare the climate change is man made theory to by fully valid. It's possible that it may never be.

What irks me, though, is that someone like John won't even look at the data that supports it. They're just "loonies" to him and that's it. Thankfully, not all on the right think this. Climate change is going to be an easier row to hoe than health care.

Markadelphia said...

Reflecting on your response, Mr. Bill. I will respond later today.

juris imprudent said...

I'm waiting for some thoughtful and compelling arguments. When are you going to begin?

While I obviously have a fondness for snark, I can honestly say that it most often comes out as a response to overwrought or hyperbolic statements. It is a source of constant amazement to me that M can shriek about the right-wing in the very manner he is accusing them of using.

So, since health care is in the news, I will start by saying that only (or predominantly) getting health care via employment is stupid. I'm all for changing that to a system where my choice of employment is in no way tied to my choice for insurance. It isn't that way for car, home or life insurance and there is no reason for it to be so for health. Remove the tax incentives for businesses to provide it to employees and if you want an incentive, then make it an individual one. I'm even willing to discuss how we might regulate the health insurance market differently than we do now as part of this.

My primary objection is that the federal govt will mandate the purchase of health insurance. That is patently unconstitutional even though I only have a bit of hope that SCotUS would say so (and at that point way too late to matter). Even if it passed the constitutionality test, I would still object to forcing people to do something for their own good. The govt can not be mommy, daddy or nanny if we are going to be a free country. What you don't appear to see is that is how you get to a police state. Surely you've heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The moral of that saying is that intentions don't save you. Expanding the power of govt, the feds in particular, is just not a good idea.

And Dan, just for the record, I've never been a fan of Rand. My libertarianism is rooted in classical liberalism; I generally think of myself most as a Jeffersonian liberal. Today's "liberals" have absolutely no connection with that. I suppose you could say I'm a conservative in that I want to conserve the system of govt that generation gave us. Aren't labels fun? And useless!

Hey M, the climate has changed on this planet long before we arrived on scene. It is yet again our hubris that inflates and informs our concepts that we are destroying the planet. As George Carlin said, the planet ain't going away, we are. 10% chance that climate change is independent of humanity? That is to laugh. More likely a 10% chance that we have a significant influence.

Finally, sometimes people just say silly things to push other people's buttons - ala "John Smith" and "Clyde". The statement of WHY they are doing whatever it is that offends you isn't really why - they just want to offend your delicate sensibilities. I've said myself at times that I would get a CCW permit just to make some gun-control-freak wet himself. I've lived in two shall-issue states and never had a permit. Sometimes that is all such talk is - talk. Reacting to it by taking it literally proves that you have an overdeveloped sense of outrage on the subject. Note, that this is entirely different from someone who talks nonsense and then lives it, like say a Klanner or ALF'er.

last in line said...

Way to go Juris. You just killed this thread with those first 3 paragraphs...talking about, you know, issues.

You are the thread assassin.

pl said...

That hurts, last. You told me you loved me.

last in line said...

I've smoked you out of the shadows!! Please post your thoughts on the healthcare bill and the overall state of our union. We've missed your wit.

pl said...

Although I've been in the shadows I'm still an avid reader of Mark's blog. It's kind of like TV to me. I know it's not real life, there is an abundance of humor and exaggerated characters, and I know it's not necessarily the best usage of my time. But it sure is entertaining! Plus, there's the sentimental side of me that yearns for the day Mark steers his blog back to being an actual discussion of issues. Facts and stuff. But whatever. I'm not overly worried about this bill.

Mr Bill said...

Juris - What you seem to fail to realize is that you do have a choice when it comes to health care.

"So, since health care is in the news, I will start by saying that only (or predominantly) getting health care via employment is stupid. I'm all for changing that to a system where my choice of employment is in no way tied to my choice for insurance."

No one says you have to take your employeer's offered insurance. You have every right to go out and buy your own. Very few do, as why would they pay for something that an employeer will provide for free... or at least a pretty good discount. Some employeers even offer a compensation option which allows you to go out and find your own insurance and they give so much payment to apply to your personal insurance.

On the flip side, I would agree with most of the rest of what you said. It is becoming more and more clear that the circular arguments I am constantly finding between the liberal and the conservative base throughout most blogs is nothing more than a distraction from the reality that there is nothing one can do to restore order to the chaos we are in. No one party is to blame any more than the other, as both have the power while the people do not.

I have often said of communism that if the governing party felt that they were truly in the right and offerd what the people of the country truly wanted, that they would have no fear of opening up the opportunity for an opping party to challange their leadership. That being said, our wonderful two party system has distrcted all of us form the fact that govern has the power and we the people do not. What choice is their when either candidate elected will screw you in the end... whether it be from the left or the right.

juris imprudent said...

Mr B, I have purchased my own health insurance in the past (self-employed), so I'm well aware of that as an option. I had that as I would any other real insurance - as a guarantee against catastrophe, not to take care of the routine things.

The insurance I have now through my employment imposes very little cost on me for regular health care services (in addition to providing for anything big).

And that is the nub of the problem, people believe health insurance is supposed to provide a virtual free ride on health care.

juris imprudent said...

Damn last, you weren't kidding. The silence on issues is more imposing than the wailing about the right.

GrumpyOldFart said...

Well let's see, how can you "reach out" to John?

You can start by using data that doesn't deny known facts. The very same IPCC reports, the Mann "Hockey Stick" and associated reports, all have as an underlying premise that the Medieval Warm Period (with its accompanying colonization of Greenland and 'Vinland') and the Little Ice Age (with its Thames Frost Fairs and cannon transported across the ice of the Hudson River during wartime) never actually occurred.

In the face of that, can you truly blame someone for being skeptical?