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Ideological Discourse vs. Ideological Masturbation.:

 1 Fish 1, Wed, 25th May '11 12:10:43 PM from Lovecraft Country
2 Fish
It seems like a lot of people(everywhere, not just on this wiki) seem to slip into the latter, either intentionally or unintentionally, when trying to convince another person of the validity of their views.

Here are a few examples in my own life:

An acquaintance of mine, a woman in her 80s, sent me a package containing a letter and a book. The letter talked about a political issue and was genuinely thoughtful and interesting. I was engaged, and then I looked at the book.

It was a book of political cartoons.

I was bewildered and annoyed. If she wanted to make a case for herself, why send me something designed to get a few cheap laughs from people who already agree with you?

Another example:

I was reading an essay on the internet which took the opposite side on an issue from me. Once again, I'm engaged, but about three quarters in I come across a line that looks like this:

___________ have no right to complain if they die, because they worship ___________ and believe in ___________

Once again I'm thinking, "Are you trying to convince people? Or are you trying to get yourself off by sticking your base thoughts on the internet?"

I won't pretend that I don't slip into this sometimes. Nor do I pretend that rants aren't useless, they can be entertaining to read, and cathartic to write. But why do people seem to rant when it seems like they are trying to convince?
Indeed.
 2 Usht, Wed, 25th May '11 12:13:11 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
Depends on whether or not you're actually funny. If you are funny, it's all in good light, if it's poorly done, it's just tasteless.
The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
This one thinks that the reason for that is that sometimes people just honestly do not understand that their opponents come to their conclusions based on completely different...foundation, so to speak. It is something that can be difficult to understand indeed. Usually people see the premise of their belief as self-evident, and consequently, see the differences their opponents express as simply failing to make the correct conclusions from the premise.

Say, I think that A=B, B=C, consequently, A=C. Then I meet a person who thinks that C=D instead. I am arguing that it cannot be so, and trying to prove that in case A=B=C, C=D is an correct occlusion, but I fail to take into account that for other people, A=B part might be wrong in itself - A and B might be completely different in their mind, and indeed, that A=B remains to be proven.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
Moar and Moar and Moar
Well, the cartoon thing is stupid.

But usually what happens is that you're not really talking to the other person. You're talking to 3rd parties who might not be as firm/far away in their views as the other person. As such, taking that sort of tone actually does work really well in convincing people that they should move towards you.
Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
 5 Game Chainsaw, Wed, 25th May '11 2:25:01 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
Fixed ideology is a sign of mental inflexibility, and is such, a weakness. Sure, it might convince people of your views if they haven't done the research, but debates shouldn't be about convincing other people you are right, but about learning for everyone what is right.
I suspect that a lot of the time, people who talk like this believe that if you act like the truth of your beliefs is self-evident, some uncommitted people will unthinkingly start to agree with you. Unfortunately, they may sometimes be right.
Currently taking a break from the site. See my user page for more information.
 7 Pykrete, Wed, 25th May '11 3:51:56 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
Argumentum Ad Nauseam, basically.

Which is one of the reasons I've been falling off this forum lately. Whether it's kind enough to start with this out of the gate, or lasts about two ideas down before it hits incompatible values, it almost always comes down to people shouting them at each other until someone caves, someone gets pissed off enough to get banned, someone gets pissed off enough to get someone else banned, or the thread mercifully dies due to general participant frustration or a surge of the next overused topic of the week.

edited 25th May '11 4:00:20 PM by Pykrete

 8 drunkscriblerian, Wed, 25th May '11 6:03:03 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
@OP: it happens because the fine art of taking something seriously without taking it personally has largely been lost. People no longer know how to enter into spirited debate and then thank their opponent for the privilege later. Jury's out as to why this is so, but IME it is definitely so.
If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
victorinox243
The internet is a terrible forum. It's schizophrenic and liable to burst to flames from all the straw-men populating it.

Read book books. They have better things to say and have been reviewed by editors for grammatical errors.

The internet may be excellent in instantly bringing information from anywhere to you, but most of it is lacking depth. It's not a place for long bouts of thought; website designers know this.

You can't have discourse if you can't properly talk to the person you are talking to. The common internet post has about as much subtlety as a telegram. Anything longer than that calls for "too long; didn't read"

 10 drunkscriblerian, Wed, 25th May '11 6:13:15 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
The internet is a terrible forum. It's schizophrenic and liable to burst to flames from all the straw-men populating it.

Not to be inflammatory, but you do realize that statement contributes to the problem it also mentions, right?
If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
I must admit, I don't buy a lot of books on things I discuss on these fora because a) if I dislike a forum post, I can say so; b) I'm not paying £8 or so for an opinion which I could well hate; c) I haven't found a book on British Politics which is up-to-date yet.
 
 12 Morven, Wed, 25th May '11 6:32:00 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
By their very definition, books are not up-to-date. Still, they often provide very useful background insight. If you follow that many blogs, especially on serious issues, they'll often do book reviews — those can help you find that background, though you have to be aware of ideological bias of course (both from the book and the reviewer).
A brighter future for a darker age.
victorinox243
[up][up][up]Was that serious, or a fire pun?

 14 Bobby G, Wed, 25th May '11 6:39:32 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Libraries are good. I don't think it's really necessary to buy books about current politics, anyway; you could probaby get a better understanding from reading general books about economics, sociology, ethics, history, the democratic system, liberalism, conservatism, socialism and so on.

As for ideological masturbation, which I do think is very common here and I do think is a problem, I think the intent is very often not to feel good about yourself, but to entertain those who agree with you, as well as, as Karmakin said, to convince those who are inclined to agree.

It's not a good or honest approach to an argument, and I wish it was less common.
^^ He's being quite accurate.

^^^ Indeed. I don't follow a great deal of blogs, so I'll keep that in mind if I look into following more.

edited 25th May '11 6:40:58 PM by AllanAssiduity

 
A good point that such arguments are often intended not to convince an opponent, but to convince a third party. So addressing an opponent becomes a sort of rhetorical device, and there is nothing new in that. It was in literature since ancient times.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
Yeah, arguments boil down to three things for me, mutually compatible but worthwhile on their own as well: Convincing the other guy, convincing the peanut gallary, or (in the event of a draw) simply sharpening my arguments. I only consider an argument “lost” when I myself am convinced either of the opposing view's validity or of my own wrongness.

I think the point where discussion truly breaks down (whether or not there's any disagreement!) isn't when somebody bluntly states their opinion without further justification (because, really, they can still give that afterward) but when no new facts or insights appear in their statements.

Eric,

I only consider an argument “lost” when I myself am convinced either of the opposing view's validity or of my own wrongness.
Hmm, it is something that's been bothering this one lately. Namely, can these two be considered different things? Is it possible that, as a result of argument, one is convinced that their own position is indefeasible, yet still have valid arguments against accepting the position of an opponent? What...what would one base their rejection of an opponent's idea on, in this case?
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 19 Spooky Mask, Thu, 26th May '11 8:47:43 AM from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
o-o I can't really understand whats going on as I don't know what "Ideological Discourse" and "Ideological Masturbation" are...

Is former like trying to make other people agree with you and latter making yourself happy by being with people who agree with you? ._. I'm interested to know...

edited 26th May '11 8:48:38 AM by SpookyMask

Time to change the style, for now
This one suspects that the latter is addressing one's arguments towards the people who already agree with and support one's position (also known as Preaching to the Choir) and then marvelling on one's own cleverness and orator genius because of getting such support.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 21 Spooky Mask, Thu, 26th May '11 9:07:19 AM from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
Thats practically what I said o-o Did I get the former one right too?
Time to change the style, for now
Well, for anything to be an honest discussion one must be prepared to a possibility that it's they who might be wrong. The goal of discussion is not as much getting people agree with you as determining the truth.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 23 Spooky Mask, Thu, 26th May '11 9:29:13 AM from Corner in round room Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Insert title
Uh, I guess I just google the terms to learn what they mean -_-;
Time to change the style, for now
 24 Pykrete, Thu, 26th May '11 10:36:08 AM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
Is it possible that, as a result of argument, one is convinced that their own position is indefeasible, yet still have valid arguments against accepting the position of an opponent?

It's possible and it happens, but unfortunately "valid arguments against opposition" usually gets conflated with "I must be right" — often on both sides, who are so polarized as to have plenty of valid points against them. Rarely do these discussions end with "we're both wrong in some way", but rather "you have a problem, thus it must be the whole problem."

edited 26th May '11 11:20:27 AM by Pykrete

 25 captainbrass 2, Thu, 26th May '11 11:38:12 AM from the United Kingdom
A lot of people rant on politics rather than argue in any kind of reasoned way because it's actually quite difficult to come up with arguments on complicated political topics. That's why they're complicated. Of course, the sensible thing would be not to post about something unless you know you have something vaguely intelligent to say - but we've all got our egos, and sometimes we just have to say something.

I'm a bit baffled by the OP's "cartoon book" example. I think he/she felt that cartoons are inferior as a form of political argument, which is probably true, but even if you think it's a lame argument, a gift's a gift. Surely it's the generosity of the giver that's most important?
"Well, it's a lifestyle"
Total posts: 27
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