A Hearty, Political Fuck You.

I am, as many of you know, a Republican. (Or, at least I would be, if my local government hadn’t lost my change of address forms and decided that I was no longer registered to vote. But that is a rant I’ve already made.) I am fiscally conservative, and socially libertarian. I do not agree with all of the points in the Republican platform. But in general, I agree with them more- or see them as less harmful- than those of the Democratic Party.
And ladies and gentlemen (should there be any in this Pit), that is my opinion. I am certain that all of you have your own opinions upon politics, and upon the major (and minor) parties. And this rant is not focused upon those who disagree with me, or hold opinions to the contrary of mine.
This rant, rather, is focused upon those who- through arrogance or insecurity- believe that their own opinions give them a superiority. One can look in countless threads in GD and find people stating that being a liberal/ conservative/ Republican/ Democrat/ Green/ Libertarian/ Reform/ Giant Stuffed Tickle-Me-Elmo Fancier somehow makes them superior to those who disagree with them. Their position, after all, is the only one which rational and intelligent and decent people would agree with- after all, are they not rational and intelligent and decent? Therefore, to have come to a different- or, horrors above, opposite- conclusion must indicate that their opponent is irrational, stupid, and willing to molest children and sell blacks back into slavery.

Take, for example, abortion. We could state that one side believes that life begins at conception, and that the life of one (the mother) does not necessarily outweight the life of the other (the child). Or we could state that life does not actually begin at that point, or that there is too little consensus as to when life begins for us to strictly outlaw what some may feel is a neutral medical procedure.

But, oh, no. We can’t do that. We can only talk of the pro-abortionists who drink babies’ blood and have Perpetrated A Holocaust Upon Our Next Generation; or of the anti-choicers who would have every mother barefoot and pregnant and would remove womens’ right to vote if they could. Everyone who is pro-choice has had three or four abortions; everyone who is pro-life assassinates abortion doctors.

To those of you who feel a sense of moral superiority over those who disagree with you, fuck you.

To those of you who feel a sense of intellectual superiority over those who disagree with you, fuck you.

To those of you who feel a smug satisfaction when an extremist does something horrible because it proves to you what all of your opponents would really do if they had a chance, fuck you.

To those of you who consider the description of your opponent- liberal, Republican, whatever- akin to a slur, fuck you.

To those of you who feel that a political action in your favor must be reacted to with gloating, fuck you.

To those of you who feel that a political reversal must be reacted to with vocal despair and/or threats, fuck you.

To those of you who associate the other side with evil, and their own with good, fuck you.

And, in fact, more than fuck you.

Grow the hell up.

Rational people can come to different conclusions. There is nothing in the social sciences so obvious and firm as there is in the hard sciences. Adults are people who can deal with matters calmly and rationally, and who can see that there can be more than one point of view. In fact, mature individuals can follow the logical process of those they disagree with, so that they might understand the situation more fully and come to a better solution.

I suppose I am mostly vexed because there are emotional children upon this board who think they can debate. And whose form of debate is insults, catcalls, and attempting to drown out their opponent through volume. Decent people do not feel the need to “high-five” those who agree with them. Decent people give intelligent praise to those who make good arguments, whether upon their side or not. This is not a game of pick-up. This is a debate.
And if you wonder whether I’m talking about you, I probably am. Including many people I consider embarrasments to my side of the argument.
Thank you for your time.

No fuckin’ shit, John, ain’t it a bitch? I’ve posted a similar thought or two before “gee, maybe if you didn’t demonize your opponents position…” but it’s really been getting to me lately. And let me just add that just becuz I don’t think we should be in the business of killing people, this doesn’t mean that I kick the families of crime victims and/or want to bear Ted Bundy’s love child.

thank you. I feel better now.

Brilliant rant, I give it a 9.8. A few more crisp profanities might have given it a 10. (This is the Pit, after all.) But all-in-all, a brilliant rant.

I agree with all you have said. I may have even been guilty of some of the behavior you have described (I can’t recall, but if I have, I doubt I was a grievous offender.) So even if I’ve been guilty of some of the traits you describe here, I still think you have it right-on. Thanks.

Hey John, you’ve got me, wring and Yosemitebabe all in total agreement with your OP. What could be better? :smiley:

Great rant, I agree.

BTW: wring, It’s getting on my nerves to as well. My GD reading (I’ve always been more of a lurker there anyway) has dropped almost none. I just don’t enjoy the sort of behavior John’s describing and either it’s happening more frequently (say before and after last October or so) or I’m just getting less tolerant of it.


Only a low-life scumbag Republican would start a Pit thread like this. You disgust me.

[sub]Kidding! Kidding! What a kidder I am! Hoo, boy, do I know how to kid! ;)[/sub]


To play devil’s advocate here (I agree with everything you said, John C.), it would not be as interesting if everyone was acting reasonable and decent and actually listening to the opposing side’s point of view.

actually, featherlou it would be more interesting, because we wouldn’t have to waste time with the “don’t refer to me as pro-abortion, I’m prochoice” kind of nonsense. and that’s the point. when you’re busy trying to hack away at the red herrings, you aren’t able to get to the actual point of discussion. It’s very frustrating.

Got a cite, Pit Boy?

Jesus. An unsubstantiated rant, and he pisses off Giant Stuffed Tickle-Me-Elmo worshippers to boot.

What a tyrant.

John, while I understand your point and your frustration, I must ask a sincere question: can’t you see that all the balanced, fair, agree-to-disagree, room-for-everyone’s-opinion attitude, while making for a very civilized discussion, also means that essentially, nobody is right? And if nobody is right, what’s the point? Why bother having an opinion at all, much less sharing it or debating it or arguing for it? If I’m really supposed to believe that the opposing view is just as valid as the view I embrace, why bother embracing any view at all?

There is a difference between behaving oneself in a reasonably decent manner and believing or behaving as though all beliefs are equal.

I am certainly guilty of some (not all!) of the behaviors in your rant, as are many others around here…but isn’t it possible, even valid, that those of us who do not believe for a second that there really is “room for different points of view” on certain subjects are not coming from a place of malice, but are simply true believers in whatever it is we believe in?

And finally, I take issue with the way you lump everything together. There is a difference between demonizing those who disagree (which is lame), being abusive and rude to those who disagree (which is just intolerable and ugly), and delighting when things go one’s own way or enjoying the company of the like-minded (which may be grating, but it ain’t personal). It’s kinda like rooting for your own team… it’s one thing to say “You’re a fucking asshole for wanting Team B!” and saying “Team A rocks! Team A won! Alright Baby, we kickin’ some ass now!”. I extend the comparison further by pointing out there is a difference between being a ** fan ** of a team, and a ** member ** of a team. As far as I’m concerned, we are all fans, the people in power are the actual teams. And do not the fans speak ill of the teams they dislike? But civilized fans do not speak ill of each other.

(I anticipate that you or someone will come back with something about the two “teams” being equal-but-different, as they are in sports, which I respond to in advance by pointing out that there are limitations to similes)

Your rant, if applied as a sort of law, would leave us all sounding and acting like Al Gore did in debate #2, and I think both sides agree that that was just nauseating.


I have one question: “Giant Stuffed Tickle-Me-Elmo Fancier”–Is it the Tickle-Me-Elmo that is Giant and Stuffed, or do those adjectives describe the Fancier of the Tickle-Me-Elmo?

I think the OP wasn’t saying “You can’t believe you’re right”. The rant was more of a “grow up” type of rant. I’ve seen posts by a lot of different people here, expressing a lot of different points of view, and I think I’m a better person for that, because it gives me the opportunity to get a different perspective on things. Of course, I don’t always agree with all the points of view expressed, but it’s possible to listen to a good, well thought out argument, which you disagree with. Lets face it, like John said, intellegent people can disagree, and express those disagreements without name calling. I do have pretty set views, and I’m probably going to keep on supporting gun control, for example, or opposing affirmative action, or whatever, but I also realize that because somebody opposes gun control, or supports affirmative action, that doesn’t make them morally bankrupt, or stupid, and in fact, that it’s possible to have a good argument that takes those positions. I can admire the crafting of a logical argument without agreeing with its conclusions. For example, I’m not Christian, but I’ve read parts of Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica”, which was his multi-volume attempt to defend Catholic doctrines, and just laughed in delight at the clever way he puts his arguments, and the way he weaves them together. All too often nowadays, I’ll go to a thread and wince seeing some of the posts of people who have the same general position that I do, because they resort to namecalling, they misinterpret other people’s positions, they introduce evidence that isn’t applicable, they try to make the argument an emotional one, or they just do other really disrespectful things. I agree with the op, because I’m getting tired of it.

Decent people do not feel the need to “high-five” those who agree with them. Decent people give intelligent praise to those who make good arguments, whether upon their side or not. This is not a game of pick-up. This is a debate.

Fair enough, John Corrado (yeesh, I sound like the Terminator). This seems as good a time as any to query a point of etiquette. Where does “intelligent praise to those who make good arguments” cross the line into “high-five” territory? I ask b/c I often find myself impressed by other posters but in 200 some-odd posts I’ve only offered direct praise maybe 3 or 4 times. I’ve hesitated b/c I’ve noticed that there isn’t a lot of acknowledgment of that kind on this particular message board. Also, I have to admit that I can’t imagine myself being tempted to “praise” someone whose opinions I strongly disagree with. That is, the “praise” would come in the form of the respect I paid to their arguments: that I took them seriously and debated with them civilly.

I also think there is something to be said for stoid’s position. Speaking purely for myself: I know there are times when my debate with another poster produces the conviction: this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about on this issue whereas I’m sure that I do. To be sure, if the person is civil I don’t say “idiot”; but in cases like this I have to struggle not to sound condescending. I think it’s unavoidable that, at times, someone who’s done a lot of thinking on a subject is going to feel a sense of intellectual superiority (justly or not); and to betray it now and then even while wishing not to. Although I think it makes sense to be conscious of these problems and to rant about them as you have done, I think some discord is probably inevitable. I still consider myself a newcomer but I’ve seen enough to notice very different levels of expertise sometimes warring on the same topic. Some handle that with incredible tact; others less so.

John Corrado said:

It occurs to me that we really need a raised-eyebrows smilie for smartasses such as myself.

Nope, no one doing any demonizing around here.

It’s those other people. The ones who, when discussing (insert pet issue) are such rigid, nasty, immoral, knee-jerking swine. While on my side of the fence, everyone is such a sweetie! It’s enough to make you um, er…

This outlook of yours could revolutionize political debate, John. Who’s on your mass e-mail list? :slight_smile:

That makes you a nice fanatic instead of a mean one? Maybe someone like that doesen’t come from a place of malice, but surely their point of view on those subjects should be ignored as irrational. If you utterly believe your opinions cannot be wrong you have no place in a rational debate.

And all too true. Being a fiscal conservitive and something of a social anarchist, I’m damned well tired of hearing it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, therefore, let them state it in a coherent manner, then get off the box, bitch!

Recently, I was stupid enough to get involved on the edge of that wretched evo/creationist hootenanny. This bunch is worse than polititions. I correct myself. All too many are involved in politics. But, whaddahell. As long as you don’t take them too seriously, you can get some amusment from the sheer volumn of their ravings.

Then again, fuck 'em.



There was nothing in your post that I disagreed with.

I’m not sure what you mean, Sterra. Are you unsure of every opinion you have? Or are you sure about some, not about others? Do you enter into debates thinking, saying, “Well, could be wrong, but I feel/think/believe X”? I’m serious. If anyone thinks that every opinion they have is infallible, they don’t belong in a serious debate. Same is true of the reverse…if someone believes that every opinon they have is just as good as any other, or shaky, or subject to change at a moment’s notice, they aren’t bad people, but they aren’t debaters, either, and I don’t think they belong in a debate. And there are hundreds, thousands of people who read these boards and never say a word.

And of course, what do you mean by “wrong”? That’s really kind of the heart of this, in a way. Right and wrong are subjective assessments, unless you are doing math equations. So you’ll have to define that, since what I said that you had a problem with was: "do not believe for a second that there really is “room for different points of view”, and that is not the same as believing that one’s opinions cannot be wrong. What it is, is believing that two things cannot exist in the same space at the same time. Take abortion…there is certainly room for different opinions in our private hearts, minds and lives. But there is room for only one opinion in terms of public policy. The Supreme Court did not rule that “Roe v. Wade” only applies to some of the people some of the time, and it was this kind of thing that I meant when I made that remark. (You’d never see me argue that people who dislike abortions should have them, like them, or change their feelings about them. Only that they should keep there cottin’ pickin’ votes off of MY right to have one. ) And that is the sort of disagreement that usually gives rise to the things that JC was complaining about.


Captain Amazing did a fine job of emphasizing my point. But let me see if I can completely muddle the issue through my own inarticulateness.

I have no problem with one believing that one’s position on an issue is right; either as a part of a general moral stance, as a more efficient way of achieving an end, or as a practical solution as opposed to a philosophical discourse. And you are correct; in order to really even have a position, one must believe in it.

However, that isn’t what I’m really railing against. What I rail against is the position some people take that by opposing their position, you must automatically have less morals, or less intelligence, as opposed to having different morals, or different information from which the viewpoint was gained.

Absolutely. But it is certainly possible to have civilized discussions as to what is right, and how better to achieve that right. Casting aspertions on your opponent, such as suggesting that they or their party have no real morals or no real intelligence, is pointless and derogatory to the entire debate. Perhaps we will come to an impass. If we were to discuss abortion and you were pro-choice and I were pro-life, at some point it would likely come down to our inability to agree as to when life truly begins. We could certainly still debate and discuss the issue, in the hopes of convincing the readers who have not yet formed an opinion (or who have done so on bad facts)- after all, in our government being able to set the agenda often depends upon having a larger base of support. So much can still be accomplished, without either of us losing our belief that our choice is moral- so long as we can stay civil and accept that opposing viewpoints are not automatically immoral.

No. True belief in a certain thing does not automatically mean belief that all else is untrue. Not all those who truly believe in Christ and his message (for example) believe that those who follow other paths are doomed to the fires of Hell. Ask Polycarp. There are those that do believe that not following their path means going straight to Hell, and who talk about it incessantly, and we reserve for them the name which they truly deserve- assholes.

Let me ask you this- if you had a good friend who was a Team B fan, would you shout about how good Team A had done in front of them? Would you talk about how good Team A is while they were listening? Would you rah Team A as loud and as hard as you would if they weren’t around? Or would you consider it rude, and kind of mocking, to do so directly in front of them?

Yes, but I dare you to come down to the Inner Harbor and dis the Ravens. B) My point being, when we root for teams, we tend to do so directly with other people who also root for those teams, and not directly in the face of people who don’t. When you post ‘rah’ messages on the board, you’re posting directly in everyone’s face, and that includes supporters of Team B.

Which was, unfortunately, the reason for the first major split within the GSTMEF party, and meant they couldn’t get the 5% of the vote they needed for the matching funds.

Well, I’m a moderator. But I don’t want to make people think that anything I say here carries more weight because of that. Hell, I try to move something in GD or even offer a warning and David B will unleash his goons on me. Gaudere’s already threatened twice to “cut [me] good, ya fuckin’ wop!”

My personal rule is, the more it sounds like something I’d hear on the Jerry Springer show, the less I like it. Also, I find it’s best to put praise into a message that also furthers an argument or makes a rebuttal. Praise merely for praise tends to raise ire just as a waste of bandwidth; but making your own point while making a side point of “Captain Amazing’s understanding of my position and ability to discuss what I really meant was very impressive” works very well.

True, but one can always throw in phrases such as, “That’s a very good idea/ well-thought-out point/ informative link, [Opponent’s name here], but I still don’t agree for reasons yadda, yadda, and yadda…”

Well, unfortunately I’m under no real illusions on that score. Demonization of opponents and coarse, slanderous invective have been a feature of American politics since George Washington took office. Hell, if anything, we demand more rational debate and actual discussion of issues than they did back then. But I tend to be an idealist of a Kantean mode (Kantian? Kanteen? Kantor? No, definitely not Kantor, can’t sing “If You Knew Susie” worth a damn) who feels that be being an idealist, and trying to live that idealist life, I can convince others that it’s the right path. We’ll see. Thanks, though.

I agree, wring. I think my point was more along the lines of “if everyone shows up on the same side of a discussion, it’s not going to be much of a show.”

John C., I would suggest that in debating opinions, there actually is no right or wrong. Opinions may be based on facts, but they are not required to be based on anything other than your own personal reason for believing that particular thing.

Understandable, and I agree, to a point. But sometimes, on some subjects, I really believe that some positions are in fact morally inferior, even morally bankrupt. But they don’t come up often.

Again, I agree.

Absolutely! But then, none of my good friends have egos so fragile that my joy at my team’s winning would affect them.

These conversations come up in the context of a forum called “Great Debates” and sometimes the Pit. As I pointed out in a different post, my behavior is not the same in every context; at my in-law’s dinner table I would zip it. But here? Nah… I’m gonna do a jig when my team wins.
You know, we are not so far apart in our views on this, John. You would like to see everyone behave in a hyper-polite fashion, which I guess is admirable. I’m perfectly ok with a bit of gloating (obviously, since I’ve done my share), and with a passionate belief in one’s rightness. But I would certainly dearly love to see people stop attacking each other on a personal level, calling each other names, being nasty and rude. I’ve said so before and I’ll keep saying so. I can’t believe that intelligent adults so quickly resort to saying “you’re a drooling idiot/moron/fuckwad/goatfucker” when they disagree with someone. (Which isn’t to say that I don’t find a number of Dopers to be drooling goatfuckers. I would just never tell them that.)