Sunday, May 1, 2016

Most Absurd Debate Since ... Well I guess the Republican Presidential Ones, Or the Democrats

I have found what must be the most bizarre debate I have ever seen on IMDB, and trust me, that site has some doozies*. First, because of a high "hipster quotient" there is always a "more PC than thou" factor making every argument sound like a faculty inquisition at Ann Arbor. Second, thanks to many "authentic foreigners", most American hipster posters are in auto-grovel mode, attesting how horrible Hollywood is, how much they love incomprehensible films, and making as much noise as possible about how horrible America is. And then on top of that, there is the simple film snob/art snob thing, where everyone claims if you don't like something it is a sign you've had a lobotomy. So IMDB debate is always pretty silly, but this one just struck me as both particularly absurd, and a good example of what is wrong with a lot of current social and political thought (and not just on the left, as some paleocons would be perfectly at home in this argument):

Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by ameer-jabril » Mon Jul 27 2015 11:33:26
For all u gullible types who think snowden is some white savior.

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by Nitrometh » Wed Jul 29 2015 13:57:28
And Coca Cola says Coke has ended thirst in Africa!

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by ameer-jabril » Fri Jul 31 2015 14:09:17
hey truth hurts.

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by Nitrometh » Fri Jul 31 2015 14:27:53
It sure sounds like it Jabroni! Try some Vagisil next time

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by ameer-jabril » Fri Jul 31 2015 18:19:48
Says the tea party Obama hating white red neck who probably never bothered to read the article.

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by Nitrometh » Sat Aug 1 2015 00:16:10
Post Edited: Sat Aug 1 2015 00:19:45
Aww did i hurt your feelings lil Jabroni? Maybe you missed the important bit in the article where they say
And they might be aided by something else, as well - The New York Times reported this week that ISIS has
First off, they're not even sure when they say "might be". second off its a report from NY Times, haha more proof of it being a planted news by the US govt.
A govt will go to any length to convert the sympathizers into dummy haters with some money being thrown to the media like doggy bones and what better way to discount a whistleblower than to mix him with ISIS in a cooked up story full of uncertainty.

Post deleted Post deleted

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by Nitrometh » Tue Aug 4 2015 13:37:57
well Bacon hater i hate to give you some newsflash but a) Not a white boy, b) Not interested in your "zionist" propoganda c) Don't buy NY times story and d) Stop blowing up people man in the name of they lord man.
P.S do you snip the hotdog tips before you eat?

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by ameer-jabril » Thu Aug 6 2015 10:11:49
Zionist LOL!? Thats rich coming from a western twat living under a zionazi puppet government. Its called truth and sometimes it hurts. And i very much doupt u ain't white. White people always seem to be the rampant racists and intolerant bigots on the internet. Probably cause yall don't got the balls to say what ya think to black and brown Muslim peoples faces. And that bacon comment pretty much seals the deal u an intolerant white western atheist pos and the real zionist shill.

Re: Snowden's leaks have helped isis
by Nitrometh » Fri Aug 7 2015 05:42:32
Lol the fact that you even think i am Western is hilarious. Secondly the only people having issues with whatever you call Zionist is bacon haters, you know the people that blow *beep* up around the world for "world domination"? Yeah, i can see you are one of those so regardless of me being Asian or Western or Australian or whatever, i think the world has more problems with you blow up dolls than anybody else right now. How long before the likes of you flee the country and join ISIS like your fellow brethren?
And make your mind up. I am either an Atheist or a Christian or a Zionist. Jeez, what next you're going to call me a Buddhist or a Hindu? lol.
Are you one of those mentally challenged bacon hating people who cannot differentiate between Jews and others?
Let me quote what Zionism means "Zionism (Hebrew: צִיּוֹנוּת, IPA: [t͡sijo̞ˈnut], translit. Tziyonut, after Zion) is a nationalist and political movement of Jews and Jewish culture that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel"
See, now i can either be a Westerner or an Israeli, a Jew or an Atheist. The fact that you don't even know what you're accusing me of totally negates this "propoganda" topic. How's that for sealing the deal?
Maybe when you get your 72 virgins in outer space we will believe your propoganda. Say hi to pedo for us. :)

My first issue upon reading it was trying to figure out exactly who stood when politically. At first, with the title and the opening salvo, I thought perhaps the original poster might have some conservative leanings. But his subsequent dive into "who's the Zionist" territory made me doubt that. Of course, he could be a paleocon, as they seem to throw around "neocon" and "Zionist" as much as -- or even more than -- most liberals, but since the poster also engaged in "who's less white" arguments, I began to suspect he may be some flavor of black nationalist.

Which left me wondering about the other party. His anti-Islam sentiment sounded like a lot of the more hostile nominal conservatives, the ones who toss around insults about "muzzies" and "sandni**gers" and such, and some of his rhetoric definitely fit the bill. Even his anti-Zionism stance could be part of some paleocon beliefs, or maybe one of those "only Christians can be conservative" groups. But then I had to contend with the facts that (1) he seemed to be standing up for Snowden and (2) he too was engaged in proving he was less white than his rival and (3) he did the same to prove he was less "Western".  His comments were somewhat coherent in places, but in others he was a bit raving, so, after some thought, it seemed most likely he was some flavor of libertarian. Not, I note, the traditional variety, but probably one of the -- incoherently named -- libertarian left. The anti-Moslem bit didn't fit well, but the suspicion of government, the general acceptance of anti-West, anti-white equating to good, and all the rest, it seemed to fit. Even the periods of occasionally lucid arguments made sense, as sadly, while the libertarian left is, by its very nature a tissue of contradictions, the proponents tend to be somewhat intelligent, and so, for all the nonsense they spout, every so often come up with something not just clever, but actually coherent. (It helps that they know enough traditional libertarian philosophy to sometimes stumble across consistent philosophy, despite their incredibly self-contradictory beliefs.)

Of course, I may be wrong, the Zionist bit is kind of oddly worded, and could mean a lot of things. (It really does not help that this debate is quite badly worded and almost impossible to follow at times.) The respondent could be nothing more than a conservative who has drifted over into that "fear of government" paranoia to the point that he believes Snowden is someone worth defending. And, perhaps he is simply pointing out he is not Western or white. On the other hand, the prominence given to those features makes me wonder.

In any case, the basic outline of this debate does show one of the big problems in our present society, as does the Trump campaign. Both of our major political movements seem to be fracturing, and fracturing in ways that are troubling. The left is breaking into the traditional, already pretty liberal, left, and the radical half that thinks we have not gone far enough in emulating European liberals.

On the right we have even more fragmentation. We have the traditional Republican party, which wants to move toward less government, but is willing to do so in moderate steps, and thus is accused of being RINO, establishment, sell out and the rest. To a degree, this is a somewhat valid charge, as the mainstream Republicans often hold somewhat contradictory beliefs, accepting some degree of intervention and regulation in whatever areas they think best, basically selling "Democrat Lite" policies on issues where they believe in regulation. On the other hand, even with all their shortcomings, they are at least interested in less government and less spending, so, for all their faults, they still represent a force moving, albeit slowly and awkwardly, in the right direction.

Then we have the Trump supporters, well, some of them. These are the "revolt now!" types. Those who have become disillusioned with the current state of affairs and imagine that the only solution is sudden revolt. They are right in one respect, the current situation is unsatisfactory, but they are quite dangerous in almost every other respect, since sudden change, even if in the right direction, is prone to produce more harm than good**. Not to mention that, at the moment, their upset with the government has led them to support someone who has no real beliefs at all and is simply manipulating them for his own aggrandizement.

And then we have the conservative wing of the right, the true government minimalists. Granted, even among them there is some dispute about how small government should be, but more than mainstream Republicans, this wing of the Republicans, along with a core of true small government types among the libertarians, are dedicated to the right goals. Unfortunately, many of them are also unrealistically idealist. The people who refused to vote of McCain and Romney, who will not support any candidate who does not match their beliefs 100%. And thus, while right on the issues, they are often wrong on the means, adopting such an uncompromising position they effectively embrace the greater of two evils, just so they won't taint their hands by embracing the lesser.

And then there are all the others, the paleocons, the nationalists on both sides of the aisle, and so on. But by and large they are growing ever smaller as political movements, being absorbed into these other groups, or fragmenting into ever smaller subfactions.

Which is why we see things such as the debate above. Where, a few years ago, I would have expected to see relatively clear lines between Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, since neither party has been very good at expressing a coherent belief system, we get instead this terribly fragmented political field, with such intraparty squabbles that it is sometimes hard to see a party at all.

In a way, it is amusing, as a few years ago there was so much worry over polarization***, and now, today, I am seeing instead the exact opposite, two parties in the process of pulling themselves apart. Granted, the Republicans more obviously, but still, do not discount the far left of the Democrats and influence it is having. The Democrats may not have an obvious Donald Trump analogue, but Sanders is doing more to the party than most commentators imagine. I would not be surprised to see a "Trump of the Left" in 2020 or 2024. (Maybe even Trump himself if he changes parties again.)

But, predicting the future is tricky business, especially when things are in such flux. So, for now, I will content myself with observing that, at least, we now seem free of the "polarization" that worried so many, though I might add the old admonition about being careful about what you wish for.


*  For some past examples, see "Fascist Bully Boys", "The Occupy Mindset", "Should I Laugh or Cry?", "Self-Sustaining Beliefs", "Faux 'Realism'" and "A Revealing Comment". Though, I also found a few sensible comments, as I describe in "So I am not Alone", "A Perfect Quote" and "Renewed Faith in the Public".

** For my arguments on this topic see "Traffic Lights, Predictability and Conservatism", "Reforms, Ideal and Real",  "In Praise of Slow Changes", "The Benefits of Federalism", "Conservatism, Incremental Change and Federalism", "Power and Disorder", "Redundancy as a Protective Measure", "Adaptability and Government", "Inflexibility and Bureaucracy", "The Case for Small Government", "Doing Something", ""Doing Something" Revisited", "Doing Something Revisited, Again", "The Glory of Eisenhower?", "Private Charity", "Private Charity Take Two", "A New Look At Intervention", "Justification", "Hugging You to Death", "Did Deregulation Fail?"  and "Why Freedom is Essential".

*** Even I discussed this topic, though I did argue polarization was not unusual given a two party system. Though, I also argued with the rise of the "Angry Right" and "Angry Left", the polarization would, in the end, probably favor the left, unless the right tried harder to reach the shrinking pool of moderates and independents. See "The Futility of Blame", "Technophobes and Conservatives -- The Risk of Assumptions", "Missionary Zeal and Human Discord", "Clinton and Bush Killed the Center", "One Bad Idea", "On Extremists, Moderates and Polarization" and "In Defense of Civil Debate".



After I wrote and posted this, I realized the debate continued on the following pages. I had been initially reading it at work and was called away when I got to the bottom of the first, so I forgot about it and never read the rest. (I cut and pasted the page and mailed it to myself as a  reminder to blog about it, but did not get to the next page.) I admit, I have not yet read on, so I may have made completely incorrect assumptions the later pages dispel. If so, I do apologize. On the other hand, what I did read was incoherent and politically peculiar enough it still supports my later argument, so even if I erred in my assumptions, the rest of what I wrote still stands. We have gone from one time fears about "polarization" (somewhat absurd even then given the factions within both parties, especially the Republicans [though blue collar Democrats definitely differ from the rest]), to an openly fragmented pair of parties that seem to have difficulty preventing their eventually dissolution.

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