So, I had fewer political arguments this year – and certainly fewer posts – because frankly I don’t know how to do it any more. Watching political arguments on Facebook and Twitter is insane. It’s like I showed up for debate club and discover someone turned it into Thunderdome. Or at least the argument sketch.
This is how politics is debated circa 2012:
Build a straw man out of the other person’s argument
Hurl ad hominem attacks at the straw man until no one remembers what the conversation is about.
The nice thing about this strategy is it’s freaking recursive. You can pretty much dismantle anything using this strategy.
Raise your hand if you saw people do this against something as basic as the scientific method. All of you? Yeah, me too. More than once.
So what do you do about that? I wish I knew. I know a lot of people who are probably shaking their heads right now: this is why they stay out of political arguments.
But I can’t shake the feeling that discussing politics is important. It’s what makes democracy work. It’s what unifies and builds consensus.
We’re going to have to find a way to get beyond Thunderdome.