Can Debate Happen on the Internet? *Quick Update*
Contradictory to Democracy
I believe we are losing or lost the ability or willingness to debate. We seem to be turning into an absolutist society. Jon Stewart talks about this in his book “America the Book” (A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction) about how the political party system discourages independent thought. The book gives the idea that such intractable platforms are contradictory to democracy. This is from a man who uses this very concept when it comes to his own beliefs. Ever since the tragic shooting at Sandy hook Stewart was on a nonstop gun control campaign turning his show into a platform for his views rather than a comedy show about the news. He now uses this platform for social reform including activism for 9/11 responders.
Talking at and Not With
We turned debates in our society from a place where each party can explain their views and discuss the differences into two and four-minute sound-bites. A style loved by most people on the Internet. It’s this “I am all right, and you are all wrong” mentality and the shock posters that make genuine internet debate impossible.
A shock poster or troll is anyone who will post to be funny at the expense of the thread (Hub) or post. Such an absolutist stance that actual debate is lost (“anyone who wants a gun is a crazy,” or “anyone who wants gun control should be shot as a traitor.”). Now I can see how people are fearful of debate. Here in Ohio (I mentioned this before), we had a debate over public smoking, which created a law that passed with the condition that private clubs could continue to allow smoking. Of course, the reality was that as soon as it became law, we saw that condition removed by the courts. This adds the idea that the gun control debate will start with magazine size and licensing and end with an amendment repealing the right to own a gun.
Now some of this debate is political with the idea that one party needs to oppose the other party. Republican media will twist any legislation or law proposed by the Democratic Party. Democratic media says any conservative measure is racist, sexist, homophobic, or just plain stupid. This last is why I dislike people in the media who use their platforms to say anyone who thinks different is stupid. They engineer TV shows, much like the old-time wrestling with obvious good guys and obvious bad guys. The inevitable ending of the good guys (him and his like-minded folk) beating the bad guys (anyone who would go on his show with an opposing view).
The worst of all is the typical Internet debate consisting of one or two ideas and many insults. The average debate follows the style of a five-year-old. The debates are all attitude with no real substance (I am right, and you are stupid. I’m Rubber, you are glue what you toss at me bounces off and sticks to you).
Are Modern Debates Worthwhile?
A public debate is more about the audience rather than the two (or twenty) debating. It’s up to the observer to keep an open mind and take in as much possible to make an informed decision. It’s not up to the debater to change your mind or even tell the truth (although that would be nice).
An internet debate seems to be more about an individual or entity using a platform to express their views for validation rather than debate. Groups use debate platforms to validate an opinion they already hold rather than verifying the validity of their belief. I guess the real question should be, are modern debates worthwhile?
- Four sides of the gun debate
The problem with the debate over gun control is the same as with any other debate today. No middle ground.
- Addictive Mentality
Is addiction a shortfall in character or a disease? Is it possible to have an addictive mentality where a person is addicted to everything they do?
- Today People Use E-mail
Today people use e-mail, instant messaging, and social media for everything. So the idea of e-mailing a doctor instead of spending all day on phone or visiting in-person seems antiquated and a waste of time. A doctor may think different about dealing
- The Idiocracy Prophecy
How Mike Judge’s Movie “Idiocracy” may foretell the future.