So I love traipsing through various blogs and reading what other people have to say (yes it’s a sentence fragment, whatever). I think it comes from my insatiable curiosity (yes I know what happened to the cat) coalescing with my love of language and being stirred by my love of learning. Anyway, while I was out, I came across this post on Notes from Evil Bender. In it the author (self-identified as ‘he’) pulls up an article on an apparently conservative blog about the prevalence of Marxists in US academia and points out the numerous ways that this essay wouldn’t pass a freshman composition class. So I pop on over to the post on American Thinker and read through it.
Both essays have valid points and logical fallacies (I’m not citing them because they aren’t the point of my post), but what kept me reading was the discussion that followed the American Thinker post (I think the Evil Bender post will probably pick up some more comments, but if not, what I compared it to in my head was the discussion from any number of posts on boingboing.net [which I enjoy reading for those who don’t read beyond this point]).
There were numerous comments on the American Thinker post about the stupid liberals and their anti-American thinking and unpatriotic actions, but when I got to comments like
“Global warming is the new Marxism – dogma masquerading as science, to use Mr. Pipes’ description. We are embarking on the establishment of a totalitarian state in the name of global warming.” (posted by jorod),
“Classic liberalism was long-since distorted to the point of being meaningless. To me the operative term most of the time is STATIST. Same idea as the original Marxists. Big government advocates who want more and more control of individual decisions, paired with the people who are willing to give the STATE power over their lives–in hopes of (fill in the blank).” (posted by BobG),
I began to realized that I knew this rhetoric and I knew it well, just not with all these words.
For jorod’s comment, substitute “global warming” for “the war on terror” or “freedom” and “Marxism” for something along the lines of “fascist,” and you have a recurring theme from comments on liberal blog postings on things like the US government putting RFID trackers in new passports or the US realID. And as for BobG’s comment, I could copy it onto the nearest liberal blog without changing anything and (provided the post was political) it would fit fairly well.
And that’s when it hit me that my parents have been right for my whole life – you get people who are far enough away on the political spectrum to argue about something and they circle back around so that they are saying the same thing – just starting from different points. And I think that’s why I love reading all these crazy posts on the internet. The conservative blog is yelling about the diminishing freedom of speech because of the crazy liberal media while the liberal blogs are yelling about how the puppet media assists in duping society as the government strips our freedoms. And both say that the other side is stupid and unable to reason their way out of a paper bag, but then complain that they can’t enter into a fair debate.
I think it’s fantastic that both sides appear so clearly in this wonderful medium. And while I may not agree with (or necessarily believe) everything I read on the internet, and especially the blogs I follow, I would never in a million years say that they should cease to exist or that the people who comment should get real lives. What’s more real than debating ideas with other people? I think it’s brilliant that I get to interact with these people and read their comments and watch them fight it out. The only part I wish I could change is best embodied in “Internet Argument” posted on xkcd where the scroll-over says “It’s easier to be an asshole to words than to people.” And that’s reason #642 why I love meandering through the wonderful world of blogs….