Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fighting Dirty with Facts and Rational Argument

I am a Facebook novice. I may never improve, as I haven’t found value in it beyond a ten minute daily diversion. Despite this less than enthusiastic embrace. Facebook has taught me a valuable lesson in less than two weeks.

Among my original friends when I signed up is someone I have known and liked for over twenty years. Let’s call him Moe. Moe and I have remained friendly, even though we have not seen each other in over fifteen years, and our political views have diverged as they evolved.

Moe is fond of posting conservative talking points on his page, which, as we are Facebook friends, end up on my wall. I was tempted a few times to tweak him about these, as they appear, unsolicited, on my page. (Example: When he commented that a June temperature of 54 degrees was proof against global warming, I chose to accept it as a tongue-in-cheek comment, even though he had previously posted strongly-worded diatribes about how anthropomorphic causes of global warming had been discredited.)

Last week he posted a link to an article about the Justice Department’s intention to enforce voter fraud statutes, and, possibly, to encourage the creation of a photo ID just for voting, commenting on how oppressive this was for native-born citizens such as himself. This moved me past the tipping point on my “Conservative Hypocrisy Disguised as Faulty Memory” index. I replied with a remark about how entertaining it was that conservatives were now against these measures, after either ignoring or encouraging them for eight years while their boy was in charge.

This got me flamed by a third party I never heard of, who cited the Democrats’ abysmal record on civil rights. Starting with “Robert KKK Byrd’s” opposition to the Voting Rights Act in the 60s, back through Orval Faubus and southern Democrats’ association with the Klan in the early parts of the 20th Century. My reply pointed out how Republicans are forced to refer to themselves as “The Party of Lincoln,” since ending slavery was their last appreciable act to promote racial equality.

That got me flamed again by the same guy, with more examples of Democratic offenses, the most recent of which was over fifty years ago. I replied again (sometimes I can’t help myself), this time noting that by his reasoning, Germans were all genocidal maniacs, the French were “let them eat cake” royalists, and Catholics still used the Inquisition to keep people in line. I also pointed out the lack of Republican outrage during the heyday of one of their own, Joe McCarthy, in the Fifties.

The following day Moe removed himself from my friends list. I guess rational thought and relevant examples have no place in current conservative discourse.

But, of course, anyone who follows the news even superficially already knew that.

(Note: The Facebook examples above are paraphrased to the best of my recollection, as the original posts disappear when the Friend link was broken.)

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