Friday, January 25, 2013

I Don't Find Shut-Up Persuasive

Recently, an induhvidual took exception to something I wrote.

It is my opinion that we all belong to different partisan groups, yet share an underlying humanity. And this underlying humanity does not change across the centuries.

Do you care what a scalawag Bobby Baker was? Unless you're older than dirt, you'll have to google the name first. Yet we shall appreciate the wisdom of "pride goeth before a fall" ten centuries from now. Though schadenfreude isn't a particularly nice thing, our ancestors did, and our descendants will, appreciate it as well as we do.

Thus when I speak of axe-grinding vs storytelling, I'm referencing the transient and the invariant aspect. And if I say something you disagree with because I'm a Whig, it's OK. In ten centuries nobody will care about it.

Ah, but if I say something you disagree with and it's NOT because I'm a Whig, but that I've engaged reality, and you are in denial of reality at that point? Then it's not OK.

Horace said you can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back. The Soviets worked in vain for decades to change human nature. Instead of creating the New Soviet Man, they created a continent-spanning Gulag. I'm not picking on Commies, because before they tried to change human nature the Spartans did the same by a program of child-rearing that we would characterize as ritual child abuse.

There are some laws you can break, and there are other laws you can only break yourself against. One of my favorite lines is "How's that working out for you?" When you engage reality, things work out, and when you deny reality, things don't.

If you think you can break the law of gravity, just give me a moment to get anything I care about out from underneath you.

If you disagree with me, feel free to engage in rational argument. I rather enjoyed the dialogs of Plato. Particularly useful was the civility of the various participants therein. Good behavior to model. I learn more from people I disagree with than from those who hold my opinions as gospel. (I don't even hold my opinions as gospel!)

However, if what you think of as rational argument consists of "shut up," go find someone else to troll. I'd rather talk to humans.

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