the pig likes it

There was one rule I used to espouse to others when entering into a flame war. “Do Not Feed the Bears.” It just keeps them coming back, doesn’t it? There’s a reason they tell you not to feed the animals when going through the drive-through safari. You may have seen the videos of the hoards of baboons scrambling to get into someone’s car after they made the mistake of rolling down their window to offer a peanut.

On the one hand, I should be grateful someone is reading what I write. But what to do when your new “fan” is someone whose time is occupied with “BLLARRGGHHH!!! DEMOCRATSARETHEWORSTEVAR!! OBAMA’S THE MOST FAILED PRESIDENT OF ALL TIMES!!!! HE’SCORRUPTANDEVILWE’REALLDOOOOMMED!!!!!”? So what if they’re the only person to date who’s ever thought enough about my blog to leave a comment?

It’s like, “I really like what you say, it strikes a cord with me. By the way, I molest children.”

Perhaps that’s an extreme analogy, but when you’re dealing with someone form whom the Biggest Threat to OWL (Our Way of Life) is gays marrying, well, there’s not much reason you can interject into the discussion.

There’s a part of me, a part that I’m finding difficult to let go of, that still believes there’s something, some phrasing, some analogy, some way of illustrating the situation, some fact, that’s just waiting to be said out loud, because the other party just hasn’t heard it or considered it, and suddenly the lights will go on – there will be that “aha!” moment and all will be clear. I’ve been trying to do that with my mother for more than 40 years, and it hasn’t worked yet. Sometimes the reason train runs express and doesn’t stop at every station.

My first inclination, of course, is to wade into the fracas with, “but you realize Bush…” but that would immediately equate me with these very same people who responded to any criticism of George II with, “b-b-b-but Clinton…”

It doesn’t matter how faulty their logic, you cannot win an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” argument.

There really is no argument to win – and that’s the issue. I had classes in how to argue in college. (Well, to argue anywhere, not just in college.) It was actually called Critical Reasoning and Argument. An “argument” makes a Claim, supported by Grounds and established with a Warrant. See, “reasoning” was the key. An argument was only valid when no one could refute your grounds or find fault in your warrant. We spent more than half the class covering fallacies – the ad hominem argument, the “appeal to authority,” the straw man, etc. (there are scores of them) – or faulty reasoning. (or not reasoning at all.) Like all logical tests, you just have to find one instance – no matter how far-fetched – where it doesn’t work to invalidate it. The grounds, or “facts,” were often left to interpretation.

See, Logic doesn’t tolerate hypocrisies. If it’s right, it’s right, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I have very little compassion for the hate-filled hearts that are white supremacists (OK, none). But I do feel poor little Adolph Hitler and Aryan Nation should be returned to their parents. It doesn’t matter than some would like to see the parents beaten with pipes, the state, so far, hasn’t provided adequate grounds for removing them.

Likewise, President Obama has taken an oath of the office – he’s sworn to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution. It doesn’t matter he exact wording used. It doesn’t matter what kind of bible his hand was on, if it was on one at all, or which hand was raised. For 8 years we were told, “he was elected, he’s president, suck it up, deal with it.” Yet now it seems open to discussion.

There’s another aphorism that goes, “you’re the one who ends up stinking if you get into a fight with a skunk.” The point of dictionary definition argument is to resolve conflict – to present ideas to come to agreement. There is nothing to be gained from endlessly hurling “you suck!” “no, you suck!” at each other. Put another way, what do you get when you get into an argument with an idiot? Two idiots. You’d be better arguing with the cat you just ran over that it shouldn’t be dead, or with the rain that it shouldn’t be falling out if the sky.

There are some, unfortunately, who revel in the slugfest. They’ll hurl barbs and insults, the more outrageous and unfounded the better, for the whole point of getting you to enter into the pissing contest – but only to point out to their compatriots how “unreasonable” you’re being. And that’s the point of all this. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.

(I ended up replying to the thread anyway. They set the bait and I took it. I’m weak that way.)

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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