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Being against something does not tell anyone what you would do different.

November 1, 2009

Being against something does not tell anyone what you would do different.


I am often amused by the number of people who sit back tell others what is wrong with the world. We see them on the television; hear them on the talkback radio; read then in the opinion columns of the press and glance at their headers in the blogs. They often have no hesitation in telling others what went wrong and who is to blame. Often it is the same small bands of scapegoats and conspiracy theories that are being blamed. We are being told what the problem is but are we ever being told what the answer is?


When looking at the blaring headlines and emotive context of many passages I often wonder why some people choose to be so vitriolic. Were they taught that the most vitriolic language gets the most notice of the reader? Or do they think that an emotional reaction is the most appropriate response to complicated social issues? Perhaps they do not know that those who do fall for emotional diatribes are not the ones that are turned to for advice. In cold light of reason it is objective evidence that matters not how someone feels about a situation. Yet with a continuous barrage of anger and hate objectivity can be put aside as wild passions are triggered. It is no mistake that some people resort to insults and false accusations to make a point. They are going out of their way to provoke another person to react emotionally and the use that reaction as an excuse to justify their hate mongering. Emotion is being used as a diversionary tactic.


This not just cynical manipulation but it is an indication of bad writing. It does seem a waste when an intelligent person, having educated themselves can only manage to scream abuse in a literary tantrum. Why didn’t they attempt to lay the issue out in a clear manner? Where the evidence that can be verified and checked? Where is the causal link between the evidence and the conclusions that the author wants us to believe? Selecting evidence to match the argument is old, weak and easily dispelled. Entering into smear campaign of those who do not wholly agree indicates that the either the argument cannot be defended on its own merits or the evidence is questionable. In other words, the more personal the attack the more desperately worried the attacker is.


I have heard one person say when writing on a chat site, “The size of the font is inversely proportional to the validity of the point being made.” I watched the comments come through and I had to agree. I find the same issue with people who try to shout other people down. They want to be heard but they do not want the other person to be heard. What such people are really saying is that they want it their way or no way at all. They are essentially telling others to shut up and do what they say.


I have never been a fan of using a screaming match to make point because in the end it is nothing more than a bluff. The noise is made and the person is still not convinced. Even when facing difficult and tense situations I prefer to speak softly and carry a big stick (metaphorically of course).


I am not interested in winning people over to my side of an issue or to make disciples but I am interested in the why people think the way that they do. Are they thinkers or just ideologues? If they are ideologues, then do they understand the ideologies properly or are they just loyal to cause because of an emotional satisfaction? What is the cornel of their reason?


I can understand what people are against very quickly because they usually have no hesitation in expressing it. Yet I am often bewildered by how often people fail to provide a viable alternative to the institutes that they wish to deconstruct. They leave a crater of knowledge because nothing has been offered to fill the vacuum. This is the hardest part in any situation. The Vandals knew how to destroy Rome but they never built anything to match it. That is the true challenge. What is the solution to the problem? It is easy to sit around and play the cynical critic who judges all proposals and people unworthy of respect. Yet it is hard to put your own proposals up to be scrutinized. Perhaps that is why we rarely see answers.


I am not angry with people who cannot break out of the cycle of pouring scorn and derision. Nor do I lose any sleep over whether people agree with what I write. However I do find it rather amusing that so few people seem to have any answers at all. Instead they set out on a campaign with no plan to fix anything after all the destruction is complete. So what is their grand plan? Or is it all just noise and procrastination?

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