Friday, October 31, 2014

Ironic memes, conversation killers, and stochastic terrorists

Part of the irony here (meme below) is that the criticism expressed by the meme is generally the kind of criticism used to stifle conversation.  It's the kind of criticism that screams "You're an idiot, you're argument is invalid, I don't have to listen to you, so I win!" 

The quote is generally the kind used by left-wingers to emphasize the point that education is important for empowering the people.  It emphasizes that the actions of tyrants is to destroy education - exactly, I will point out, what the right-wing have been doing since the time of Sainted President Reagan. Hell, Reagan was pretty much a one-man war on education, and George W. Bush upped the ante in the War on the Poor (like he did on so many things) with his "No Child Left Unscrewed" program.

So,
  • we have the irony that a wonderful quote, admonishing people to be educated as defense against The Tyrant, is attributed to a person possibly even more vile and sick than Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly (stochatic terrorists that they are). 
  • We have the irony that the guy pointing this out - being a smugass that he is - acting out the role of The Tyrant by being a conversation-stifling mocking jerk, as measured by the yardstick that his remark adds nothing at all to the conversation, but instead brings the conversation to a grinding halt and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of anyone not feeling like a selfish smugass prig (e.g. the rejoinder writer).
The morale of the tale: don't be a jerk. Conversation is important. The ability to be respectful while talking with someone is a sign of maturity. It is not a sign of weakness. Being respectful does not mean agreeing - there are many ways to respectfully disagree, and adults are very good at it.

Children - and jerks and tyrants bent on stopping conversation - confuse (or conflate) the argument with the person presenting it, thus making what should be a discussion about ideas into mere personal attacks.

Personal attacks - character assassination - are not valid ways to win an argument. They are merely ways to reveal you are too stupid to have an argument; that you can't win, so you try to undermine your foe instead. It's the post-pubescent verson of "Yeah, well you're a poopy-head!"

So, next time you hear someone like Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O'Reilly say "She's a whore and wants to get paid to have sex!" remember he's really just saying "I'm too stupid to refute her discussion points like a grown-up, so she's a poopy-head!"