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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

uncletim wrote:

"sweetie" is a bad name? I need to get that waitress fired she has been calling me that for years


It's dismissive, particularly when you are arguing with someone. And you said it to be dismissive. In case you didn't get the message from everyone else: you sound like an ass.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

uncletim wrote:

"sweetie" is a bad name? I need to get that waitress fired she has been calling me that for years


Context matters. Personally, I don't care for it when waitstaff address me in that way even when it seems they address pretty much everyone that way, but it's not something I make a fuss about. I generally interpret it as well-meaning and intended to be warm and friendly or as a verbal mannerism that is of little consequence in the customer-waitstaff encounter most of the time.

In many situations though, calling someone with whom one does not have a relationship of endearment "sweetie" comes across as condescending and belittling. In a political forum discussion it's hard to imagine it as anything other than dismissive.

If you truly did intend to convey warmth and friendliness then this would be a good time for you to learn that it does not come across that way at all.

But, this train of meta-discussion is getting off-topic. Let's move back to just discussing Ben Shapiro (in the meantime I'm reading through the whole thread to follow up on an earlier report, after which I may have more to say).

ETA: Okay, I'm not deleting anything at this time or taking further action because I feel others have made points I would have made and hopefully it's sinking in a bit. I probably won't be as lenient next time though, so please read through your posts before hitting "Post Reply" in the future, and be mindful of your tone and adjust as necessary to maintain a respectful discussion, even when disagreeing with others.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:
Words take up argumentative and mental space. You could've said something more directly calling uncletim out; you instead said something of the popcorn-munching variety that could easily be seen as referring to what I said as well. What you said was indeed misleading in that respect, because it redirected the focus. This is similar to why people argue that they have to respond to certain comments, so that they aren't "left unchallenged". I think it important to point out how communication is much more than how it appears on the surface, and I really hate popcorn-munching. Though I should say I wasn't trying to imply that you commented after uncletim called me names, as I was aware that wasn't the case. But I should have made that more clear. It's true that I dislike your argumentative approach as well (though by "allies" I mostly had Harvey Weinstein in mind), but there is obviously a huge difference in that, unlike uncletim, you are honorable and know what you're talking about.


If I was popcorn munching, I would have been an arse and posted a gif of said munching. No offense, but it feels like you're looking for a problem that isn't there. What I said is a pretty well known reference with a pretty straightforward meaning. That meaning being exactly what it says on the box. I think I've been fairly clear as to my opinion on the state of these forums before and it has never been one of popcorn munching. It's been one of frustration and exhaustion with the level of crap that has gone on here in recent times and for the record I include tim in the crap I'm referring too.

Making assumptions about the feelings or intentions behind simple text on the internet is always walking into a potential pitfall.

As for me being argumentative; I typically only get argumentative when dealing with the same ridiculous arguments from the same people for the 47th time in recent memory. If I'm on my 48th round of having to explain why Nazi's are bad or how brown people are actual human beings too then yes, I do get snippy. If I'm on my 49th round of debunking the exact same false argument from the same person then yes, I do get snippy. I think that's a relatively human response.

However, that's frustration or weariness. It's not a desire to troll or stir shit up or otherwise plunge a thread into chaos.

But, anyway. Before lorreen starts "trimming". How about that Ben Shapiro? >.>




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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

runec wrote:


If I was popcorn munching, I would have been an arse and posted a gif of said munching.



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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

ronin99 wrote:
Here we have a case of a liberal showing their true colors.This is quite common in nature as a liberal can only hold their virtuous and progressive facade for so long.When confronted with an argument they can't win, they will resort to sexism, racism and bigotry.The very things they claim to be against.


What runec said in response is right - hypocrisy and evil are egalitarian, as as are their opposites. The point one can make, though, is that ideologies can lend themselves to hypocrisy, especially when they diminish self-awareness. Nietzsche famously - and scandalously - leveled this criticism at Christianity, and it was so effective that this particular suspicion of religion is now widespread (though I don't mean to imply he was the only cause). These days ends-justify-the-means reasoning in politics is turning everyone into a hypocrite, and while in reality it's probably a tossup as to who's worse, I tend to think it's the liberals, as I'm closer to them. They've forgotten what the real left is: the whole point is to be suspicious and self-aware of all structures, not to be suspicious of the other side's structure while shielding your own.


Cydoemus wrote:
My sibling is a bandwagon Shapiro follower and decided that it was best to "challenge" me on some of the things that he's said over the last year or two.
Which, of course, prompted me to nose-dive right into the bulk of his articles and podcasts.
The bolded part of the above quote summarizes Shapiro quite nicely.
He isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, nor does he approach things in the "pure factual mindset" that he pitches himself to do so, either.


Thanks; I recently made a friend who's a big Shapiro fan, and his constant "facts" and "logic" enthusiasm has that particular nails-on-a-chalkboard quality. But I wasn't really able to arrange my thoughts on it coherently until I wrote them here. Thank you as well, zxchzch, for the thread. I hope you don't mind that I don't really like Shapiro - and do read some of Jonah Goldberg's stuff.


GrandMasterTime wrote:

Do you believe Ben Shapiro is using your definition of "feelings" when he employs it?

Do you believe the world would be better or worse without Ben Shapiro?

Who would you suggest the average American listen to in place of Ben Shapiro?

Edit: So in further reading, I assume Jonah Goldberg would be your replacement but do you think the average American would be able to understand his writing in a similar fashion to you?


Cydoemus did a good job answering these - especially your clarification of what we mean by "feelings". It did occur to me that I wasn't careful with how I was using that word; this might end up repeating what he and I already said, but I think I can put it differently in a way that might help:

Let's try to define what Shapiro means by "feelings" to make his argument as strong as possible: I think when he says that facts don't care about our feelings, he's referring to the visceral, unhappy reaction we have to being told we're wrong about something, and what he means to do by saying that is shame people into facing that feeling by telling them they're lying to themselves about the world if they don't accept that they're wrong. It's an effective and sensible tactic, because we want to think of ourselves as coherent and right about things, and we generally accept that if we're wrong about something we should be corrected, as long as it isn't too painful.

The first thing to notice is that this is precisely directed at feelings. The feelings are in the way of Shapiro's facts, and he cares very much about that, so his facts do as well. But that's not what I wanted to get at.

Now: how easy is it to be completely wrong about something? And by completely I want you to take the strongest sense possible: not only are you completely wrong about the truth of the matter, your reasoning and motivation for believing your wrong opinion is completely wrong, and how you fit it into the rest of your life is completely wrong. I tend to believe that people are all horrible, so I have little problem with the notion that all of these things could be mostly wrong. But we aren't so stupid that we're entirely wrong about everything. If, say, I'm a black person feeling insecure at Shapiro doing some kind of takedown thing on police brutality (this is a hypothetical; I'm not in fact black, and I don't know if Shapiro makes such arguments, but I don't think it sounds ridiculous), that insecurity isn't there because I've been misled about everything I believe about the police for my entire life. No, there's something real there - a fact! Oppression of and violence against black people has existed for centuries, and keeping that in mind is quite important, especially for my safety. What's more, my feeling - that visceral, unhappy reaction to being wrong about police brutality - comes directly out of that fact and is precisely what keeps it in my mind. And Shapiro's takedown, however true it is, doesn't get rid of that fact. It might lead me to temper my opinion of whatever Shapiro is takedowning, but the feeling - and its corresponding fact - stand strong. And it should stand strong, because it's how I - how we all - hold on to the facts most important to us.

But here the underlying fact of oppression of black people was true; consider some other hypothetical where the underlying fact turns out wrong. Was the reason for believing it also wrong? If there was any kind of legitimate reasoning behind believing that false fact, that's the place where our feelings are likewise legitimate. This isn't to say that all feelings are good: Evil feelings (however you want to define that) can go against the truth of the matter in addition to being horrible, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of our feelings are at least selfish, if not evil. But Shapiro doesn't say facts don't care about your selfish and evil feelings. I'd be surprised if he even cared about distinguishing between types of facts and types of feelings. As far as I can tell, he just wants to go after the people who feel insecure at his takedowns. And even if he intends to be more careful than that, the slogan "facts don't care about your feelings" is purposefully not careful about it. And I can guarantee that Shapiro doesn't have an ironclad, emotionless reason for any of his takedowns. Choosing things to argue based on your feelings, while simultaneously claiming to be unswayed by emotion, promotes hypocrisy. Thinking that one can reason and argue unswayed by emotion is wrong and dangerous in and of itself.

Like I said in the first place: the universe is huge, so it doesn't care what we think about this or that datum in an endless sea of information. But the curated set of facts humans talk about does care about what we think, because we made it ourselves. Rather than pretending we can get out of our mess of feelings, I think the better principle is "watch yourself": what are your feelings, and in what direction are they taking your reasoning?
Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17
He's a pretty smart guy, its a shame hes on the wrong side.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:

I tend to believe that people are all horrible, so I have little problem with the notion that all of these things could be mostly wrong.


I think you believe people are mostly horrible because you value authenticity so highly. For all the seeming pessimism of what you are saying, it is your (misplaced) idealism that I think is the cause.

About the rest of what you said, I have no comment, as I haven't listened to Ben Shapiro speak. Based on what I've read here, I don't see any reason for that to change soon.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17
This is getting long, but I can't not respond to PV now that he's here:


PeripheralVisionary wrote:
Essentially, I currently hold the view that trolling isn't a form of political participation, it is simply one being an asshat, while patting themselves on the back for doing nothing, or rather, contributing nothing of value. Being inflammatory kills discussion to create echo chambers, and given the rise of Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter type pundits, this is a very successful strategy to gather followers, but not inspire thinkers.


Unsurprisingly, you took this exactly where I wanted it to go, and it helps me answer GrandMasterTime:


GrandMasterTime wrote:
Edit: So in further reading, I assume Jonah Goldberg would be your replacement but do you think the average American would be able to understand his writing in a similar fashion to you?


Honestly, I don't know, but I'm fairly well-read. I mean, Goldberg isn't crazy over-your-head; he can be if he wants, but he uses that primarily for humor, which is how it should be. (Honestly, what I like most about him is his writing style.) It's just that his conservatism is more complex than most. You'll understand what he's saying; you just might have to spend more than the average amount of time thinking through it, because he argues from a different place from the average popular conservative pundit. You'll also learn who Ron Jeremy is (among other things), if you didn't know already. My life was certainly enriched by it.

Anyway, I think a reasonable view of the world ought to be complex. One of the things I don't like about Vox is that it claims to make things readily understandable: read this "explainer" or "card pack" and you'll understand well enough that the rest doesn't matter. It can teach you how things really work. It exudes certainty, which is far more elusive than some kind of How It's Made politics episode. It's the same kind of sterility as Shapiro's, though it is smarter. Even calling something an "explainer" irks me. See, I think the problem is that American individualism encourages us to think of knowing stuff and being able to argue about it as a primary aspect of being a good person and engaging in society. Because if you can't argue and you can't defend your opinions, you're not wise to the plan of the just or the scheme of the unjust, and the American identity revolves around self-determination in advancing the cause of freedom. That's just part of the American lore - a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. These are good things, but not everybody can do them. I have no idea what a good tax plan is, though I probably don't like whatever the Republicans just did (or are still doing? I don't know all the details). And there are tons of other things I have no idea about. And, you know, I'm not a dumb lady. But if we define ourselves off of this or that set of opinions, and we greatly value being able to argue about them, we're going to turn a huge fraction of society into raging partisans who have no idea what they're talking about. We'll get addicted to the news and social media, gathering as much information as possible, and we'll get more depressed and more angry the longer we keep going at it. This is why my prescription is for people to shut up. There's no shame in not knowing something, and expressing political opinions is only one of myriad ways we contribute as citizens. As long as we continue to value real listening and understanding, there will be plenty of people who understand things; that's how this government was supposed to work, anyway. Though I'm not sure we really value listening and understanding anymore.

So perhaps the average American might have trouble reading Goldberg; it really depends on what the average is. But I don't think it's socially healthy to expect everyone to understand politics well.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

mittemeyer wrote:


auroraloose wrote:

I tend to believe that people are all horrible, so I have little problem with the notion that all of these things could be mostly wrong.


I think you believe people are mostly horrible because you value authenticity so highly. For all the seeming pessimism of what you are saying, it is your (misplaced) idealism that I think is the cause.

About the rest of what you said, I have no comment, as I haven't listened to Ben Shapiro speak. Based on what I've read here, I don't see any reason for that to change soon.


Yes, I do admit I'm something of a romantic. Though, as this is an anime forum, I should do what I usually do when I talk about people being horrible and refer to the Tsukihi arc of Nisemonogatari. Really all of Nisemonogatari is about this, but it all comes together at the end. It's not the deepest thing in the world, but I like it.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:
What runec said in response is right - hypocrisy and evil are egalitarian, as as are their opposites. The point one can make, though, is that ideologies can lend themselves to hypocrisy, especially when they diminish self-awareness. Nietzsche famously - and scandalously - leveled this criticism at Christianity, and it was so effective that this particular suspicion of religion is now widespread (though I don't mean to imply he was the only cause). These days ends-justify-the-means reasoning in politics is turning everyone into a hypocrite, and while in reality it's probably a tossup as to who's worse, I tend to think it's the liberals, as I'm closer to them. They've forgotten what the real left is: the whole point is to be suspicious and self-aware of all structures, not to be suspicious of the other side's structure while shielding your own.


I would disagree it's the liberal side of the spectrum given where American politics are at the moment and who the right choose as leader of the free world. There are virtually no principles left to be head in the current Republican party and literally nothing they won't condone to maintain power ( See Roy Moore ). If you want an easy example: Voices on the Left(tm) called for Franklen's resignation and/or ethics investigation. Voices on the Right(tm) called for Franklen's resignation and/or ethics investigation but insist up and down that everything similar on their side is Fake News(tm).

As I've said it before, there's a reason "Both sides are bad so vote Republican" has been an ongoing political joke for years now.

As for suspicious of the other's side structure while shielding your own vs suspicion and self aware of all structures; That sounds more libertarian than liberal?


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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:

Yes, I do admit I'm something of a romantic. Though, as this is an anime forum, I should do what I usually do when I talk about people being horrible and refer to the Tsukihi arc of Nisemonogatari. Really all of Nisemonogatari is about this, but it all comes together at the end. It's not the deepest thing in the world, but I like it.


I haven't seen it. I come here just to read the forums. I'll remember to watch it the next time I feel like watching something though.

It may not strike your fancy, but Middlemarch--to the extent a novel can be about anything--is a novel about how people, in spite of their intellectual leanings, learn to be practical. Otherwise, they pay the consequences.

It's not directly relevant to our discussion, but I'm reminded of Alisdair MacIntyre's analysis of virtue in After Virtue. He memorably calls the virtues skills that must be practiced if they are to be acquired. I might not agree with everything the book says about the failure of modernity and the need to return to a traditional worldview based on Aristotle, but his analysis, with respect to what you've said about authenticity, seems germane here. Virtue, to MacIntyre, is not a quality that springs forth spontaneously from the individual, but must be tempered by judgment and experience if it is to have an effect in the world.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

mittemeyer wrote:

I haven't seen it. I come here just to read the forums. I'll remember to watch it the next time I feel like watching something though.

It may not strike your fancy, but Middlemarch--to the extent a novel can be about anything--is a novel about how people, in spite of their intellectual leanings, learn to be practical. Otherwise, they pay the consequences.

It's not directly relevant to our discussion, but I'm reminded of Alisdair MacIntyre's analysis of virtue in After Virtue. He memorably calls the virtues skills that must be practiced if they are to be acquired. I might not agree with everything the book says about the failure of modernity and the need to return to a traditional worldview based on Aristotle, but his analysis, with respect to what you've said about authenticity, seems germane here. Virtue, to MacIntyre, is not a quality that springs forth spontaneously from the individual, but must be tempered by judgment and experience if it is to have an effect in the world.


Unfortunately, you should watch Bakemonogatari first, as it sets things up. Though I'd say it's worth it.

You are the second person to recommend Middlemarch to me. (Or perhaps you were the first, and I forgot?) It sounds like the perfect thing to punctuate my current reading, which is getting too philosophical.

Speaking of how philosophical my reading is, I actually don't know all that much: What do you mean by authenticity here? It's true that I think we deceive ourselves (both consciously and unconsciously) about our motives, but it's not like I think we can hit the bottom and find our true selves if we're just careful enough. There probably is no bottom, as I don't think we're coherent beings. If what you mean is that I think we can recognize how inconsistent we are and compensate, I do think that, but again, who knows how good we'll be at it. Amusingly, Nisemonogatari is also about authenticity (well, fakeness, but close enough).
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Posted 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:
What runec said in response is right - hypocrisy and evil are egalitarian, as as are their opposites. The point one can make, though, is that ideologies can lend themselves to hypocrisy, especially when they diminish self-awareness. Nietzsche famously - and scandalously - leveled this criticism at Christianity, and it was so effective that this particular suspicion of religion is now widespread (though I don't mean to imply he was the only cause). These days ends-justify-the-means reasoning in politics is turning everyone into a hypocrite, and while in reality it's probably a tossup as to who's worse, I tend to think it's the liberals, as I'm closer to them. They've forgotten what the real left is: the whole point is to be suspicious and self-aware of all structures, not to be suspicious of the other side's structure while shielding your own.


Bingo. That brought back shivers from my undergrad film class. I can still remember taking a neutral stance on social science discussions and getting this 'shun the conservative alien look' from most the class/professor. I'm not Liberal for the sake of being Liberal and I could care less about Liberal libido measuring contests.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/5/17
Liberals aren't leftists, guys.
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Posted 12/4/17 , edited 12/4/17

auroraloose wrote:

What do you mean by authenticity here? It's true that I think we deceive ourselves (both consciously and unconsciously) about our motives, but it's not like I think we can hit the bottom and find our true selves if we're just careful enough. There probably is no bottom, as I don't think we're coherent beings. If what you mean is that I think we can recognize how inconsistent we are and compensate, I do think that, but again, who knows how good we'll be at it. Amusingly, Nisemonogatari is also about authenticity (well, fakeness, but close enough).


Ah, in that case, thanks for clarifying. I presumed that you might think something like a "true self" is possible, when in fact, as you say, self-deception about our own motives is never far off for people. Interestingly, Nietzsche believed that we have no true selves, and that a certain hypocrisy is not simply likely, but necessary for a person to continue functioning. He thought this was due to forgetfulness, without which we would simply be paralyzed by our rationality. His answer was a kind of hyper-rationality that not merely acknowledged our failure to be consistent, but celebrated it, through a relentless honesty that could encompass all viewpoints, which he called perspectivism. He was honest in the sense of acknowledging what is true, regardless of something's place relative to personal preconceptions, and also in the sense of being honest about what we ourselves truly wanted. To the extant that the latter was something that came naturally to human beings, self-deception was simply a part of the never-ending process of self-creation that Nietzsche so valued. One might say a person's tendency to deceive oneself is sublated, in Nietzsche's thought, as part of his transvaluation of value.

Nietzsche also read George Eliot, and liked her, even though I don't remember how the criticism of her work had a role in his thought. George Eliot is known for engaging in extended philosophical rumination in her narration, and, in Middlemarch, she takes pains to describe people in terms of what they think and believe as part of her portraiture. George Eliot herself was extraordinarily well-read, and much influenced by Carlyle's philosophy of history. It is the historical vision in George Eliot's novels that almost takes a role in deflating her protagonists' ideals. People are contingent to the times they live in, and in George Eliot's novels are depicted as subject to those forces that compel them to abandon their youthful idealism.

I don't think I was the one who recommended Middlemarch to you, although as you can see, I'm something of a fan.
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