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Winston

The Righteousness of the Raging Moderate

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We all believe in something. Maybe a few somethings. You know you do. We all do.

So, why are there so many folks that proudly profess their "open-mindedness"?
Well, because the opposite of that is closed-mindedness. That's sounds ignorant, arrogant and exclusionary. And that is not you.

But if you truly believe in something, why maintain this front of "keeping an open mind"?

Sorry. I come from a different world view. I'm a fighter. If you don't agree with something that I think, it's up to you to prove me wrong. I won't simply back-down to avoid a conflict. That would make me weak, and keep you comfortable in your ignorance.
The free exchange of ideas can sometimes be very uncomfortable. So was learning to ride your first bike. Or going on your first date.
Ask yourself: At what point did you give-up growing and learning so you could be safe and comfortable?

The current vapid fašade that masquerades as "debate" is laughable. Our conversations are scripted by social norms that could have been written by a junior TASS editor. If you say the wrong thing, you have to spend a year or two in the Ad Hominem penalty box. And say 4,000 Our Gender Neutral Parentage, who may or may not be in a fictitious place called Heaven...
(Sorry. That was a bit oblique.)

And those of you that truly believe your own lies that you are "fair-minded", just listen to yourself. I bet as you profess your neutrality, your views still fall to one side or the other.

So, here's a crazy idea: Just admit you have an opinion. Be prepared to defend it. Be ready to modify it. And, if someone has a superior position, even be ready to admit defeat. If someone beats you rhetorically, that does not give you the right to attack them personally. What a person thinks does not make them bad. We don't have a statute for Thoughtcrime... yet. Be firm, agree to disagree. Shake hands. Then buy your opponent a coffee and go feed pigeons in the park together.

There are way too many pretty faces with silver tongues today. They 'win' arguments, and attempt to dictate policy through the soft tyranny of niceness. To Hell with them. I'm not buying their dumbed-down dogma. You shouldn't either. It's not as simple as "getting out the vote"... for your "side / tribe". As a citizen, you must do your research. Question others. Question yourself. Democracy isn't easy. But when it's done half-arse, the results are very, very hard.

We don't all have to like each other. But we do have to respect each other. Because we all have to live with each other.
In the end, the only wrong position is avoiding conflict for the sake of comfort. That is not morally or intellectually superior. It is cowardice.
Nothing less than the fate of civilization rests in your ever wringing hands.

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  1. dither's Avatar
    Winston,
    I'm all for agreeing to dis-agree but why does there HAVE to be conflict? I don't [NEED] to convince anybody of anything. So we happen have different views regarding a particular situation.Whatever. And yes Ill hear you out.
    Updated October 14th, 2018 at 07:26 AM by dither
  2. Plasticweld's Avatar
    I have an opinion on everything, just ask my family and friends. There is no greater insult than to accuse anyone of being moderate.

    Revelation 3:16
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

    I kind go with the concept that it's great to have an open mind until you're 20 or so, after that you're an idiot to not know what you believe, what you distrust or where your faith is, or just plan old know what is right and wrong This is called being an adult. Only kids can fane ignorance when it comes to the things in life that matter. As an adult pretending not to know, that is called being ignorant.


    I go with the concept that all good men are well loved and well hated. If no one hates you it only means you stand for nothing.

    Great post, sure to piss off anyone who believes it is noble to sit on the fence about anything.

    Please don't confuse being tolerant with acceptance. I am tolerant of many opposing views, it does. not mean I accept them! That the beginning of knowledge and civility.
  3. dither's Avatar
    I have an opinion on everything, just ask my family and friends. There is no greater insult than to accuse anyone of being moderate.

    I don't get that, I really don't.

    Yes, I have views but nothing concrete I don't think.
    This is the thing you see.
    "I don't think.". Dithering uncertainty.
    But that refers only to the here and now.
    My present state of mind.
    Maybe I spend to MUCH time, thinking, wondering, analysing, QUESTIONING even, what I think and why.
    And because I DO realise, that there are, very probably, might well be, well informed alternative views out there, while fully accepting that I am not the all-knowing nor am I the all-seeing, I much prefer to take a view than harbour strongly held opinions.
    But that's just me dithering.

    Reckon I'll take that easy chair on the fence.The life-long onlooker. I won't apologise for how I am. It is what it is.
    Life eh?
  4. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Thinking does not equal understanding. I am mathematical in my thinking, there is always an answer to the equation, not a maybe. While the problem maybe complex and it may take time to add up all of the parts, there is always a conclusion, always an answer.

    Actions in life or inaction always lead to something, there are always consequences, they maybe either good or bad. I am always astounded when someone is surprised at the outcome of how their life's choices got them where they are, . I don't get how more people don't see that.

    I do know this my life is very simple because of this philosophy.
  5. bdcharles's Avatar
    Why do we have to "believe" in anything?
  6. dither's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles
    Why do we have to "believe" in anything?
    Absolutely.

    But I totally accept what PW says about consequences. Can't argue with that.
  7. epimetheus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasticweld
    I am mathematical in my thinking, there is always an answer to the equation, not a maybe. While the problem maybe complex and it may take time to add up all of the parts, there is always a conclusion, always an answer.
    Godel's incompleteness theorem tells us for any given set of consistent axioms not all true statements are provable. And that's to say nothing of stochastic equations. If you are drawing inferences from mathematics shouldn't the lesson be there is a time to be certain and a time to be uncertain?
  8. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Try using GIT to prove anything false. Equal parts verses un-equal parts still equal a whole no matter how you divide them. There are no more pieces to the pie because you slice it into different sizes. You will never have more or less pie because you cut it up differently only different variables but no different outcome.


    To keep it simple you will burn your hand if you hold it over a flame. You will have a cold hand if you stick it in the snow. You can claim that if you stick your hand in the snow first you will not burn your hand, in fact you will just feel it later, the skins still burns only the feeling is delayed. Kind of like life you can mask a problem for a time, numb the effects, not change the results.
  9. epimetheus's Avatar
    I'm sorry, you've completely lost me on this one. Does this relate to mathematical thinking and the contention that all things have definitive answers, or are we talking about something else?
  10. Winston's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasticweld
    ...I am always astounded when someone is surprised at the outcome of how their life's choices got them where they are, . I don't get how more people don't see that...
    I know you get it PW. I just wish more folks did. Choosing to have no opinion means that you give your power to others. For some of us, that thought is sickening. For others, it's comforting.

    Why do we have to "believe" in anything?
    Well, I believe I will have a juicy steak for dinner, and not a bowl of slop. My son's girlfriend is a vegetarian, she will have a salad, because that's what she "believes" in (social conscious).
    You can parse words, and call those "choices". That's okay. I choose freedom over dependency. Joy over sadness. Triumph over apathy. Because those are things I "believe" in. And yes, some folks do choose to be apathetic, dependent sad-sacks. You can say that they do not "believe" in those things, but they do choose them by default.
    An open mind is great. A blank slate, not so much. Don't let others write on your chalkboard.
  11. bdcharles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    Well, I believe I will have a juicy steak for dinner, and not a bowl of slop. My son's girlfriend is a vegetarian, she will have a salad, because that's what she "believes" in (social conscious).
    You can parse words, and call those "choices". That's okay. I choose freedom over dependency. Joy over sadness. Triumph over apathy. Because those are things I "believe" in. And yes, some folks do choose to be apathetic, dependent sad-sacks. You can say that they do not "believe" in those things, but they do choose them by default.
    An open mind is great. A blank slate, not so much. Don't let others write on your chalkboard.
    Oh, ok, so ‘believe’ as in to support something, as opposed to being sure of its veracity. To me, all this believing, all this expressing and holding of views that humans do, is a simple symptom of our very basic desire for dominance. When someone tells you what they believe in, whether it be veganism or God or that information should be free, they’re not looking to address a problem or even to pull you round to their way of thinking. They’re looking to hump your leg, doggy style, and project strength. I would say this isn’t necessarily bad, but it is a thing that goes on and characterises much human interaction.
    Updated October 15th, 2018 at 05:11 AM by bdcharles
  12. bdcharles's Avatar
    With this:

    But if you truly believe in something, why maintain this front of "keeping an open mind"?


    Keeping an open mind isn’t about not clinging to a position. It’s about understanding how all the other positions came to be. One can still maintain a preference. Unfortunately though there comes a point - see Karl Popper’s ‘Tolerance Paradox’ - where keeping too open a mind can result in the loss, socially speaking, of the ability to keep an open mind at all. But equally closing one's mind causes a kind of siloisation in thinking which has its own problems. This is why I say that fence-sitting is the only real position for me. It allows me an overview of what’s really going on in all the little paddocks without becoming part of the drama. Others may thrive when surrounded only by their tribe. I get that, and it has value. For me, I am tribeless. I can dip in and out, but find that a more objective standpoint suits me better.
  13. Winston's Avatar
    This is why I say that fence-sitting is the only real position for me.
    I understand and respect that. Not because it is the "correct" position (morally or rhetorically) but because I personally value Freedom and the open exchange of ideas. For a healthy society, there must be thought and opinion all along the continuum of awareness. Regardless, at some point, you saw, and staked-out your position along that continuum. In your case, "in the middle". I understand this. What I do not fathom is the general apathetic and spineless "moderates" that blow like a leaf in the wind. They just land in the middle.
    While I usually prefer a steak, sometimes the smorgasbord is appealing. Inflexibility leads to a boring, unfulfilled life. Whereas over-malleable folk make poor choices, and proudly promote them.

    For me, I am tribeless. I can dip in and out, but find that a more objective standpoint suits me better.
    Reminds me of my high school days. I hung-out with the stoners, cowboys, jocks, brains, punks... I learned a lot.
    Today, I know what my "core values' are. I am tolerant and I understand positions that are opposed to my own. I do not embrace those positions, but I do not shun nor demonize the either.
    I find no need to (rhetorically) "hump anyone's leg". I am comfortable in my world-view, and welcome any informed challenge to it.
    My son is working on a physics project, regarding atomic theory. While talking with my boy, Fermi came to mind...



    Right and Wrong is not a moral judgement. Most often it is a simple fact.
    Updated October 15th, 2018 at 09:52 AM by Winston
  14. epimetheus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    Right and Wrong is not a moral judgement. Most often it is a simple fact.
    Fermi was talking about physics not morality. If morality is as objective as you say, we should be able to measure it the same way as we measure mass, for instance. By what objective metric do we measure morality? It should also be observed to follow certain mathematical principles. Which ones does it follow?


    Doesn't that Fermi quote counter your argument anyway? It's contending that in the subject of physics any lay person's opinion weighs less than Fermi's, i.e. a lay person should keep a neutral opinion in deference to someone who's actually studied the subject. Otherwise you end up with dangerous situations like a load of people fervently denying man-made climate change after reading a couple of web-pages, despite decades of research and evidence.
  15. Winston's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus
    Fermi was talking about physics not morality....
    First, civility. Welcome to The Writing Forums. Glad you're here.
    We used to "debate" here. That (sadly) is no longer allowed. But you mentioned "global warming / climate change". We can use that as an example.

    That quote by Luis Alvarez simply inferred that those with nothing of substance to contribute should not contribute. That was his opinion. I find value in that opinion.
    However, I support challenging "groupthink" wherever it infests itself. In the case of "global warming", the general public has been brow-beaten into accepting anthropomorphic climate change. The current "middle" position is that humans cause climate change. There is no deviation from the mean. Any variation from the accepted social norm is considered "anti-science" and heretical. No growth (personal or societal) can be accomplished by "parroting" the current accepted heterodoxy.

    The funny thing is, the "science" I am familiar with not only accepts challenges, it encourages them. Alvarez didn't want the input of "second-rate" opinions. He did not dismiss well formulated challenges.
    "Lay people" should never be quiet. They should educate themselves to the point that they can contribute substance to a conversation. Lazy, head-bobbing Yes Men should keep their ignorant pie holes shut. Alvarez was spot-on in that respect.

    The point of my blog was that there is no virtue, personal or civic, to being devoid of opinion. Well formed, articulated and tested thoughts are the bedrock of modern society. Those choosing not to participate have that right. Those "moderates" also have the responsibility to accept the consequences of their inaction.
    The real problem is that it isn't just the moderates that pay. We all do.
  16. bdcharles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    I understand and respect that. Not because it is the "correct" position (morally or rhetorically) but because I personally value Freedom and the open exchange of ideas. For a healthy society, there must be thought and opinion all along the continuum of awareness. Regardless, at some point, you saw, and staked-out your position along that continuum. In your case, "in the middle". I understand this. What I do not fathom is the general apathetic and spineless "moderates" that blow like a leaf in the wind. They just land in the middle.
    While I usually prefer a steak, sometimes the smorgasbord is appealing. Inflexibility leads to a boring, unfulfilled life. Whereas over-malleable folk make poor choices, and proudly promote them.

    ...

    Reminds me of my high school days. I hung-out with the stoners, cowboys, jocks, brains, punks... I learned a lot.
    Today, I know what my "core values' are. I am tolerant and I understand positions that are opposed to my own. I do not embrace those positions, but I do not shun nor demonize the either.
    I find no need to (rhetorically) "hump anyone's leg". I am comfortable in my world-view, and welcome any informed challenge to it.
    My son is working on a physics project, regarding atomic theory. While talking with my boy, Fermi came to mind...



    Right and Wrong is not a moral judgement. Most often it is a simple fact.
    To a point, we agree. If everyone was fence sitters, there'd be no point because there'd be no other opinions to cast an eye over, and very possibly little would get done. Likewise, if everyone was boxed into their tribes, there'd be endless conflict and little amity. We need each other because we can work together across these differences. That's why I often struggle with I'm-correct-and-they're-wrong statements. I suppose it ties into your notion of right and wrong being a simple fact. I disagree. In physics, yes, as epimetheus says, there is a right and a wrong. But to apply the physics model to a social system doesn't seem useful, to me because the variables are totally different. It presumes a unified theory where there isn't one (yet) so it's a whole different thing. But of course it sounds good. It carries the weight of conviction, a couple of scientific terms, and a couple of names. I wouldn't like to argue with someone who said that because I suspect I would be on the back foot. But there's my point. I wouldn't feel back-footed because the argument was necessarily more correct, but because the manner of delivery was more persuasive to my limbic system. That doesn't make it right; it just makes it more likely to creep over the threshold of my low-level understanding of the world. Such terms must therefore be a red flag because they're like a hack or a sleight-of-hand trick. I therefore have to wonder to what end people put forth such statements. What are they trying to do? Understand something? It doesn't seem like it because the answers are believed to be already there. The only conclusion I can come to is that it is simply our way of making our presence felt in the world - the leg humping in doggy speak. Everyone does it. Me. You. The old lady at the end of my street. Without it I imagine we would have died out long ago. It is part of being human. I simply reject the idea that it is a part of being human that represents any kind of objective reality other than our impression of ourselves and the impact we desire to have.

    But please don't take all this to mean I think that approach is somehow disingenuous. I write fiction. I hope that someone may pay me money one day to listen to a bunch of stuff that isn't true but yet is convincingly-portrayed, so clearly absolute correctness is not the only thing that's important to me. If I was in a city and someone shouted "run!" I would probably run. I may not know why. I may end up escaping a hail of bullets or I may end up bundled into the back of a van, but I would take that risk. There is a place for such an approach.

    As for your spineless moderates, that's where the choice of language gets me. It suggests a degree of disdain. Why do it? Do we think there is an insufficient amount of contempt in the world today? Or are you simply looking to consolidate your position. Everyone is trying to find their place and live their lives; to get by. In a world where there is a lot of pressure to adhere to a type - your jocks, your punks, your geeks, your stoners, rich kids and all of that, and it's great that so many find their place - I am interested, and I suppose I identify with, those that have no place, that feel rootless, that experience little kinship. So I suppose I type this not so much for your benefit; as you say you know your mind and your place along that spectrum, and more power to you, really - but for others who might read your words, and who may be struggling with their identity in what often seems like a rather hostile universe. They're not spineless, they're searching. Sometimes the search is quite desperate. I wonder if the statistics on male suicides, depression and anxiety, school shooters, crime and the like, attest to that.

    Good chat, anyway I've gone on a bit hehe.
  17. epimetheus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    First, civility. Welcome to The Writing Forums. Glad you're here.
    We used to "debate" here. That (sadly) is no longer allowed. But you mentioned "global warming / climate change". We can use that as an example.
    Are we allowed to discuss this then? I normally frequent science forums and this 'debate' would be considered tame and civil, so my sense may be different to the norm here. I'm not even yet sure we have a difference of opinions, or just of the language we use to express it. It seems you enjoy a good debate, as do i, so i'll continue for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    However, I support challenging "groupthink" wherever it infests itself. In the case of "global warming", the general public has been brow-beaten into accepting anthropomorphic climate change. The current "middle" position is that humans cause climate change. There is no deviation from the mean. Any variation from the accepted social norm is considered "anti-science" and heretical. No growth (personal or societal) can be accomplished by "parroting" the current accepted heterodoxy.
    The public has also been 'brow beaten' into excepting germ theory, quantum physics and a plethora of other theories. But no one complains about them. But people do complain about climate change evidence. I can only assume that this is because some people opposed to the evidence have a vested interest (we also see this with Creationists). Hence it has become a political issue. It should be a political issue at some point, but the evidence should not be. As you say, science is not a democracy. All this parroting should be an issue for politics, not science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    The funny thing is, the "science" I am familiar with not only accepts challenges, it encourages them. Alvarez didn't want the input of "second-rate" opinions. He did not dismiss well formulated challenges.
    "Lay people" should never be quiet. They should educate themselves to the point that they can contribute substance to a conversation. Lazy, head-bobbing Yes Men should keep their ignorant pie holes shut. Alvarez was spot-on in that respect.
    By all means question science, but there is a genuine problem with the complexity of the systems under investigation. I think it was Laplace who commented that science had become sufficiently complicated that an interested lay person can no longer fully grasp physics. That was in the 18th century. Now even the Nobel prize winning physicists wouldn't try to claim they grasp all of contemporary physics.

    I believe the strength of your personal opinion on matters scientific should be commensurate to the degree to which you have studied the subject (real study, not looking stuff up on wikipedia). Otherwise the manifestation is overly opinionated people like Deepak Chopra, who obviously hasn't studied physics to any real extent, advising people how to live on the back of quantum woo speculations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    The point of my blog was that there is no virtue, personal or civic, to being devoid of opinion. Well formed, articulated and tested thoughts are the bedrock of modern society. Those choosing not to participate have that right. Those "moderates" also have the responsibility to accept the consequences of their inaction.The real problem is that it isn't just the moderates that pay. We all do.
    I can only agree with this sentiment if there is provision for people to choose moderate views. Taking the migrant issue, many people have one of two extreme views: either all immigration is wrong, or curtailing any immigration is wrong. But there is the perfectly reasonable opinion that some immigration is good for any country but at some point it becomes too much and becomes bad for that country. But these moderate voices tend to get drowned out by overly strong opinions on either end of political extremes.
  18. dither's Avatar
    epimetheus,
    much of what you is way over my head but I like your tone.

    With regard to your question about debating in here. Some members, it seems, can become very abusive and insulting when their much loved views and opinions are challenged. Personally I don't mind a serious informed difference of opinion when the opinion in question happens to be mine. I might not agree with everything you say and vice versa but I can live with that.

    Hello and welcome.
  19. Neetu's Avatar
    I think, personally, that people cannot change the minds of others if they are fixated on beliefs. I also think I can often recognize when it is going to be futile to argue and prefer to not waste my energy. Sometimes, you sense that there is flexibility and openness on the other side, though they might be firm in their convictions, at least you know they're listening and you're not just yapping. In those cases, I would state my reasons for whatever it is I think is worth conveying and explaining. So really, openness and communication is a two-way lane. You can't go the wrong way on a one-way street. I mean, you can but you could end up damaged yourself.

    I have often disagreed with people. I have been battered by those who have taken offense. However, my real friends and folks who have a grain of decency and acceptance, will always earn my respect. Even when they disagree with me.
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