Take In Dissenting Viewpoints
Sometimes I read shit that I absolutely hate. It’s almost like taking an existential gut-punch just to prove that you’re open to other people’s opinions. I can listen to them, but damn, some of them are unpalatable.
Some of them aren’t necessarily bat-shit crazy, they’re just basted for thirty years of disenfranchisment in bile and hatred. It’s like someone taking a steaming dump in your psyche. Not nice.
It is a big effort not to exist inside an echo chamber, and I have gone to great lengths to make it so I engage with the world outside my own philosophical bubble.
I recently allowed a troll full reign in my Facebook threads in an effort to make sure that I didn’t shut someone down who had a different viewpoint. A friend who disagreed with him called him out, and he proceeded to insult him and try and bait him, asking him if he had been triggered. He did it to someone else. Then a friend told me they were reluctant to post because this person might turn on them, and I had to let the bully go; blocked from my social circle.
This guy, and his arguments, were backed up by other bullies with similar tactics — and this is seemingly how it went, onwards and ever onwards — jerk atop other jerks shoulders, ad infinitum, down into the mud. And the opinions were bullshit opinions justified by bigger bullies opinions, and no facts. I saw no facts — just assertions, and a feeling of being right. And I saw that logic failed to win these people over — that no matter how reasonable I was it made no dent on their beliefs. The weird thing to me was, this person would say something and I would counter it, and he would accuse me of having said something that I plainly didn’t say, and he would be off in the corner celebrating a victory in a conversation I wasn’t even part of.
Still — I persist; I go read these right wing papers. I read the objectionable comments. I see personal attacks on those who don’t agree, again the wobbling jenga tower of stacked bullies, and a refusal sometimes to believe that anyone could even contemplate disagreeing with them. Not all the protesters are paid to protest; people who vote against you in a democratic protest aren’t obstructionists — they’re exercising democracy. It is a painful exercise sometimes, beating your head against the wall until you get through to someone.