Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Last-Ditch Attempt

Paul Falcone - 10/07/2004 11:54 AM

Obviously, I long ago wearied of trying to change any minds around here. I started to feel like the dorky kid at the back of the bus who everybody else is throwing gum wrappers at (waaaaaah).

But minds do change. Even liberal minds.

Try to read what follows with an open mind. I challenge you.

Michael Totten, well-known self-described liberal columnist from Tech Central Station, on The Liberal Case for Bush.

And Bill Whittle, writer extraordinaire, on Deterrence (Part I and Part II).

See if these pieces don't get some gears turning (in a different direction than the one you're used to). If not? I give up, and I'll bow out of here gracefully.

I've done everything I can.

Joe Code - 10/07/2004 09:10 PM

No need to bow out gracefully or otherwise. Almost everyone on this site has been that dorky kid at one time or another in our lives. One thing I've learned about that over the years is this: In every relationship it takes two. That goes for all relationships including the ones between dorks and bullies.

I have to say that this is one of the few times you've made an attempt at reasoned discourse on a subject that is so fraught with emotion. Most of the time your posts on these subjects have been that of an angry bully and sometimes I was the dork in your line of fire and it wasn't pretty. I understand my responsiblities for this relationship, but I think you should understand yours too.

This was a good post. I would like to see more posts like this from you. Reasonable, pointed, and not a hint of bitterness. In answer to your query, I have read the articles, but the arguments weren't enough to convince me that Iraq wasn't a blindingly huge mistake.

On another tangent, in the long run the many things we say here will not affect world events one bit, so it seems like a total waste of energy to even try to effect a complete change of mind. I remember years ago having a discussion with someone, who is a long time lurker & sometime poster to this site, who observed that when we were all younger we discussed just about everything without necessarily having an opinion. As we got older we changed from discussing things to merely stating our opinions. To some degree I think this is even more so today.

One final thought. You mentioned that "...minds do change. Even liberal minds." If we in the liberal bosom of this site are going to submit to considering a change of mind. You might like to consider that maybe your mind could do with a little changing too.

Paul Falcone - 10/08/2004 02:47 PM

Well, Joe, although I can see a certain anger coming through in some of what I've written on here, it's kinda hard to picture yourself as a bully when you're completely alone in your beliefs and everyone else seems to be marching in lock-step...

Some o' you Ranchers have known me long enough, and well enough, to know that I was at least as liberal as most of you once (if not more so). Aks my brother. Four things happened over the years that changed my viewpoints (gradually): my friendship with Steve Edgerston, who was always what I'd call a practical conservative; working for the US Navy during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian revolution; my marriage to Regina and subsequent introduction to many Russian immigrants, ALL of whom loved Ronald Reagan; and, of course, 9/11, which for me only served to cement many things I already believed by then about the nature of America's role in the world. The similarities between the present age and the onset of World War II are very disquieting. There is no doubt that we are at war with an enemy who is bent on our complete destruction, and that ultimately it's going to be either them or us. I don't see any way to finesse this, and it's not for any lack of trying.

As for me personally, I have no plans to ever become a Muslim. Most of you know that I've been a religious Christian for many, many years. I see what's happening in Europe, among the "dhimmis" who have lost faith in everything but their secularism, and I see that it's only a matter of time before Europe will be under the sword of Islam. I don't want to go there, now or ever--and I don't want my country to go there either. Think of what all our freedoms mean to you... think long and hard about it.

Joe Code - 10/08/2004 10:46 PM

I totally understand what you're saying about feeling completely alone in one's beliefs. I work in a small office that is filled to the brim with conservatives. (There just seems to be something about the freight business that brings them out of the woodwork.) There is one person there with whom I can share my views. He's about as conservative as they come but we're able to discuss touchy subjects because they're dispassionate conversations. We both recognize that there is nothing to be gained by getting in each other's faces.

Others there are not so circumspect. My boss is the kind of intensely passionate debater you often find in night clubs arguing a point whose subject shifts with the winds of the conversation. While I was a consultant there, he and I got into a near-knock-down drag-out that started out about how much money is wasted by PBS stations. It ended up with him impugning my patriotism because I dared to suggest that there are much larger corporate and governmental entities (ie. the Pentagon) that waste far more money than every PBS station combined.

My dispassionate co-worker's goal is to have friendly conversations with people no matter their stipes. He says he gets new insights into things he's never thought about before. My boss' single-minded goal (more of a pastime actually) is to utterly destroy his opponents in any discussion of politics, because he's always right and everyone else is always wrong. As you might have guessed I often engage the co-worker in conversation and avoid it with my boss like the plague; not because he's my boss, but because it's a waste of energy. (He's completely commited to freedom of speech no matter his relationship with his opponent.)

Now if I understand you correctly you feel alone in a sea of "lock-step" liberals. (I dispute the latter assertion, but we'll get to that later.) Don't take this the wrong way, but I have to tell you that from the way you respond to people on touchy subjects it would seem to me that you feel more like a cornered animal. Where others express a range of feelings and/or reaons for their diverse opinions, you tend to growl & bark (sorta like my boss). This does nothing to engage people or get them to be interested in the diverse set of thoughts you must have on the subjects at hand, and when one barks it invites others to bark back. If you respond to an article, on what many in the liberal cabal feel are very important non-9/11 issues, by writing "Who cares! There's a war on!" then you have no right to feel alone and/or angry when some of those liberals throw gum wrappers at you.

As to the "lock-step" crack: We've got every kind of liberal here at El Rancho Marfil; from DLCers to Naderites. We've got some fuzzy-heads, some bleeding-hearts, some working class heroes, some paranoid anarchists, and a smattering of moderates. Everyone of us thinks differently and if you see us as one voting block who all think the same thing then I would encourage you to dig deeper. We agree that big SUV's and McMansions are evil, but we do not agree on many many things related to Bush, 9/11, Iraq, and Islam. That's just how it is. We can be dispassionate in our discussions or we avoid each other like the plague. I for one prefer the former as it's a worthy goal that all old friends should strive towards: verbal discourse, staying in touch, and continuing to be friends regardless of our opinions.

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