Thursday, July 10, 2008

What comes around

So, I have a confession to make. For a few months I was a commenter on a right wing blog. I know, I know, but hear me out. Here in SF I am surrounded by people who more or less agree with my more or less liberal viewpoint. I don't really do any good by *ahem* preaching to the choir.

So instead, I went on a proselytizing mission.

And let me tell you, the natives were having none of it.

Actually many were very nice and were willing to find at least some common ground. But others weren't. I was called a "liar" and an "idiot" and was eventually kicked off for being a general thorn in their sides. But I learned some interesting things while there, and I think we have to be careful that we don't do the same thing.

One is "post hoc ergo propter hoc," which I posted on there in latin just to get their panties in a wad. All this latin phrase means is that just because two things happen in sequence does not mean that the first thing caused the second thing. I guess it's sort of a first cousin of "correlation does not mean causation." I learned this because there were many (MANY) posts about how talking with "America's enemies" was a horrible idea, and for support, many of them used the example of WWII and how it would have been futile (or was futile if you were Stalin) to negotiate with Hitler (I also think they just like to bring up the Nazis for inflammatory effect). Now despite some very good WWII historians (and theorists) on the site, they didn't get that the fact that the lack or failure of negotiations in stopping WWII did not automatically mean equal "all negotiations with our enemies are fruitless."

Another good one I saw was result oriented thinking. In many of their posts talking about the shortcomings of Barrack Obama (who they repeatedly said was supported by Hamas) they listed "lack of knowledge/inexperience of foreign policy." When I asked them why this was now suddenly important to them now, when it didn't seem to matter with Bush in 2000 and 2004....well...I actually can't remember what they said, but something to the extent of well, NOW it's important and that W had really learned a lot. While I will say that W has learned some things on the job, he is still not the guy I want representing this country on the global front. He just called Berlusconi his "amigo," for pete's sake. How in the world can you now say that foreign policy experience is important when you voted for this frickin' guy? It's only important now because now it's the alleged shortcoming of the democratic candidate.

Come on guys. Think about it.

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