On “respecting others’ opinions” and “acting like adults”

Judy Paris, responding to criticism about her saber-rattling nonsense concerning the the Iraq war, wrote in a comment below:
“We try to discuss issues like reasonable adults who are allowed to disagree but try to respect each other’s points of view.”
Judy’s comments about respecting other people’s points of view are nothing but lip service. Allowing others to have their say isn’t the same as respecting their opinion. She and I would both be bald-faced liars if either of us claimed to respect the other’s viewpoint when it comes to a number of things but especially when it comes to the war.
Judy has repeatedly claimed, to the point of self-parody, that people who disagree with her about Iraq JUST DON’T GET IT, are ignorant, have blinders on, don’t want America to win (whatever “winning” means), et cetera. While I’m perfectly happy to use the same terms in describing others, unlike her I explain why I maintain that something someone says is dilapidated. I consider evidence or at least an attempt at producing it an important element of advancing a viewpoint, and Judy indulges in neither. Everything she writes is predicated on raw emotion and, I would guess, old, poorly healed wounds driven by personal anecdotes.


Judy prattles on about prayer and things that are completely beyond the reach of reasonable discussion. I haven’t seen her come out and write “because it’s in the Bible” directly, but she has played around the fringes of that too-common non-answer, and anyone who uses it immediate self-identifies as a failed rhetorician. There’s no wiggle room there. If you predicate ideas about policy on the unseen and the beyond unlikely, you’re a crater-headed fool.
I can claim something is in Peyton Place the Penthouse Forum so it must be (or should be) legal or true or both, and Judy et al. would be right to laugh. Defenders of godlike constructs will say the Bible isn’t like those other books. I’ll say, you’re right, it’s several thousand years old and demonstrably false, incoherent, and grandly irrelevant on a page-by-page basis — at least porn mags and trash novels were created in modern times. I’ll ask for evidence that anything in the Bible is useful or trustworthy and the adorers of Christlike creatures will roll their eyes and say “We’ve heard that demand before,” thereby supplying the world’s oldest, most treasured shuck-and-jive.
People will always be welcome to say anything they like here, and this blog’s history bears this out. But they can expect to be hectored if they dodge arguments. Poor counterarguments are better than none, at least in the short term.
Judy and many others yell about the need to keep fighting a war that long ago ceased to either be fruitful or have a specified or even a vague objective, and when challenged on these matters they simply ignore the challenge and talk over it, just as Judy and her fellow GraniteGroksters did when spewing crap about gay civil unions.
Know what? I don’t like anything about this war, and I do have friends in Iraq. I was an officer in the Army reserve for several years and did not spend my time smoking pot and tying doo-rags around my and other people’s heads. I don’t like terrorists of any creed and enjoy when they are taken out by any means. The Middle East is, for most purposes and from my distant perspective, a percolating mass of human waste and I look forward to the day when oil is gone and the crazed leaders of those sandblasted nations are forced to return to a bedouin existence. But these things do not define what the U.S. is doing and why, and Judy and other right-wing conduits of jingoism are simply not diverse enough observers, for lack of a better term, to appreciate this. They are just the kind of reactionaries the Bush administration — which has made lying with or without a smile its stock-in-trade — creates and caters to.
In summary, the Fudd brigade starts with the idea that they are right not because evidence favors them but because they simply are; even more ludicrously, they make it clear that counterevidence cannot budge them. I freely admit that I don’t “respect” such “thinking” and can’t imagine why anyone would. This is distinct from thinking Judy or anyone should be mistreated or silenced or maligned in their day-to-day lives when minding their own business, but that’s just teh rub — there’s nothing to suggest that their busy schedules of getting in everyone else’s business allows them sufficient time to focus on whatever their intrinsic concerns might be.
As a result of Judy advertising herself as a clueless, muckraking shrew, she’s going to attract people like me who will insist that facts and fair-mindedness — not intestinally generated aggression and ersatz patriotism of the sort that makes Americans look like mentally challenged hyenas to the rest of the world — be allowed to prevail.

12 thoughts on “On “respecting others’ opinions” and “acting like adults””

  1. Nobody respects anyone else’s opinion. If you really respected an opinion, you would adopt it. What you repsect is their right to have that opinion, even if it’s stupid.

  2. “The Middle East is, for most purposes and from my distant perspective, a percolating mass of human waste and I look forward to the day when oil is gone and the crazed leaders of those sandblasted nations are forced to return to a bedouin existence.”
    This is a silly statement. Consider the economic and political progress of India, Argentina, and South Korea – which themselves might have been similarly written off – in the last several decades. And the diversification of Middle Eastern economies would be a boon, stimulating them to develop their human capital and reform politically.

  3. I’m no Middle Eastern scholar, Colugo, but the countries in that part of the world seems distinct from the once-written-off nations you list in that they seem to have literally nothing but petroleum to bargain with. Even if they can throw off the chains of theocracy and a colossally unbalanced economy in which 90% of the wealth is held by 1% of the people (or so), what’s next?
    I’d love to see stability there just as I would everywhere, but it seems that there are unique reasons that justify a perfect storm of pessimism when it comes to the M.E., at least today.

  4. I’ll say, you’re right, it’s several thousand years old and demonstrably false, incoherent, and grandly irrelevant on a page-by-page basis — at least porn mags and trash novels were created in modern times.

    You appear to be arguing seriously that being “created in modern times” has something positive to do with the value of the thing created. I suggest that the date at which something was created is irrelevant to an evaluation of its value. Adding in its recent much more recent creation date to the value of, say, a hula hoop, doesn’t bring it any closer in value to the discovery/invention of, say, the technology required to make pottery. Being new doesn’t in itself add to anything’s value, and being old doesn’t, in itself, detract from value.
    Or maybe you were making an off-the-cuff snark, not offering a serious principle for evaluation.

  5. “Being new doesn’t in itself add to anything’s value, and being old doesn’t, in itself, detract from value.”
    You left out the relevant permutation — that being old, in itself, doesn’t, in itself, add to anything’s value.
    Bible boppers love the argument from antiquity. It’s one of the reasons that Christians can look at Mormonism, which only an idiot or a brainwashing victim could buy into but is no more ridiculous on its face than other forms of Christianity, and write it off as a cult phenomenon.
    I would argue that any media element created in the last 50 years is far more likely to be relevant to modern U.S. folkways, laws, customs and norms than an ancient book of faery tales crafted by who knows how many nomadic desert goat herders, but the take-home message is that the Bible and its limitless array of atrocities and falsehoods is the furthest thing from a relevant or useful guideline for anything unless it’s read very selectively — and if one strips out (ha, ha) enough of the content of Penthouse, heck, it’s probably a font of morality too.

  6. You left out the relevant permutation — that being old, in itself, doesn’t, in itself, add to anything’s value.

    Why, no, I didn’t leave that out. You left it out. You said, “at least porn mags and trash novels were created in modern times.” Now if I say that a coat is old, but at least it’s warm, that means that for coats anyway being warm is superior to its opposite, not being warm. If I say the new toaster doesn’t handle bagels, but at least it’s cheap, that means that being cheap is superior to its opposite, being expensive. When you say of certain writings that that at least they were created in modern times, that, by the normal structure of English, says that being created in modern times is a virtue greater than being created in earlier times.

    I would argue that any media element created in the last 50 years is far more likely to be relevant to modern U.S. folkways, laws, customs and norms than an ancient book

    But are all these media events more likely to be relevant to modern US folkways, laws, customs, and norms than the US constitution, which is considerably older?
    Yes, I know you’re expressing distain for the Bible, and I don’t mean to be side-tracking you from that. But when you imply that age itself is a relevant factor in determining value, I have to call you on the illogic of that.

  7. Gee, that’s funny but when I read the clause “grandly irrelevant on a page-by-page basis” I immediately assumed he was implying “irrelevant to today” in terms of offering practical advice or even an entertaining story. I didn’t in any way assume he was making the point that just because something is old it is useless or that something new must be better than something old. I think you’re reading more into this than intended.

  8. Kevin, have you tested what Judy has said? Have you proven or disproved them? Who do you trust for reporting on Iraq, and have you verified what they said?

  9. Julia, you seem to be one of those people with either a rogue browser plug-in or some kind of malware that renders blog posts in a vastly different way than they are originally written, perhaps adding and omitting material semi-randomly. Let me see if I can help you out here; I can only hiope what I write appears on your mintor in its native form.
    The Bible is a veritable clearinghouse of errors, cruelties, and contradictions. This alone is sufficient reason to disregard it as a guiding element in the realms mentioned. But its very antiquity is indisputably a contributing factor to its far-flung goofiness.
    The people who wrote the Bible aren’t to be faulted for merely being a product of their times, but they clearly lacked the means of knowing what are by modern standards the very basics about astronomy, biology, and everything else in nature. So in this case, the fact that the Bible is 2,000 years old is a liability. This has nothing to do with its religiosity and everything to do with the simple fact that a tome that old making sweeping claims about the workings of the universe is certain to be less reliable than one written today, all else being equal. We’re not talking about an old coat or toaster that still serve their purposes, we’re talking about knowledge itself — not a static quantity.
    I don’t think porn rags are useful for framing laws, but my point is that they are no less irrelevant than the Bible. My “…but at least they’re modern” comment was basically a throwaway afterthought of the “come-to-think-ogf-it” breed – it’s indisputably true that Penthouse magazine is more on target every month than the Bible could be about various facets of society. A trivial example — you might learn from Penthouse who won Super Bowl XXXVI, or at least that there was such a contest, but you won’t learn this in the Bible. You’ll probably discern where it’s legal to stick your pee-pee and where it isn’t. My lesbian grandmother appears to have swiped all of my issues of Penthouse in her crass dotage, so I can’t verify this, but you surely get the point.
    Do you get it now? I don’t think it’s a complicated matter: Old is not always bad, but as far as the Bible goes, old contributes to bad.
    Because you only show up when Judy herself is at issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re merely taking the pee-pee out of me because you’re upset at my mocking the Bible but are loath to admit as much; after all, you seem too coherent to be reaching far into your arse for analogies that are at best superfluous and at worst corrupt and inept. I could be wrong, and won’t assume you are a stealth Bible fan unless you confirm as much.
    Anyway, I hope you can let this go now, because you’re putting everyone else at risk of becoming as addled as you appear to be. WHEEEEE!
    Alan: As with many things, I can’t rule in facts about the war at this point, I can only rule them out. What I do know is that Judy and those like here are supporting a serial liar. Intelligence-gathering has been ramshackle, aims woefully unclear, progress murky to seemingly nonexistent. Judy doesn’t offer anything testable anyway, as far as I can tell. She just rants that anyone questioning the war effort doesn;t get it and is probably a commie or somesuch. That’s not much to bite into.

  10. Kevin, have you tested what Judy has said? Have you proven or disproved them? Who do you trust for reporting on Iraq, and have you verified what they said?

    Yo

  11. I can only hiope what I write appears on your mintor in its native form.

    Or possibly not.

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