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Reposted from Frustrati by Brown Thrasher

After discussing topics with those of contrary opinion here, I often come away with the distinct feeling that "I know the other person is wrong, but I really don't want to continue discussing the topic because they're acting like assholes and they aren't really teaching me anything anyway."  I come here to engage in discussion which involves persuasion -- in Habermas's terms, communicative action -- and I don't really care very much about anyone's desires for combative interaction, though if you piss me off I might occasionally be tempted to say so.  (Yeah, so what.)  So here are some tips on Internet persuasion -- designed more or less for -- and intended more or less to weed out those who aren't really worth a response because they've shown they're uninterested in persuasion.  

(CAVEAT: Discussions and debates are fundamentally based on desires, and for the most part the desires which find their expression on the political Internet are based on opinion-confirmation. is designed so that people can come here to find opinions with which they agree -- generally a sort of conservatism-with-a-liberal-face (in the sense in which Erving Goffman used the term "face") -- so they can cheer for their side as if were perpetually engaged in some sort of debating "sporting" contest against RedState or something like that.  That's not a meaningful reason to have a website -- it's a reason which has to be adorned with all sorts of other reasons to give it meaning.  For the most part I've decided to work around it in my participation here.   A better reason for having a website from my perspective would be to find out the truth about politics, and to decide upon some sort of appropriate set of actions to deal with that truth.  But this isn't my website.  At any rate, please just keep in mind as you read this that is not network TV, and that we are neither Tom Brady nor Russell Wilson.)  

The whole opinion-confirmation thing evokes in me an apathy as pure as distilled water.  I'm not interested in cheering on my side of the debate, but rather in improving what counts as "my side."  At any rate, here are what, to me, count as a list of prerequisites for persuasion.  

Think of this list of tips as like a list of old edicts proclaimed long ago by a Roman Emperor.  If (in the historical record) there appeared an edict against a particular activity, say for instance Honorius's edict of 397 CE against the wearing of breeches of barbarian design, this tells us, today, that a lot of people were in fact wearing breeches of barbarian design back then.  If it had to be prohibited, that means it probably happened.  By the same token, if the blusterers here once failed to persuade in a particular way, their specific failures will be recognized in the tips for persuasion suggested here.  At any rate, here are my tips:

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Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 03:37 PM PDT

Excuse me. Words matter.

by LaFeminista

Reposted from LaFeminista by mahakali overdrive Editor's Note: This is definitely about language and rhetoric! -- mahakali overdrive

Israeli soldier kidnapped?

Israeli soldier feared kidnapped as IDF names 2 others killed
LAST UPDATED: 08/01/2014 17:34
Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin named as presumably abducted officer; IDF names Maj. Benaya Sarel and St.-Sgt. Liel Gidoni as Givati soldiers killed in attack.

In many newspapers and media around the world [BBC, Telegraph] the words abducted and kidnapped are being used to describe the actions by Hamas against an occupying soldier.

Everyone seems to be calling for his immediate release.

The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has denied capturing a missing Israeli soldier after Barack Obama, the US president, called for his release as a precondition for further ceasefire talks.

The UN also called for the release of Goldin. In a statement, a spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, said: "The [UN] secretary-general demands the immediate and unconditional release of the captured soldier."

Hamas deny capturing him  and say he died as a result of the conflict
"We lost contact with the group who made the suicide mission near Rafah after it was done. And we believe everyone in this group was killed by an Israeli air strike including the Israeli soldier who the Israelis are talking about having disappeared."
Now I suppose how you regard this latest conflict.

1] As a war.

2] As a police action against an occupied territory

I cannot find in the western press how many member of Hamas that have been "abducted" or "kidnapped" by Israel in the current conflict, certainly nobody has called for their immediate release; just the number of prisoners taken.

The army arrested some 270 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the week of the ground invasion there. A senior IDF officer said most of them were released when they were not found to be members of militant groups.

The IDF gave no information about those still in custody or where they are being held. The Shin Bet security service is interrogating about 20 of the prisoners, who are denied access to lawyers.

The use of words matter, the Israelis and they take prisoners, whereas the Palestinians  kidnap Israeli soldiers even if these same soldiers are occupying Palestinian land during the conflict. This reasoning then follows; Hamas use human shields, Israel use a technological shield which the US helps pay for. Palestinians elected to choose a terrorist government to protect them, whereas Israelis elected one to ensure their security.

Now both governments involved in this conflict were  elected, both governments seem to have military forces albeit somewhat mismatched so it would seem to meet the criteria defining a war. Certainly the leveling urban areas by terrestrial, aerial and naval bombardment would seem to support this hypothesis.

So why are one side taken prisoner, as in prisoner of war and the other side abduct and kidnap? Why is their global demands for the release of one and silence with respect to the other?

Propaganda pure and simple and the use of words seems to be coordinated to legitimize one and delegitimize the other. One side has the right to self defense the other has the right to be occupied. This has been the story for generations in the Israel Palestine conflict, one side has certainly won the propaganda war as well as the territorial one. No wonder one side feels abandoned and abused.

I will repeat myself, there seems to be a real need to change the dialogue if peace is to be achieved in the foreseeable future. There needs to be a real change in the way words are unequally applied, I am sure if I called the IDF terrorists there would be quite a lot of objection, if I termed their taking of prisoners kidnapping, many would object.

Personally I hold the vicious warmongers on both sides with utter contempt, I regard killing as murder no matter what  tortured reasoning is employed. This also goes for our own vicious warmongers at home and others around the world. The use of self defense has been misused far too often to justify naked aggression both recently and historically. Perhaps it is necessary to find other words that fit the reality better?

If we change the words used perhaps there is hope that the dystopian reality is changed.

Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Brown Thrasher

Republicans are more effective in using emotionally evocative language than Democrats usually have been. They've taken the lessons consultants like Frank Luntz has taught them to heart. Democrats and Environmentalists think enumerating facts that support our arguments is enough to be more persuasive than our opponents, when its proved insufficient in our recent efforts to create national policies that address Global Warming in a meaningful way.

Now a new poll sheds some light on why our calling it Climate Change makes it seem less urgent and a less compelling reason for making substantial changes to the status quo.

Americans care deeply about 'global warming' – but not 'climate change'
Yale researchers have found that the two terms, often used interchangeably, generate very different responses

By Suzanne Goldenberg

New research released on Tuesday found Americans care more deeply when the term "global warming" is used to describe the major environmental challenge. "Climate change", in contrast, leaves them relatively cold.

The two terms are often used interchangeably but they generate very different responses, the researchers from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications said.

“Those two terms get heard and interpreted in very different ways,” Anthony Leiserowitz, a research scientist at Yale and one of the lead authors, told The Guardian. “The choice of these two terms really does matter, depending on who you are talking to.”

The term “global warming” resonates far more powerfully, triggering images of ice melt, extreme weather and catastrophe. Mention “climate change”, however, and many Americans begin to disengage, the researchers found.

The researchers found naming the issue as “global warming” rather than climate change made it easier to connect. Americans in general were 13% more likely to say that global warming was a bad thing.

The differences were even more pronounced among Latinos, African-Americans, women, and young people.

So spread the word. Calling this unfolding catastrophe 'Climate Change' makes people's eyes glaze over. We need to call it 'Global Warming' instead.

Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:06 PM PDT

Just make a cogent argument

by LibrErica

Reposted from LibrErica by Brown Thrasher
ad infinitum
I guess I don't spend enough time around here to understand what all the hullabaloo is with there being an apparent schism between the left and the center (? I'm sort of guessing that this is in fact what some perceive to be true).

I keep seeing diaries that reference this or that group being told to STFU and this or that group accused of doing 'nothing but whining' and this or that group claiming that the other group will be sorry when the one group leaves, or is kicked out.

It's appalling that people can so easily be turned against each other. Whatever our differences, we are progressives - our successes will only be achieved together.

But the truth is, if you make cogent arguments, that will speak for itself.

If it's not out of line, I would like to post a refresher on how to make a 'good' argument (as outlined by Aristotle).

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Reposted from sujigu by Brown Thrasher

I've hated philosophy since high school.  My favorite subjects in high school were History and Mathematics.  Those were the two subjects I felt you could truly "know" something about the real world.  I know, I know, you can talk to me all you want about the philosophical basis for both of those subjects, but I was 16, ok?  You see, as part of my high school program, I had to take a class called "Theory of Knowledge."  How do we know what we know?  What is knowledge?  Why does this class feel like it makes time stop?  In all honesty, it was a great exercise in critical thinking, but we had to read some Plato, Aristotle, and a bunch of other philosophers who annoyed me.  I never knew why they annoyed me until today.  

The reason I bring this up is the maelstrom of controversy surrounding the "Turn Away the Gays" bills and the dismantling of state bans on gay marriage.  As the bans are dismantled and thrown away into the dust bin of history, we will see more attempts by the fundamentalists to use Far Right Libertarianism as their sword and shield to discriminate against gays and to avoid having an honest discussion about why their religion is as messed up as it is.   Far Right Libertarianism was the philosophy of the states rights crowd who wanted to go back to the good ol' days of discriminating against blacks and reinstating segregation, and the religious right will now tread down this dark path for their own ends.  

We will see if these "religious freedom" bills will ultimately be seen as constitutional.  Many on here think they will not.  Some people fear that the religious right will find some cunning means of pushing through their agenda.  I did some research, and found out that for the Civil Rights Act, the government used its powers to govern interstate commerce as a means of saying that it can tell a private business it has to serve Black customers.  I had always wondered what the legal reasoning was for the government to regulate a private business.  I'm not a legal theorist, but this makes me think that there must have been some shift in legal theory that departed from the puritan libertarian thinking of government as some alien force that must be limited, to a natural aspect of society itself with the expressed purpose of ameliorating it. With respect to preventing discrimination against Blacks in the private sector, I think the reasoning that undergirds the government's ability to do so is the fact that Black people cannot choose to be Black people, they just are.  

                                     We are getting to "Is-Ought" I promise.

"Wait, huh?  Where did you get that from?" you might be saying to yourself.  It occurred me to me that the fight for gay rights boils down to the fact that gay people are gay just like Black people are black.  Maybe not 100% the same (environmental factors during development and social factors), but if being gay is an intrinsic aspect of a person that is not alterable and occurs naturally among human variation (there is a genetic factor), then if you are discriminating against gays, you are just doing it because the holy book says for you to do it, not because you are protecting the innocent or because you are protecting people from their own bad behavior.  

                       Okay, okay, what does this have to do with "Is-Ought?"

Well, I was watching a debate between Lawrence Krauss and William Lane Craig on the idea of "something from nothing."  Craig argued that because "something cannot come from nothing," that God's existence was inevitably logical.

                   Statements like these made me hate philosophy.

As far as I was concerned, Craig had no right to make the statement because he has never observed "nothing" and tested to see whether something could come from it.  He basically just did a thought experiment.  He decided it was logical, with no basis whatsoever to think so, then derides his opponents for not seeing the wisdom of his knowledge.  William Lane Craig is one of the most disingenuous debaters there is and his logic is often suspect, but he likes to use his knowledge of philosophy to catch his opponents off guard.  For example, when Lawrence Krauss began to state ways in which religions state ethics without regard to facts, the host reminds him of the "Is-Ought" fallacy.  You cannot logically derive what one "ought" to do from the way something "is."  This idea was formulated by David Hume who wrote:

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence.
Religious people take the "Is-Ought" fallacy a bit far (in my opinion) and conclude that ethics and morality can not logically be deduced from facts, but instead have to come from a celestial referee, i.e. humanists and secularists have no logical means to determine good from bad.  Secular ethics are relative because their "oughts" have no logical basis and therefore cannot be knowledge that all humanity can share.  Hume is simply stating that if you are going to go from an "is" to an "ought," there had better be a logical bridge to explain your journey.  That doesn't mean such a bridge does not exist, it just means you have to build it and not rely on a reader's bias to make the connection for you.  

Does this work in reverse?  For fundamentalists (and coincidentally, authoritarians), one has to start from an "ought" and then the "is" will magically appear.  Take gay marriage.  According to fundamentalists, God does not like human beings engaging in homosexual acts because Leviticus.  Don't gimme the "effeminate" in the New Testament, or else we'll be forced to play the Bible game :)  Now, if God says homosexuality is bad, it must have a reason right?  We don't see it now, but it must be there, or else God would never ban it.  Right?

Gay marriage opponents will argue in Michigan the "is" that is derived from their "ought."  Gay marriage ought not to be allowed because kids raised by gay parents are somehow abused.  Gays are pedophiles.  Being gay is a health risk.  Being gay is unnatural and not a normal sexual function.  Being gay is a result of a poor upbringing, dysfunctional parents, or some other aberrant environmental factor.  Above all, being gay is a choice.  We ought not to allow gay marriage, because all of these things are true and we deem them to be "bad."

What subconsciously frightens people who are conservative is the nagging realization that the "is"'s that derives from their "ought" are not true.  Homosexuals are not child molesters.  Scientific research has shown that gays are a naturally occurring section of the population.  There is a genetic factor to being gay.  You can be gay and have been raised by happy heterosexual parents just as you could from being raised by the Mansons.  Any negative effects that children raised by gay parents may show is actually the result of a society that rejects gay people.  

If being gay is little different from being Black, then you'd have to accept the fact that your God does not make moral prescriptions based on facts, but out of capriciousness and spite.  Your God would have to damn people from birth or force people into lives of suffering and deprivation for its own personal amusement.  You'd have to make humanity a dysfunctional family of favorite sons and daughters and red headed stepchildren.  

I actually brought up this point in my philosophy class as I was debating a Mormon.  He was very offended at my suggesting that his God damned people from birth, but if you start from moral prescriptions and say that W X, and Y are true and bad, so therefore we must ban Z, then if W, X, and Y prove to be untrue, then where the heck did your god get Z from?  The debate ended, and the Mormon guy was pretty mad by the end.  I'm not the world's most cordial debater, but if you're going to tell me I have no basis for my morals, then where the heck do you get yours from?

This is the battle the gay right's front has to be won on.  It will reveal that there was no morality to the ban in the first place and will help all people realize that there is nothing wrong with letting love flourish in our society, whatever form it takes.  

Reposted from workingwords by workingwords

Those who want to understand how human mental processes subconsciously affect our actions - and to think about how this can impact political perspectives - may want to read this article at the Scientific American website.  No doubt, big money interests are already at work seeing how to use this kind of research to influence public opinion.

The basic concept is this: Our minds have associations, some of these are not literally accurate but do influence our choices.  By activating some kinds of associations (such as drawing attention to a person's heart which is commonly spoken of as dealing with emotions), you can make that person more likely to make choices based on emotion.

Consider this from the article:

In a similar vein, freeing yourself from perceived constraints may indeed facilitate “thinking outside the box.” [...] scientists tested participants' creative thinking while they literally sat inside or outside a cardboard box. Other participants either walked freely or along the path of a rectangle. Subjects who were outside the box in either sense scored higher on standard measures of creative thinking.
Might it be possible to activate some similar association while talking to people who usually think inside the box of tradition and existing patterns?  If we could make their minds more comfortable seeing over the wall of tradition, they may be less resistant to what we say.

In any case, it seems an area worth exploring to see how social change advocates could utilize it, and to get a better idea how the corporate forces will be taking advantage of it.

Reposted from JosephK74 by mahakali overdrive Editor's Note: This seemed just right for this group in its unique discussion of propaganda. -- mahakali overdrive

This diary began as a comment responding to a comment in Ray Pensador's most recent diary on how propaganda controls people and ballooned into a diary of its own.  While I do not at all discount the power of propaganda-- or, as it's called in critical theory circles, "ideology" --to control people, I do think we have a tendency to overestimate the power of distorted beliefs to control people, thereby overlooking far more powerful things that compel people to tolerate oppressive conditions.  If this is true, then it has significant implications for what political activism should be engaged in seeking to produce a more just and equitable society.  Follow me below the fold to see what I have in mind.

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Reposted from Frustrati by Cassiodorus Editor's Note: War rhetoric! -- Cassiodorus

I am of course referring to William Rivers Pitt's must-read piece in Truthout, "It's Not War, So Stop Saying That."  Pitt has some incisive things to say about the defense of the forthcoming war against Syria, so I'd highly recommend a reading.  Here I am going to perform a rhetorical reading of Pitt's piece.

Rhetoric, from Merriam-Webster Online: "the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion."  There is of course also a pejorative definition: "a type or mode of language or speech; also : insincere or grandiloquent language."  Either way, the folks in Congress are claiming some degree of expertise in the subject, and it's plain that our politicians have all studied hard and are hoping to pass the final exam with what they've got.  

So what's important about Pitt's analysis?  Let's start with the idea of a "rhetorical reading."  The important thing here is that political utterances all contain important justifications.  The key element is what Aristotle calls "appeal" -- and here I'd urge you to look at the list of appeals given in the Purdue Writing Center's look at Aristotle's "Rhetorica."  Here I would argue that the important appeal in play in justifications of a forthcoming war against Syria is "telos," or purpose.  Oh, sure, none of this rhetoric has any sense of "logos" because it's all self-contradictory as hell.  But that doesn't explain its attempt at appeal.

Unfortunately, Pitt is too dismissive.  But we can read his piece against the grain to determine purpose.  Here's the thesis statement for Pitt:

Secretary of State John Kerry made it abundantly clear during a congressional hearing on Tuesday that he is ready to ask someone to be the first to die for a mistake, and did so with a barrage of gibberish so vast that it bent the light in the hearing room.
But Kerry looks so dignified!  You of course caught Pitt's historical reference above:

... though of course Kerry isn't asking for US involvement in a ground war, unless he is.  So maybe the analogy doesn't fit, unless it does.  Anyway, all of the things Kerry mentioned have no doubt happened, and will continue to happen, in Syria, and the US has no plan to make the atrocities stop, unless it does.

Look, Kerry isn't being disingenuous when he says:

that the president is not asking America to go to war by asking America to flip missiles and bombs into Syria, because it totally won't seem like war to us.
because this is how war actually seems.  Unless you're really, like, involved or something, war is just a video game.  But this is just the start of the rhetorical games!  Pitt then directs our attention to another important Kerry utterance:
On Wednesday, Kerry's appearance at a House hearing on the matter added depth and breadth to the gobldeygook from the day before. At one point, he informed his inquisitors that a number of Arab countries were more than willing to foot the bill for the whole shooting match.
Here Kerry is saying "look!  Rich people!"  Now if some rich person offered to pay for something very expensive for you, would you turn them down?  Of course not.  Because who doesn't like rich people who buy stuff for you?

And then there's this William Rivers Pitt point about rhetoric:

But it was President Obama himself who deployed the line to beat all lines during this demented catastrophe of a rush to war. During a presser in Sweden on Wednesday morning, he actually said with his bare face hanging out for all to see that, "I didn't set a red line, the world did," regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
So the idea is: clothe yourself in the world-community's principles, and then claim to embody them.  I think I've seen this rhetorical tactic before -- in fact I know I have!  From 1:18 to about 2:14 of this clip from the movie "National Lampoon's Animal House":

And then you have John McCain's try at rhetoric:

On Wednesday morning, McCain made it clear that, though he would love nothing more than to drop ordnance on Syria, the wording of the Senate resolution wasn't appropriately bombastic. To secure his vote, he was allowed to add amendments declaring that it will be the policy of the United States to "change the momentum on the battlefield," even though there can't actually be a battlefield because this isn't actually war.
Now, unfortunately Pitt ridicules this sally like the rest.  But you've got to admit that McCain has tapped into an important sentiment here.  Battlefields and war suck, but victory is fun, so let's change the momentum on the battlefield.

Or maybe it's that the politicians' confidence is in what George Carlin stated some time ago: we like war.

In summary and in conclusion, William Rivers Pitt's recent piece in TruthOut has shed significant light on an important aspect of the forthcoming war against Syria: rhetoric.  If you know the right techniques, the versatility of your message can be vastly expanded, and this more than anything will make victory without war possible in Syria.

Reposted from A Frayed Knot by Brown Thrasher Editor's Note: More on informal fallacies. -- Brown Thrasher

I wrote another diary -- all about how it's very human to be anti-Rationalist and how there is one form of anti-Rationalism that is actually healthful -- but that was so boring that even I decided that I'd rather grade papers than read it. I then thought that I could return to the "know a fallacy" series and do one of the hardest ones of all, "Begging the question," but, unfortunately, I have seen a great deal of arguing by analogy lately, and I think -- if only to avoid seeming to insult people -- I might help the community more by explaining this common but elusive tool/weapon.

First, I need to establish that analogy is not wrong.

Portrait of the pedant as concerned citizen.
We've all got to look like something.
Drawing an analogy is normal, necessary, and potentially useful, both for building language and concepts and for furthering propositions. John Locke, in chapter XI of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, explains the fundamental nature of "fancy""imagination""wit." Nearly every philosopher after would agree that humans know by using one innate ability to spot similarities and one to spot differences.

What's more, analogy is fundamental to language. Truly novel experiences are incommunicable. I'm sure you know Wittgenstein's famous, "That which we have no words for we must pass over in silence." How we get those words is by expanding and linking sounds and ideas by analogy and negation. In fact, humans might well be homo analogous for the quickness at spotting similarities.

Fellow bolo fur Wie it's a Fall lassie, two.

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Reposted from Rachels Hobbit Hole (on Daily Kos) by Brown Thrasher Editor's Note: Debunking a favorite talking point of religious bigots. -- Brown Thrasher

To some people, that will be an obvious observation; and to others, a hideous lie. Still, it shows up so often that it needs saying. The concept of hating the sin but loving the sinner is a duplicitous crock, a sort of polite doublespeak intended to rationalize and sanitize hateful behavior. It's a transparent endeavor, and yet one that has, surprisingly, remained popular among the religious. Many people say, and some genuinely believe, this tripe. But what truth is there – can there be – to it?

Consider it's application today: largely in relation to gay rights. It shows up now and again with some of the religious right's pet topics, but it's rare to hear people speak of, say, women who've attained, or women and men support women's access to, abortions as being “loved” though the “sin” of abortion is hated. More often that not, terms like “murderer” and “demon” get tossed around. As to the particular reason that the pretense of love can be mustered in relation to some “sins” but not others, I'm not going to speculate here. I will simply use as my primary example gay rights (and, according to some, the mere existence of gay people).

We often hear from anti-gay Christians that they don't hate gay people, but rather love them; it's just the gayness they hate, not the gay. In fact, these Christians love gays so much that they want to rescue them from gayness. As far as this line of reasoning, if it can rightly be called thus, goes, it's possible to deconstruct the entire bit of nonsense with but a single comparison. How would Christians react if someone suggested a similar viewpoint for something like, I donno, Christianity? If holding a belief in the “wrong” faith (a choice, if ever there was one) was the thing to be hated and penalized, if the situation was applied in that context, how would that look?

It's not Christians whom I hate; I love Christians and I want what's best for them. It's just that abomination, the filthy Christian lifestyle, and their disgusting beliefs that I hate. As a matter of fact, I love Christians so much that I want them to renounce and repent their faith to be saved, because if they don't, if they continue to believe in their God and wallow in the filth of their lifestyle, they will surely be (and deserve to be) tortured for all eternity.
I also don't want Christians to be able to marry, adopt or have children, collect benefits for their partners, be teachers, boyscout leaders, or have any contact with children. In fact, I don't think it's healthy to have openly Christian people “out” in society at all. I think that it should be legal to fire Christians because of their faith, and any attempts to punish hate crimes against Christians are clearly just an attempt to push the filthy, Satanic Christian agenda.
But, you know, I love you guys. It's just your sins that I can't stand.
That would ring astonishingly hollow as far as “love” goes to most Christians (and everyone else). Consider for a moment that simply asking that Christian belief not be privileged in the public arena gives some of the good folks at Fox an apoplexy. Heads would explode over there if someone, much less a terrific number of someones, tried to reinforce through law such thought. Step aside, War on Christmas; move over, War on School Prayer; this would be the real deal, and the horror of it all would never end. Of course, the same folks who would screech the loudest about such a “loving” view of Christianity are only too eager to give a platform of promotion to the various facets of this “love” for LGBT folk. (I have it on good authority that their hypocrisy sensors died in shame many eons ago.)

But those attempts to do hateful things while shrugging of charges of being hateful are as transparent when directed against minorities as they would be if directed against majorities. It's a comforting thought, perhaps, that you can you love people and yet still persecute, penalize, ostracize and denounce them as unfit, untrustworthy, immoral, hateful, malicious, dangerous and reprehensible, at least if the mantra of your religion is “forgiveness” and “love”; but it's an absurd one with very few, scattered applications in other facets of life. Where is the advocacy for loving pedophiles but hating pedophilia, for loving murderers but hating murder, for loving Assad but hating chemical warfare? Where is the cry to love tax cheaters but hate tax fraud, to love wall street execs but hate financial ruin (OK, the GOP being the 'exception to the rule' in this instance)? I think it fair to suggest that it is not generally characteristic of human nature to simultaneously hate some significant, defining characteristic of a group, and yet retain love for them, particularly as we lose connection to that group. It may be easier to love a brother who we recognize as an arrogant schmuck, but harder to love arrogant schmucks in general; it may be possible to love a gay relative despite religious intolerance of homosexuality, but harder to do so when the intolerance is strong and there is no close connection to gay people (see: Rob Portman). Certainly, there are exceptions in every which way (there are people with no apparent connection to it who would like to see pedophilia decriminalized, folks who refuse to “tolerate” homosexuality even after learning that a loved one is gay, people who love wall street bankers but have no ties to the Republican party, etc.). But human history provides a pretty good study of what we human beings tend to do to one another, and what feelings manifest, when there's something we don't like – hate – about one another.; and it's almost never loving. There wasn't any love to be found when Catholics hated protestantism, or protestants hated Catholicism, or Christians hated Islam, or Muslims hated Christianity, or Americans hated immigrants being Irish (or Italian, Chinese, etc.), or Nazis hated people being Jewish, gay, handicapped, etc. The list could stretch forever, but it felt right to leave it on a Godwin's note. The point is, we people don't treat each other well when we don't like something about each other. We tend to be particularly nasty when we particularly don't like each other. That's the opposite of love. Which is what makes the whole notion of “loving the sinner but hating the sin” such a crock.

Now, it might be nice to pretend that the hate you're spewing isn't aimed at people, just ideas; it might be nice to act like the hateful things you do don't have a real world impact on people; it might be a good way to convince gullible people in your congregation that you're not simply flouting all that “love noise” in order to further your own bigotries; it might be easy to go with the status quo, to hold onto the ideas that you grew up with without ever questioning them, “because God”, while excusing any liability for the harm they do because they're not harmful at all, just a manifestation of love (which sounds a lot like a rationalization an abuser might make...). I'm sure there are even people who genuinely believe that they do love gay people, along with everyone who knows damned well that they despise and fear them, but don't want to say it out loud because, somehow, it doesn't sound very nice when expressed honestly. But none of it holds up to scrutiny. Telling gay people (or anyone else) that you love them and want what's best for them, but they're vile, damned perverts, a danger to society, predators and frightening meanies who are deliberately making a choice to be gay (or anything else) and therefore do not deserve basic human rights is ludicrous. It's damned near as unloving as you can get without reverting to medieval tactics. And it's markedly, absurdly, cringe-worthily duplicitous.

So let's drop the pretenses. You're not loving gay people as you actively seek to humiliate, punish, ostracize and legally persecute them, any more than Jim Crow laws were manifestations of love for African Americans. You're simply trying to make your hate a little more palatable to modern listeners. And it's not working.

Originally published:
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Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 01:11 PM PDT


by twigg

Reposted from Every Part of You Belongs to You by kalmoth Editor's Note: Useful. -- kalmoth

Reading ComprehensionWe are very fond of describing this place as a "Reality Based Community". There are those who decry this description, alleging variously that people live in an alternate reality or that reality is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

What is clear is that debate frequently degenerates into abuse, argument into ad homimen, cogent discussion and reasoned disagreement ... into pie.

Then comes the whining. Markos is mean. If A is to be banned, then what about the guy who uprated him? Have some of you ever listened to yourselves?

Take a moment please, and listen to me. Maybe between us we can start down the long road to fixing this.

Before we go any further, and certainly before you comment in the place given to us purely for the ritual abuse of people we don't agree with, you need to understand the Title.

Read The Fucking Diary

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Reposted from For the Sake of Argument by Brown Thrasher

OK folks, it is time to set down some rules about apologies. Almost every week some prominent person, politician, or official is in the news for something they said, or did, which was offensive to the public in general and some group or person in specific. And each time, after an unconscionable delay, they issue an "apology", which is then supposed to render the issue resolved. Trouble is, 99% of the time, the apology is disingenuous, and should be rejected out of hand.

So let us set down some ground rules by which we can measure the sincerity of an apology. But first, let us define "apology", specifically the definition that we, the public expect:

apol·o·gy: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.
There is a second definition, which is given as the primary in some dictionaries:
a: a formal justification : defense b: excuse 2a
This definition is what a lot of apologies are, but they are passed off as the former, rather than the latter. Unless the person making the apology specifically states he is making the latter use of the word, then we expect them to be admitting error and regret.

Here are some rules for evaluating apologies:

1) If an apology contains a conditional modifier, especially the word "if", or is limited in any way, it is NOT an apology.

"I am sorry if I offended anyone."

"I am sorry if you were offended."

"I am sorry to those I offended".

"I am sorry you found my remarks offensive..."

All of these statements are conditional and are not admission of error, nor true regret. In essence, the person is stating that they are only sorry under a certain circumstance, and/or to a certain group of people. A person making an offensive statement or committing an offensive action has made an offensive statement or committed an offensive act. Either your statement/action was offensive, or it wasn't. If it wasn't, then why are you apologizing? If it was, why are you equivocating and trying to "limit" your regret.

Other words likely to invalidate an apology are "may", "might", "could", and "but". Also, beware use of the passive voice and sudden shifts into the third person.

2) Apologies which offer excuses which attempt to limit, justify or re-direct the blame are not apologies.

"My remarks were 'off the record'".
Well, now they are "on the record" and you have to answer for them. The fact that you made your remarks "in private" doesn't render them inoffensive. Just because a reporter may owe you an apology for failing to keep your remarks "off the record", doesn't abrogate you responsibility to apologize.
"I am sorry my remarks were misinterpreted."
This redirects blame from you to the person you offended. You are saying there was nothing wrong with your remarks, the person you offended is just too stupid to understand them. This is also offensive and warrants a separate apology.
"My remarks were made at the end of a long and grueling day..."
Simply being in human is inherently stressful and often requires long hours with little sleep. Despite this, you must still act and speak responsibly. If you can't, and by this statement you just admitted you can't, you should not seek to negate your apology by offering excuses.
"My remarks were made in the heat of the moment."
You lost your temper, which requires a separate apology.
"I am sorry you overreacted..."
My reaction is not germane, your offensive remark/action is.
"OK, I am sorry I overreacted..."
You lost your temper, which requires a separate apology.

3) Pointing out that the offended party has committed a similar offense against you, or some other person/group, invalidates the apology.

"While I apologize for insulting your mother, I would like to remind you that you insulted my mother last week."
You are accounting for your own actions, not theirs.
"We both said things we now regret..."
This may be true, but again, this is an veiled accusation, not an apology. The other person may not have said what they said, but for your offensive remarks/actions. Even if this  is not true, your are answering for your own conduct, not theirs. Also, they may not regret their remarks at all, and it is arrogant of you to make assumptions on their behalf.

4) Claims of benign intent are irrelevant, and also invalidate the apology.

"It was not my intent..."
Obviously it was not your intent, since if it were, you would not be apologizing. You may explain what you meant, but you may not try to invalidate how it was interpreted by others. For example, you made a joke which offended your listener(s). You may explain your intent thusly:
"I meant my remarks humorously, and to my deep regret, I failed to convey that properly and offended you. Upon reflection, my attempt at humor was inappropriate, and I apologize for the hurt my poor judgment caused."
You have explained that your comment was not motivated by malice, but by error (an acceptable clarification IF true). You are expressing that you have reflected upon this error, regret having made it, and offer apology for the offense caused.

5) Expressing regret for what happened rather than what you did, is not an apology.

"I am sorry this happened."

"I regret that this happened."

It did not just "happen", your actions precipitated the offense.

6) Apologies must be made to all parties directly offended, not to surrogates, nor issued generally at a meeting/press conference. Public apologies should, by courtesy, be made after private apologies (and yes, you must apologize privately) and your public apology may not deviate from your private apology. You cannot offer a genuine private apology, then a public non-apology. Doing so invalidates the private apology and the offended party is entirely justified in calling you on it, publicly.

7) Apologize and STOP.

Don't keep talking because if you do, you will invariably offer an excuse, shift the blame, or accuse the victim. Apologies should stand alone, and not be tacked on to any other point of discussion.

"Before I begin this meeting, I would like to offer an apology..."

"Before we wrap up here, I would like to apologize for my remarks yesterday..."

An apology is not a preface or an addendum, it is the central point of what you have to say. It is about righting a wrong, not engaging in a rhetorical digression. An apology should never be diluted by giving it "co-star" billing with any other topic.

8) You don't get decide whether the apology is accepted, nor may you pressure and/or obligate the victim to do so.

"I Hope you you will find it in your heart to forgive me..."

"I wish to put this issue behind us..."

"I hope you accept this apology in the spirit it was offered..."

All of these statements negate the apology. It is up to the offended party how they will receive the apology. Sincere apologies should be accepted graciously, but the judgment of that sincerity is up to the wronged party. Also, while accepting your apology (in essence accepting that the apology was sincere), the offended party is under NO obligation to forgive you. Accepting an apology and forgiving the offense are two SEPARATE things, one does not automatically convey the other.

If the offended party fails to accept your apology and/or forgive the offense, then that is their choice. Refusing to accept an apology, no matter how sincerely you or others may judge it to be, is not offensive, though many people feel it is. If you find yourself getting angry that your apology was spurned, then your apology probably wasn't sincere. If you find yourself saddened by the rejected apology, then it was probably sincere, and such is life. You have discharged your social/ethical/moral obligation to apologize and may carry on with your life with a clear conscience.

9) Regretting having done something is NOT the same as regretting actually doing it, i.e. beings sorry you did something is not the same as being sorry your were caught.

Remember, an apology has two components: 1) Admission of error. 2) Regret for the action. You cannot weasel on either. An apology does not require groveling, it is not an admission of weakness, nor is it a power play. If you can't be sincere, then spare us further insult.

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