Of late, my girlfriend has regularly participated in political ‘discussions’ occurring on the open facebook wall of a hard-right conservative Roman Catholic, which she stumbled across through an acquaintance. The ‘discussions’ take a predictable form, in that the predominantly neoconservative participants typically present the usual largely pre-established talking points put forward by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, the Heritage Foundation, and so on. In other words, I could write an algorithm that populated the comments in much the same way as they are populated by living, breathing people right now (you know, with stuff about the benign and wise hand of the “free market”, the “intent of the Founders”, etc.).

Among the commenters who often appear on this wall is a man in his late 30s who lives in the Southeast and is a lifelong, active member of the LDS church (he has 8 children, whom he home schools). He owns a small IT business, writes his own blog, and appears here, there, and yon on the web with loquacious, defamatory commentary, mostly of the form: “I’m much smarter than you and I know much more than you, because you’re a dumbass and don’t know shit, and you are nothing but a liberal hippy anyway who’s ruining this country because you are not a political conservative and don’t love Jesus.” He’s somewhat intelligent and well-read, so his word choice does not usually devolve to quite that adolescent of a level, but the substance of what he says essentially follows that form — peppered with boasting about his “semi-photographic memory”, vast command of the “facts”, and so on. His amusing and annoying behavior is ultimately the point of this post.

I try to make more reasonable, even-handed arguments there, when I do bother to participate, without ad hominem attacks against any of the other participants, since it is a somewhat mixed forum (not quite everyone who comments automatically exhibits the kind of tribal collectivism Republican strongholds usually see), and I hope to attract the philosophical support of any reasonable people who might be following the ‘discussions’. To that end, since it is so often true that one of the basic sticking points is an inability by participants in ‘discussions’ like these to agree on even the data from which to form an argument, in part because no consensus can be reached on authoritative sources of factual information, I have learned to probe sources my opponents themselves consider authoritative to highlight weaknesses in their arguments. The weaknesses are nearly always readily apparent, mostly being well-defined logical fallacies (arguments from authority, simple syllogistic errors, false dichotomies, etc), basic statistical errors, both deliberate and not, slippery and asymmetrical application of information they do consider factual, taking assertion as fact, and inconsistencies between what they are arguing and their own stated belief systems.

Since many of the more aggressive commenters consider themselves Christians of one stripe or another, I sometimes quote the Bible or what leaders of their own denominations have said (since, as I’ve said, they will sometimes accept appeals to authority if they like the authority). For example, lately much of the commentary has been castigation of unions and public sector employees. The owner of the fb wall on which this all occurs is a self-described Roman Catholic, so I quoted the Pope’s statement of the Church’s official support for trade unions. It is unequivocal. Subsequently, the fb wall’s owner shifted gears slightly and stopped bashing unions per se and instead began decrying their alleged corruption, for a while. He then posted a comment that basically asked what others thought of the Catholic Church’s support for unions, and this precipitated a heated flame war among adherents to various denominations, starting with a Christian from another denomination denouncing Catholics and Catholicism in general. The wall’s owner eventually deleted the thread.

More recently, the fb wall’s owner posted this comment: “Unions celebrate Wisconsin Lawmakers that fled to Illinois, cowered in hiding and failed to do their jobs. Any surprise? Have you ever seen a union celebrate hard work or excellence?” Aside from the obvious fact that lawmakers themselves are not in a union, and even if they were, the Republican ones, who by implication stayed and “bravely” did their jobs, would be as well (and never mind that Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh are all in unions), his point is clear and provoked a robust ‘discussion’.

Some people argued in defense of unions and pointed out (again) the rampant corruption wrought on politics by heavily-moneyed corporate interests. Here is a verbatim example of the kinds of things said in response by the LDS church member and small business owner I mentioned above: “So do me a favor, before you start down another factless, ignorant rant about the intricacies of making a business successful, abandon the Obama model of theoretical application and instead try running a business yourself. After receiving letters from the Department of Revenue threatening to freeze you (sic) accounts or fine you unless you send in a tax form (which you made copies of, including having the post office make copies of the envelope after it is postmarked because you’ve dealth (sic) with these idiots before), and then not being able to get through to a live person or get a return call from the DoR for three weeks, even as they threaten to put liens against your accounts…maybe then I’ll give a damn what you think it takes to run a successful business. I don’t mean to attack you personally, but I am sick and tired of getting lectured on ‘corporate greed’ and outsourcing jobs and ‘paying my fair share’ by people who’ve never run a company, never met payroll, never dealt with the labyrinth of tax and regulatory laws that takes so much time and money for compliance, and in general who’s (sic) entire knowledgebase on running a successful business begins and ends with memorizing Obama’s axiom that ‘at some point I think you’ve made enough money’ [I’m not aware of this quotation from Obama].” When someone pointed out his propensity for insulting commentary, he replied: “I am amused at your accusations of insults…maybe you just have a short memory. ” The tone here is characteristic of his comments and responses in general.

So, I decided to again use the tactic of quoting the Bible and citing comments made by his own church in support of the argument that you can’t bully people into agreeing with you (hence engaging in more of a personal attack than I typically do there). Here is what I said: “You are a self-described member of the LDS church; the meaning, purpose, and significance of the link are self-evident [the link was from an earlier comment of mine and was to lds.org and their commentary on the dangers of pride]. Insults are inappropriate and hardly consistent with Christian mores. Perhaps you can remember the teachings of your own church (http://lds.org/new-era/1995/05/qa-question-and-answers lang=eng&query=insults), as well as learn to stick to the issue rather than sinking to insults by default… particularly if you want any reasonable, decent person to take your arguments seriously or hope to persuade anyone who does not already agree with you. This tactic may sometimes elicit praise from those who already share your view, but [the owner of this fb wall] allows people of varying perspectives to participate in these discussions on his wall, and your hostility will produce no converts — however solid you may believe your arguments to be, and however much you deny this hostility. You cannot bludgeon people into agreeing with you, though they may finally say they agree or vacate the discussion to evade the blows. What is your objective here? Is it to assuage your frustration at the expense of others, or to elucidate truth? Is it to berate and belittle people so you can feel superior by comparison, or to rationally discuss proposed solutions to the massive problems the entire world faces? Do you seek to lead people to Christ by your example, or to drive them off?

A soft answer turneth away wrath, Prov. 15:1

A wrathful man stirreth up strife, but he that is slow to
anger appeaseth strife, Prov. 15:18 (Prov. 14:29)

Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to
him the other also, Matt. 5:39

Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, Eph. 6:4

Because I have told you the truth, ye are angry with me,
Mosiah 13:4

‘Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I as sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave yo food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” ‘ , Matthew 25: 34-40 ”

These are just highlights. I am eupraxsophist, not a Christian, but I was attempting to appeal to him through his own belief system and a commonsense understanding of psychology, in the hope that he might rethink his tactics. And I wanted to annoy him as a payment for his routine bullying of others. This did not receive a favorable response from either the fb Wall’s Owner or the LDS screedist. Go figure.

43 Responses to “Judge for Yourself”

  1. otlahorste says:

    technically the crash was because of government DEREGULATION, which gave wall street bankers the to exploit an unregulated economy. The banks are not the only sector exploiting the economy for mass profits. Corporations make use of deregulation to ensure profits are emphasized over human life, politicians have endorsed deregulation and free economics resulting in a dismantling of: workers rights,social assistance,healthcare,education.

  2. mans heiseley says:

    So, Rush Limbaugh said that the Lords Resistance Army (of the forced amputations and child soldiers) in central Africa are Christians…. –

  3. on Limbaugh “They seem genuinely freaked out that OWS doesnÔÇÖt have leaders or a single set of demands, ” … –

  4. Shoulda just put the “I award you no points” bit at the end. It sums up whatever comes out of a Democrat’s mouth! XD

  5. Mr. Okeefe on -another REASON America will PUNISH GOP in 2012! Wheres Taxpayers Billions passed out by GOPs Bremer in Iraqi

  6. DRAMATIC forecasts of global warming resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been exaggerated, according to a peer-reviewed study by a team of international researchers. In the study, published today (25/11/11) in the leading journal ‘Science’, the researchers found that while rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change, the most severe predictions – some of which were adopted by the UN’s peak climate body in its seminal 2007 – had been significantly overstated.

  7. You argue like a “Rebellious Teenager” lol if your gonna call someone an idiot at least say why they are, makes your arguments so baseless and kiddish.. how old are you? lol let me guess 14-19? lol

  8. I agree, just hard to see a democrat put his foot down and stop spending. Rarely happens. But I do agree with you

  9. rajow gout says:

    Asian-Americans are identifying themselves as white on college admissions forms to circumvent Affirmative Action programs. Liberal math: a 1997 study found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have the same chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100. Something to chew on the […]

  10. there is no way I can understand how Iowa GOP crowd thinks; if they think at all. I am looking fed to Jan 4

  11. Oh Denmark is doing fine actually. As far as economy is concerned. They Wind Energy to US among other things ­čÖé

  12. even then, that same you cited does state the the US dollar specifically remains one of the most popular legal tenders´╗┐ at the moment compared to the other currencies available.

  13. HAHAHAHAHA you get YOUR facts wrong and you try to belittle me. Its idiots like you who don’t know anything about civics, the constitution, or the´╗┐ economy that allowed this country to get so off track, letting your little brains be tricked by populist lies and fear mongering. You people don’t even understand that the only way you can even have your Left wing, socialist policies IS to follow the constitution and implement them at the State level where they are LEGAL.

  14. When we’re looking at the state of the Indian economy,´╗┐ and a Rupee loosing value, it should tell you how bad things are in the EU and US. lmao

  15. No one can kill such a powerful personality….he is a saktyavesha…buddha is saktyavesha, he sat unde the tree and maya attacked him and even death personified but he defeated them. similarly Prabhupada is like that. he is regarded more superior to buddha in some cases…so how can someone kill him….this video made me laugh

  16. i am so sick of telling us that a more conservative candidate can win. Who? who is MORE conservative and WHO can win? –

  17. datte loady says:

    not enough to say “Vote Ron Paul”

    PEOPLE´╗┐ NEED TO SWITCH 12 WEEKS IN ADVANCE OF THE PRIMARIES IN MOST STATES.

    IF YOU DO NOT SWITCH IN TIME YOU CANNOT VOTE IN PRIMARY.

    IF YOU ARE NOT REGISTERED REPUBLICAN´╗┐ YOU CANNOT VOTE IN PRIMARY.

    IF RON´╗┐´╗┐ PAUL DOES NOT WIN PRIMARY, NO´╗┐ GENERAL ELECTION ! REGISTER AS A REPUBLICAN. FIND OUT WHEN YOUR STATE HAS PRIMARIES. FIND OUT WHERE AND VOTE VOTE VOTE´╗┐ ! PLEASE !

    WE NEED EVERY LAST´╗┐ VOTE ! Copy and paste this everywhere! Thumbs up!

  18. against your country-men buying foreign goods, but you do want to I can pretty much get on-board with the rest though..

  19. jodiann boutt says:

    Regarding gay marriage, as mentioned above, Pres. Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (against gay marriage) in 1996 and the vote in the Senate was 85-14 for the bill and equally one-sided in the House. There probably wasn’t anyone in Congress under 40 at the time, no one can excuse himself with youth. I wonder how many have totally changed their minds and now would call it “bigoted” to oppose redefining marriage. Personally, I do not understand the values of someone like that. I’ll have to look up what Joe Biden said about DOMA and gay marriage in 1996; I suspect his will be the most outrageous flip-flop.

  20. ola ham says:

    This is very good to hear. Though, it should be noted that not only are “top beholden to their donors (or take themselves to be); the oil companies, for instance, line the pockets of some Democratic congresspeople, too. K Street is an equal briber.

  21. alfi grament says:

    Also in 1920 an unknown anarchy terrorist left a horse drawn carriage filled with hundreds of pounds of dynamite in the of Wall Street near the J.P.Morgan Building in New York.The resulting explosion killed 38 and wounded 400 more.It was the worst terrorist bombing in U.S. history until OKC.

  22. dude..try this……..its also very simple to remember…….”some people have,curly brown hair,till painted black” which stands for..(1)some people />tenuis………..(2)curly brown />…….(3)till painted />ase……..its the best way t0 remember it….:D

  23. rayne justani says:

    Young Conservative in the Banbury area? If you’d like to get involved in local politics, get in touch! Also visit

  24. bhmidah dewaki says:

    Ladies & Gentlemen is there any one left in this great country who still believes in the Democrat & Obama? These are lying rats!

  25. questeuci says:

    Sean Hannity On Obama’s Student Loan Push: It’s A “Last Minute, Election Year Giveaway To … Energize The Base” –

  26. heimery cam says:

    Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Job Description New Business – Corporate Sales WHY ZUORA ONE of the fastest growing and most innovative SaaS companies in Silicon Valley. Pioneer and global market leader for on-demand subscription billing and commerce. Revolutionizing the new Subscription Economy, a global shift from products to services. Experienced team from companies like Salesforce.com, SuccessFactors, Netsuite, PayPal, eBay. Backed by Tier 1 investors Benchmark Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Marc Benioff. JOIN THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY GENERATION!!! This is a unique to join a fast growing at an early stage where you can have …

  27. LEORDENI, Romania (Reuters) – Voters who have had enough of and austerity will almost give Romania’s new leftist government a ringing endorsement in local elections this weekend and set it up for a parliamentary majority. The Social Liberal Union (USL) alliance took power last month, toppling the centre-right Democrat-Liberal (PDL), which suffered the same fate as other European governments that pushed through painful cuts to maintain investor confidence. …

  28. fret basseloste says:

    ‘Modernising’ the Conservative into New Labour in all but name could never work – and we should celebrate the fact that it hasn’t, argues Henry Hill.

  29. chapidgory kayal says:

    The question must not be avoided. The ICC must act on its obligations around the concept of complementarity This international justice day marks several prominent events. The international criminal (ICC) has now completed its first decade of operations. Last month, the new prosecutor commenced her nine year term. Last week, the delivered its first sentencing judgment. At this juncture, there is much cause for retrospection to uncover lessons learned and best practices. But the big question yet to be addressed by the is: what is the impact of these or in other words, what is the ICC’s legacy? Legacy is a concept that has been applied to previous international tribunals. Its exact definition is debated but generally it encompasses the notion that an international ought to have a lasting impact beyond the litigation of specific atrocity cases. Beyond this generalisation, there are two contrasting visions of what legacy means. The more conservative…

  30. Dick Cheney is all of a sudden back in republican politics…he sees a big void of leadership in GOP ….itching to fill

  31. damount skogather says:

    I love my Volt but Rush Limbaugh makes fun of GM & calls you a waste of money. Pls discontinue your ads on his show.

  32. rocheld trauschke says:

    Former leader calls on to concentrate on coalition after peer advises members to consider deposing deputy PM Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, has made an impassioned plea for members to avoid personal manoeuvring” and to stand by Nick Clegg after the first open revolt against his leadership. Amid signs that at least two Lib Dem cabinet ministers are “on manoeuvres”, in the words of one senior figure, Ashdown calls on the to concentrate on making the coalition work under Clegg’s leadership. His appeal, in a Guardian came after the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott called on the to consider deposing the deputy prime minister. Oakeshott, a close ally of Vince Cable, the business secretary, told the Radio 4 Today programme that the Lib Dems need to take a careful look at their “strategy and management” because the had seen its halve since the election. Clegg hit back at Oakeshott, telling ITV News: “In politics you…

  33. gootsky masnipesus says:

    Why did Cameron sack Larry the cat for not catching enough mice, and not Osbourne for ruining the economy? …

  34. I have one basic proposal for fixing the Am. economy is very simple and that is, to vote out Obama!!!

  35. The economy is not perfect, but it is not bad. View trends for Today or Tomorrow There is a focus on romance and fine communication with a Perhaps there are some positive surprises you had not expected. View trends for Yesterday or Tomorrow You dream of far away and your fantasies get you off track. Thoughts and fe …
    Tambra Fiermonte liked Free Monthly Horoscopes – Aquarius on 20 August 2012 (1 month ago).

  36. langer randi says:

    The last four letters in “American” I Can
    The last four letters in “Republican” I Can
    The last four letters in “Democrats” Rats

  37. For example: how abt approaching every single freshman MoC – Democrat & especially Republican – & getting them on the record on gun safety?

  38. Wait, someone in politics SAID one thing and then DID another opposing thing in the name of self interest?? Say…

  39. richerbus hampa says:

    an interesting fact about my boyfriend is that hes named after 2 very liberal Supreme justices & was basically destined 2 b a radical

  40. gillett teudt says:

    The Obama Chicago speech still irks me as I am re-reading the text version of it. He seriously went conservative? Not surprised, but damn

  41. hegyessles says:

    Don’t do it! :O // Also the one and only will be joining us tomorrow for our first ever all-Republican panel

  42. kekarturre says:

    At least you don’t have Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh or George Bush or Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum or Kardashians.

  43. Voice of morality: Childless Limbaugh, married 4x times arrested for drugs x2, calls a college woman a slut for 3 days!

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