SolarCross wrote:I just re-read the thread and don't see anything emotional or tantrum like in anyone's posts except some of yours. You seem to be doing this a lot lately, wildly accusing others of being emotional whilst sounding more that little unhinged yourself in the process. Is it a debating tactic? Does it work?
Yes and yes.
In the first instance, though it has been true since at least Reagan, the last US election has led to what the media has called, "post truth."
Obfuscation and outright "alternative facts," by means of conspiracy theories and "fake news," and whatnot. The latter is interesting, if nothing else, as the Trump administration has been pretty open about obscuring what "fake news," is, but calling any story it doesn't like fake news, instead of the sites that peddle actual news stories that have no attempt at truth in them.
Part of this isn't necessarily a rightwing thing in origin, which is something that I'm attempting to partially underline--and in this thread you'll note that Suntzu's attempts to change the topic, to obfuscate, to say something outrageous that's not true have all failed.
The entire construction of this kind of fake narrative is a part of postmodern thought, something a lot of rightwingers sense in their attempt to rail against leftists as running society. The issue at heart here is that leftists, in any real non-centralist point, are almost all from the modernist school. Postmodernism rests more firmly on the idea that everybody has a narrative, that these individual narratives are important and equally valid, and that interpretation of facts is more important than a recording of facts.
Initially, for the conservative, this was a tempting target and still can be. It is an ideology embraced by a lot of social sciences in, for instance, examining imperialism from all sides instead of simply the role of the Raj from the perspective of the British. But the logical extension of this goes further. It is no longer simply the imperialism experienced by the Indians as well, but the imperialism experienced by each and every individual. And then the experience experienced by every individual after the Raj. And by every individual as their mood and experience changes. And, as you can see, the narrative breaks down from here and becomes more about the feelings people are having.
But this kind of postmodernism has deep roots in the kind of rightwing thinking that is prominent today as well. It is no coincidence that rightwing figures (this is before fascism proper) like Gabriele D'Annunzio
were poets and political activists; or that aesthetics were so important to other interwar developments on the political right in Europe. Keep in mind, that these were in reaction to Marxism, which was well before this postmodern turn.
For Lenin, for Marx, for the left in general, there was a simple correct and incorrect tradition of scholarship based largely upon Enlightenment ideals. This was not necessarily true for the developing right.
So to tie this all into today, the failure of a lot of the assumptions and bulwarks that had initially kept American liberal ideology (in the broadest sense) contained as a series of centrist and modern institutions (the Cold War being the largest) has broken down. Just as an Italy without a Treaty of London had lost a reason for being, so too has a lot of the rhetoric for these liberal institutions--political and intellectual.
The result has been an adoption of the same postmodern rhetoric that many on the right assume they are fighting in centrism. Their experience and feelings regarding a fact become more important than the fact itself. Again, this isn't unique to the right as it's the same liberal discipline that is often used in humanities departments and whatnot; and it's certainly not new in political exchanges as we see this since at least the interwar years in Europe; but it is new in this generation to have the right be so fervent about it.
I suspect that most people on the right don't see that this is what they are doing at all. That they think of themselves as finding a unique voice when it is actually an adoption of same postmodernism that they are attempting to counter.
Now, if I were to write this all down in this detail each time someone made a comment based upon their experience distilled and filtered through a postmodern prism, it would take forever and be immediately dismissed. The quickest and most effective way to distill this is to point out that they are having an individual or emotional reaction that they are attempting to make flesh (to borrow from the Christians) instead of examining the flesh and its place in the world (which was, after all, the root of the Gnostic issue in which the quasi-materialists won).
And the results speak well enough for themselves. The attempts to lash out and get into uncited aqusations of racial intellegence, of the individual's experience with family slaves (like the experience with the legacy of the Raj above), an unfounded assertion that slavery was pleasant for Africans, this entire line of, "obfuscation and outright 'alternative facts,' by means of conspiracy theories and "fake news," and whatnot," was effectively shut down and all that was left was a rather childish, "I know you are...But what am I?"
Which I can live with so long as we are dealing with a modernist grounding of facts instead of the postmodern conception of individual experiences all being equally valid so far as verifiable information is concerned
. This is, after all, the entire premise of a debate board--if it is impossible to reconcile our personal experiences and interpretations, why even come here at all?