Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blogging for the Truth

I’ve been conducting an unofficial study over the last several months. When visiting (mostly liberal) blogging sites, I mentally note the type of comments posted most frequently by non-liberals. I have engaged in conversations with non-liberals and have received emails from non-liberals. Most of the conversations and emails are from friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Most of these people are college-educated and work in professional jobs that require some level of analysis of data (read facts) in decision-making processes.

I will from now on generically refer to these people as non-liberal bloggers (NLBs). I am purposefully not referring to them as conservatives because they are not conservative. I am not calling them Republicans because it’s possible they may consider themselves Libertarians or any other number of labels. I choose to label them NLBs.

What I have observed has been pretty disheartening, but here goes….
I have observed little interest by NLBs in ferreting out fact from fiction. And facts provided to them appear to have little effect on an NLB. Rarely do I observe the NLB attempt to impartially and critically analyze a fact and make any rational conclusion regarding that fact. No matter how many facts prove the liberal case and disprove the NLB case, the NLB insists in perceiving the fact as completely isolated and totally un-indicative of any forest. In fact, the NLB appears amazingly disinterested in discovering whether or not certain “facts” are true. Many times, after receiving an email from an NLB with some “fact” in it, I will google the phrase or quote. To date, I believe I can correctly state that every “fact” the NLBs have so proudly spammed me with have been blatantly untrue, or a gross misrepresentation of that fact. Quotes, by liberals, used to support their point of view or to show the world how incredibly dumb liberals are, have unilaterally been taken out-of-context. When another blogger or I give the quote context or correct some fact, the NLB will simply drop the “conversation” –and then they will begin a new topic. However, the NLB never seems to be shamed into performing any fact-checking before posting their next rant, emailing, or conversing (if you can call it that).

A second observation is that NLBs do not readily commit themselves to a veriafiable point of view. The NLB is much more comfortable declaring some very vague or meaningless platitude. One of my favorite blogging “conversations” was with an NLB who was defending Bush’s “Noble Cause”, but refused to define what that Noble Cause was. We were admonished by the NLB simply to ask the “…soldiers because they knew what the Noble Cause was”. When I replied that the one soldier I knew thought Bush was a “cowboy” and did not believe the US should be in Iraq, I was told I needed to talk to all the other soldiers. I then posted some of Paul Rieckhoff’s ( views on the Iraq war, provided the website, and encouraged the NLB to visit the website. I volunteered to visit any non-political website posted by a Soldier or Soldier’s family that the NLB could recommend. That was the end of that discussion thread.

A third observation is that, although in some cases, the NLB may even admit that he/she does not follow “that issue” very much, it wouldn’t matter anyway because we all know we have a very liberal media that doesn’t print/speak/blog the truth anyhow, so following the issue in the press wouldn’t give them any real information anyway. But, be that as it may, the NLB is offended when someone else will intimate that the NLB is not well-informed. And damnit, their opinion should count as much as anyone else’s.

Fourthly, for the religious right NLB, all the “facts” in the world do not add up to “The Truth”. Unless you are a (non-Jimmy Carter type) born-again Christian, ANYTHING you say–by definition—can never be “The Truth”. “The Truth” is only known to that select group and facts have absolutely nothing to do with “The Truth”. The very fact that you (a non-believer or a “lukewarm” or “deceived” Christian) are in support of an idea or truth makes that idea/truth suspect.

If a “true believer” espouses a “fact” or a “Truth” that later proves false, there is no negative consequence for that person. The only fall from grace that person can have is to be caught in some “deviant” sexual behavior. And the fall from grace is far from guaranteed. I continue to receive emails, read blog comments, etc. from people who continue to quote Oliver North. I have seen no fall from grace for Arnold, no matter what kind of crap has come out about his deviant sexual behavior. I have seen no fallout from the Jeff Gannon/Guckertt debacle from the Christian right. The only fallout from that occurred because the WH was forced to ax White House privileges to JG/G when the liberals “outed” him.

One of the craziest items I was emailed was a paper written by a friend of mine (who has a degree in theology) criticizing the idea of world population control. My friend had used as a source someone who had actually written a paper about how there was no shortage of water in the world and that; therefore, it was a false argument that there was a shortage of water for the world’s population. (So who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. The problem is not that we do not support our opinions with facts when we debate the NLBs in this world. It is that your basic NLB is not interested in facts. Were we just fans discussing who we thought had the “best” NFL team, this wouldn’t be a problem, it would be fun. But we are talking about real issues with real daily life-and-death consequences. I am disappointed that they demand so little of themselves.


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