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Strong opinions, weakly held

Enjoy your misconceptions

I have a fair amount of discussions about politics with friends and family, and generally I’m happy to have them. But as of today, I’m done debunking people’s specious claims about President Obama or Democrats, usually regurgitated from the Drudge Report, talk radio, or Fox News.

If people want to believe that President Obama asked the families of military dead if he could do a photo op with the casket of their relative, or that Anita Dunn publicly admitted that Mao is her hero, or that Obama is trying to set up government panels that will decide which old people have to die when they get sick, I’m not going to try to correct them any more. Clearly people believe those things because that’s the world that makes sense to them. And who am I to correct them?

It’s a losing battle, it wears me out, and for every ridiculous rumor I debunk, there are ten more behind it waiting to take its place. So if people want to wallow in propaganda that caters to their absurd preconceived notions, they officially have my blessing.

That feels better.

11 Comments

  1. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (attrb., perhaps erroneously, to Edmund Burke)

  2. If anything, I usually respond with a true, but awful, anecdote about some conservative shining star, like “Newt Gingrich left his dying wife for the congressional aide he was having an affair with during the Clinton impeachment trials, and resigned in disgrace after a $300K financial scandal” or “Michelle Bachman is nuttier than squirrel turds” or “the treasurer of the RNCC embezzled $800K worth of your contributions” or whatever. More fun than bothering to debunk them.

  3. I’m usually just left sputtering incoherently whenever I hear someone start in on one of those ridiculous rumours. Mostly because if that’s what they believe, rational conversation becomes nearly impossible.

  4. Last time I found myself in that position, I just replied, “Yeah! And I hear that Obama bites the heads off babies.”

  5. I recently tried to have an email conversation with one of these people. I was shocked to discover that she had no concept of the difference between partisan propaganda and impartial news. Furthermore, she had no interest I. Informing herself. Rather, she just seeks out i formation that reinforces her existing preconceptions. Refuting her “news” with facts was hopeless.

  6. What nonsense. You don’t mean that in the slightest. Of course you’ll carry on correcting, and you’re not really suffering at all.

  7. I find Amy Wallace’s analysis on vaccines particularly relevant beyond just her immediate subject:

    “Looking back over human history, rationality has been the anomaly. Being rational takes work, education, and a sober determination to avoid making hasty inferences, even when they appear to make perfect sense.”

  8. Question: If the public option will be funded by “savings” in MediCare then why can’t we get the “savings” for a year or two first. Then once proven to work, we can talk about public options. Why must all political change be predicated on false promises? This is true for both parties mind you. The only issue is the Democrats are making the promises today.

    Oh, sorry wrong thread. People who don’t share our points of view can be taxing. If you don’t want to suffer fools then I support you. If you want to avoid honest, healthy debate with open minded people, the I admonish you.

  9. I’m all for questions about health care reform or about Afghanistan strategy or relations with Iran or any other actual issue. I read a number of blogs that are very skeptical of the public option in particular and health care reform in general, and I’m worried that they may be right in their arguments. What I have a problem with is all the disinformation that prevents us from having the discussions we really ought to be having.

  10. Agreed. There is a book out called “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care” that looked interesting. I think his disposition is more liberal than conservative (sigh), but he does evaluate the various types of health care systems around the world. People should be educated before they begin to form opinions. I have not read the book, but if you have I would love to hear you insights.

  11. Rafe, most folks don’t want to have their mind changed. It would require admitting they are wrong.

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