63 19

It is very difficult to conduct an adult conversation on politics or social controversies, even on this site, where I had hoped for better things. I am feeling more and more despondent about this. Does anybody else feel overwhelmed by a plague of true believers in one cause or another who are incapable of debating its merits in a fair-minded way?

By Hellbent
Options Favorite Like

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence, and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy

Create your free account

63 comments

16

I have never been as worried, sickened, disgusted, and discouraged as I am since Trump was elected. Every day brings a new low. I know so many people who voted for him, who I have always thought of as thinking, educated, and had some common sense, but, I can't believe that they are caught up by a maniac leading a cult that only exists to get him adoration and power. I am not saying republican vs democrat. Trump is neither. He is a Trumpist who sucks up to anyone who will give him the required toadying and worship him. That is his only agenda. He is an empty shell and has no moral compass. I have never had any of this worry and loathing for any other Republican, even though I disagree with their agenda. They seemed to have had some moral compass, some intelligence, and wanted to serve the United States. So, I will never make nice or respect Trump. He doesn't deserve it or has not earned it. He has earned disgust, and that is what he will get from me. If we don't stand up against this evil, our country will fall. It doesn't matter what political party you are aligned with. He is dangerous.

Wisewoman3 Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

This is exactly how I feel. I thought George W. Bush was a terrible president, but a good human. I would've stood up if he'd entered the room. I would've shaken his hand if he offered it. Not so with Donald Trump. He's loathsome. I actually hate him. And that's really saying something for me.

@vita Ditto to both you ladies. These sentiments are mine exactly. I've never been more disgusted to "be an American" in all my years. I don't care which party is running our country as long as they are decent human beings trying to do what they consider best for our nation. Never before have we seen such a loathsome individual in this top spot (or any spot for that matter) and it speaks volumes to where we are as a country, unfortunately. Instead of forging forward, he will set us back decades, or worse.

14

Honestly, I get a lot of out good, honest debate. I live in a sea of red with gun toting, Christian cowboys and ranchers. Some of them are some of the best people I know...and we have had some amazing talks and debates. I still respect them, they respect me...but you can't have that when you start out by saying "those prople" or "libtards" or "Trumpanzees." If you have no respect for people going into a debate, it isn't going to go well...

AdorkableMe Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

Yes but Evangelical Christians are more like a cult. Kicking people out of the country, deporting the children is very mean spirited, separating families is wrong..Jesus would never agree to this

@vnufall There are extremes to and of everything. I don't waste my time or breath to a lot of people, particularly aggressive ones. There is no winning, no compromise, no finding common ground.

@Beach_slim Jesus is real to evangelical Christians. They make it up as they go along..kind of religion.

12

When I signed on to this site, I was hoping to find a place where I could discuss a variety of ideas in a civil manner with open minded non-believers. What I found was a place where everyone has their own agendas and are so dug-in to their own opinions, that they are not interested in listening and discussing other points of view in a decent, respectful manner. If we refuse to have open discussions with people of differing views, we will never be able to save our democracy. We need an open forum where people feel comfortable expressing their views without fear of being viciously attacked. We don't have to agree with each other, we just have to be willing to listen. That is what democracy is all about people! This country has become so polarized that civil discussions are no longer possible.

ashley44 Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

I'll have open discussions on any topic, although I'm quick to beg ignorance on a lot of issues too. If someone thinks I'm not giving a point thorough analysis, I'll take a few minutes and just ask they do the same for me.

I've found a lot of people who say they want factual discussions, really want to lecture people and have their facts dominate each discussion while not actually listening to others.

Last year I went to a very left leaning discussion on, "Understanding the other side". After 30 minutes I pointed everyone was just bashing conservatives. It got a LITTLE better after that, people started criticizing Democrats for not being left enough, although there wasn't any real attempt to understand the other side, which was the point of group.

...and, followed

Respect. Thank you for that.

10

There is no grey area with me. If you are a Trump supporter, then you are also a supporter of sexual assault and sexual deviance. Since the Bus crap that he spewed, I've been disgusted by him and anyone that associates themselves with him. If you support Trump, then you, by association and support of him, support the bigotry, sexual deviancy, hypocrisy, misogyny, narcissism, homophobia, incompetence, lying, filth, idiocy, racism that he belies. There is no middle ground. If you like Trump, then you are also all of these things by association. Shame on anyone that's "OK" with this douchebag or anyone he has working for him (including the Russians.)

So, yeah...I don't have "civil discourse" with sexual deviants or anyone that aligns themselves with it. It's not political either...it's HUMAN. If you support Trump, then you're a maggot just like him. And yeah, I know this comment will probably offend Trump supporters and I'm A-OK with that. Stop supporting a bug that's lower than a maggot, and I'll stop hating your alliance with said creature.

Clauddvon Level 6 May 15, 2018
Reply

I can see you are VERY serious! But, trump may have some redeeming qualities that we are not aware of...i’m Just saying!!!

@Freedompath I would ordinarily say a man's love for his kids is one redeeming quality, but I can't even say that about Trump with his creepy fucking comments about Ivanka. So no, there doesn't necessarily have to be one single good or redeeming quality about everyone. Trump is one of those people.

@Freedompath
Ya think?... Well, I hear Hitler liked and was kind to dogs...
I doubt any of trumpet's "redeeming qualities " are grand enough to overcome the horrendous damage he and his machine have done to the WORLD!

@Freedompath. 😂

@njoy_life_2 no way was I defending trump...but, ‘there is some good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us,’ I am trying to not let my rashional disdain for trump...not do ME in!

10

It seems that logic has fallen to the wayside against emotion. Not to demerit the value of either one, yet to place either above the other is a sure fire way to incite dissent.

Take for instance our lack of belief. Some are fueled by the logical deduction that none of the theological explanations make any sense. Others are fueled by the emotional realization that they've been, basically, lied to their entire life.

The logical view of this takes into account the emotional factor of deceit. The emotional side takes into account the logical reasoning of justifying that they have indeed been lied to.

Debate can seem shallow at its worst at times, yet I equate that to the "debate" between Ham and Nye. Not all debates are fairly balanced, and often times they're quite predictable.

Not all people are able to be "fair debaters", and to me that's par for the course in this wild game of life.

BeardedWonder Level 6 May 15, 2018
Reply

I don't think I was really an atheist for a year or so after I left Christianity, I was a very angry anti-theist lol and probably very angry at the god I claimed to stop believing in. Some never get over that hump.

I was kicked out of an atheist/agnostic group last year when an atheist started tagging me and criticizing agnostics and I posted Dawkins saying he's not a 7 on his own scale.

I wish atheism was the wonder pill for totally rational thought, but it's not.

@educatedredneck Good point, I did forget to mention trolls; or jerks basically.

The 'us vs. them' mentality will pervade into any group regardless of how rational it appears to be sadly. After all, any group of thought is comprised of humans. We all know how fallible and vicious those animals can be from time to time.

I hope you've found a more welcoming community here though, as there seems to be a healthy mixed bag of thought.

9

I freely admit that I loathe Trump and nothing you have to say is going to sway me on that. However, I'd be interested in knowing why otherwise decent people continue to support this man. Some of it I can figure out. They didn't feel heard. They felt looked down upon by a bunch of snooty liberals. Trump came to where they lived and told them what they wanted to hear. Add to that an intense dislike of Hillary. But how can they CONTINUE to support him? I guess Trump was right when he said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters."

vita Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

“I freely admit that I loathe Trump and nothing you have to say is going to sway me on that.”

This ridiculous statement is the problem. You probably live in an echo chamber outside of reality and only read/view biased left wing media.

If you actually opened your mind to reality you might see the benefit of listening to others with different ideas. Just a thought. smile001.gif

@KenG, I'm aware that bias exists, so on the stories I really care about, I like to check it out from several different sources. I like BBC and The Economist for stories about U.S. politics because they're outside the U.S., so not as much in the game. BBC is a little left-leaning. The Economist is a little right-leaning, but very rational. For U.S. news sources, I respect many outlets that you'd likely label "biased left wing media," but which are respected for their journalism around the world (such as The New York Times and The Washington Post). I think that Reuters is an excellent news service. For the conservative view, I like The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. If that list, to you, sounds like "an echo chamber outside of reality" then I would submit that you need to examine your own echo chamber.

Your snark at the end was uncalled for. It was a personal attack. You'll notice that I'm not responding in kind.

@KenG i watch News from the right on Fox Newsand read theDrusge Report, Beitbart the Blaze, listen to Limbaugh, O'Reilly(has podcast)

@Hellbent well your the one who started 9this post and you don't live in the States?? You have a lot of nerve telling Americans how they should feel about Trump.

People from other countries are definitely entitled to their opinions on American politics. What we do and don't do affects the world for better or worse.

@KenG
I agree that one needs to heed both sides, yet, even when adhering to that advice, I find nothing to admire about trumpet.
I wonder how much you are paying attention to alternate views.

@Hellbent well honestly....I would never speak about Australian politics. Are you still under the Queen?? See how much I know???

@Hellbent in you didn't say anything about coming from an Australian point of view in the original post.How would you know?? Ohh you know everything.. BS.

9

I'm a political activist, and I talk politics a lot.i don't think its possible for me to enter into a conversation with people who aren't on my side.They are wired differently and they like Trump because he is authoritarian. I don't care for how Trump has taken apart many of Obama's policies.i don't care for his lying, incompetent people around him.and chaos everywhere. Even his moving to the embassy to Jerusalem backfired. Trump has Palestinian blood on his hands for moving and getting people to escalate anger there was wrong.

vnufall Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

@Hellbent Seems to me, you haven't spoken to many people from the other side. Many of them truly are as dumb as they are perceived.

@vnufall
Genuine question/comment here.
Do you really think it was a "mistake" on the trumpet machine's agenda to move the embassy? It appears very likely to me, and some others, that further conflict, battles, bloodshed, and wars in the middle east is EXACTLY what they have in mind.
I've accepted the axiom, "Don't look at the damage to see who's at fault, follow the money, instead!
Then we find who profits, whose hand has steered us to this point... FOLLOW THE MONEY!
Which US/brit companies "own" the old war's oilfields? What money changed hands from lobbyist to politician? Does Putin stand to make billions on his investments?
The trumpet machine doesn't give a shit about those dead people, or about you, or me, only about their greed.

Edited

I used to be a political activist, and a rabid one at that, but no longer take an active day to day interest as believe we have a systemic problem that goes far beyond what I now think of as an impotent political system. In my opinion democracy died a long time ago but nobody seems to have noticed. The political machinations of the "left", "right" and all persuasions in between are skewed to the interests of capitalism. Accordingly the real problem is in the very nature of western society. I don't know the answers but do believe a massive cultural shift is vital for the very survival of the human race and I no longer believe political action is the way to achieve that. No, i am not promoting armed rebellion or anything like that but simply suggest a revolution of sorts based around mutual survival.

@njoy_life_2

@njoy_life_2 i agree...what about Netanyahu? Money is the bottom line supersedes everything.

@KenG
I found that very enlightening Ken. Ty.
I will be the first to admit my ignorance regarding the history of the Israeli state.
That admitted, however, I cannot help but think there is more to the story, and there are huge failings on the Jewish and US side too.
.
Whatever the details, tho, I am incensed at the PRESENT DAY evil actions of ALL these political idiots against defenseless peoples on both sides.
I am appalled at trump's (et al) insistence on moving the embassy, when he/they knew this violence would be the result.
I absolutely despise those "supposed" christians who perceive these horrid acts as "the beginning of the last days".
They are selfish, greedy assholes who are willing to do and permit ANY cruel, nasty, inhuman and inhumane acts so they " can create their precious Apocalypse " and "live in heaven, forever!"
They are equally culpable for every injury and death that happens!
.
Gawd, that was intense! My adrenaline is lowering now. Stepping off the soapbox now...

Edited

@njoy_life_2 Are you also appalled at the attitude or the Arabs who wish Israel to be ‘wiped off the face of the Earth’?

@KenG
Yes, indeed I am. I believe I addressed that when I said, "... the present day, evil actions of ALL these political idiots against defenseless peoples of both sides...".

@KenG
Yes, indeed I am. I believe I addressed that when I said, "... the present day, evil actions of ALL these political idiots against defenseless peoples of both sides...".

9

Yes. Very difficult to talk with anyone who is sure their ignorance is superior to mine.

Especially when i know i am correct.

Jacar Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

Ha, ha, ha! Nice one, Jacar.

smile002.gif

9

Sorry you feel this way. I'm a British communist so thought I might encounter hostility on this mainly American populated site. Not so - I read some very interesting, humane and considerate pieces here and frequently laced with some very witty remarks. One of the problems with attempting to discuss social or political matters is that immature people will make it personal and turn the 'discussion' into a war of words using inflammatory language and dragging 'facts' out of thin air to 'score' some 'victory'. Usually, I can suss out this type pretty quickly and leave them to rant alone in their own little corner. Don't be disheartened - maybe you haven't met the right ones on here yet.

bolshevik41 Level 5 May 15, 2018
Reply
8

Yes, but add being female and the conversation is fucked.

smile003.gif

Donotbelieve Level 8 May 16, 2018
Reply

I've experienced that.

@silverotter11 My condolences to you.

@Donotbelieve LOL - what IS it about being female that seems to really get under the skin of some people? If I'm in a playful mood I'll get a little campy, a little Mae West and alot of 'now that I've found your last nerve, i'll just plop my ass down'.

@silverotter11 I wish I knew.

I like your style.

8

There are some things that have no merits. I will not debate with individuals who want people like me dead, or with those who support such individuals.

memorylikeasieve Level 7 May 16, 2018
Reply

@Hellbent no, but there are supporters of such individuals here.

@memorylikeasieve Elaborate?

@Donotbelieve The conservative evangelical individual and agenda are anti-lgbt in every aspect, including death to lgbt individuals as per biblical instruction.

@jlynn37 I'm aware of that, as it's how I was raised, sadly.

I was asking if anyone had voiced such an opinion or hatred directly to memorylikeasieve.

It causes me great concern!

@Donotbelieve oh! No, sorry, I wasn't very clear. 'People like me' as in LGBT folks. Thankfully no-one on the site has made it personal. 😅

@memorylikeasieve Good!

8

In my travels I have engaged with many people and always try to start off at a person-person level on topics of mutual interest and consequently have met people where there is two-way respect, despite our differences of opinions or beliefs. Not always easy because many people are just natural opinionated bigots and best thing to do with those is simply quietly move on. At one stage I even engaged in on-line conversations in an ultra right wing group, very dangerous territory if you are a big mouth. Yet at times I actually managed to calm the waters by listening, analysing and putting things in terms they related to. Not something I would recommend for the faint hearted but it was a mildly rewarding experience.

JayTea Level 6 May 15, 2018
Reply

My hero!

A number of year's ago, I was to attend a funeral that ended up being protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. If you don't know these freaks of nature I recommend you do. I would not have been so thick skinned, I would have gotten in their face. Unfortunately, I had a major scheduling conflict with my job, they lost my request for time off. So I had to call the grieving family and tell them I couldn't make it, one of my saddest days of my life.

@IceManBNice420 i avoid group contact with such "mobs", only way is a one-on-one and relate as a person first. Thanks for the heads up on the Westboro Baptists, I will avoid them. 😀

8

Ive met good and bad people on any and all sites including this one. u just got to block out the ones that just insult and name call or point it out to them nicely and then let it go. some people will never be able to read a screen and not put the most negative and hate filled context to the words they read. it is like they want to be offended and argue instead of actually debate the issues. i still talk to them too but after about 10 insults i point it all out and i attack back. a person can only take so much and remain polite.

jorj Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply
8

I personally do not feel that I am well informed on political and social issues to have the conversations that you are referring too and I am at the age now that I really do not give that much thought to it. I am a bleeding heart liberal politically and socially. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

jlynn37 Level 8 May 15, 2018
Reply

jlynn, I feel much the same as you. Perhaps it also has to do with personality types ... I've never been inclined to 'debate' others in an effort to change their mind ... for me personally it feels like a waste of my precious life energy. I'm almost 74, and live in a low-income senior complex (3rd husband got half of my pension, ha ha).

To my dismay I learned that most of those who live here are Trumpers and have strange ideas like "Ben Carson is a wonderful man" ... said while I had 2 older gals over for a meal. I said "he denies Climate Change" ... and left it hanging. They both jump in and say "so do I" ... and I thought Uh, and I thought I could have intelligent conversation with these two?"

Another one, in the laundry room, spouts off repeatedly about she 'wants the government out of her life' ... so after she says this the third time, I say in a gentle tone 'Sweetie, we live here in rent-subsidized complex ... where do you think the money comes from to help pay your rent? other's people's taxes, via ... the government". She turned away with a harrumph, in denial.

I keep on, searching for a few people whose company I can enjoy while we have intelligent discussions on an article in The Economist, or an editorial in the New Yorker, and so on. I enjoy filling my hours with my hobbies, send the few dollars I can afford to my favorite (liberal) causes, and bemoan the state my adopted country is in, but bottom line ... I have about 10 -12 years left, in this life, and it just makes sense to me to avoid the people with whom I disagree, and seek out the ones with whom I have a rapport and intellectual stimulation.

Edited
7

I'm not as concerned about it as you seem to be, though I see the issue. This site came into existence at a time when the US is polarised and tribalised badly. That's reflected on the site, with a high proportion of US members, though the profile here is progressive leaning, generally. There are heated exchanges here, and it appals me if some people, including women, feel threatened in some way. But there are also interesting threads and discussions, and agreement to disagree. I think it would unrealistic to expect the site to be any different, given the group diversity. Any dynamic group interaction usually involves fringe opinion. None of us have to engage in a thread if the subject is off putting. No one has to continue in a post or thread if it spirals into unpleasantness. Sometimes I get despondent about the issues within the non religious here, like between agnostics and atheists, wearying, as I am, of seeing the same (what I think are lame) criticisms by agnostics, for example. But it is what it is, and I don't know any other site where I could make a cyber connection with so many like minded (dare I say it) souls. You and I are both Australian, in the same city. Being an atheist in this country is an isolated experience for most. I'm thankful for the contact here, whatever the rough patches. That's my two cents worth.

David1955 Level 7 May 16, 2018
Reply

I want to move to Australia. I also want to stay here and try to be a oart of a fix. Good comment, I share your view.

Ty for your 2¢, @David1955 , and you, @silverotter11.

7

Hellbent, I feel you! I have turned away frompolital debates and am now completely immersed in doing things to change what I don't like. I went to vote on the school budget yesterday. The two volunteers welcoming me were prominent people in our community. They were not aware that their whole way of doing business would have to change now that no migrants are coming to pick the apples and that China is buying their soybeans from other places.
See, educating citizens about the real, local impact of decisions made in haste and for no real reason except political ones is not popular. So, as much as I like to debate, i will not participate beyond this post.

Spinliesel Level 8 May 16, 2018
Reply
6

I have Right Wing tendencies and have great difficulty when debating with people with Left Wing tendencies. They seem to resort to childish name calling and refuse to listen/read the evidence I give them which back up my claims, or influence me. They don’t back up their claims with data/evidence. It is very like dealing with believers when debating god.

KenG Level 6 May 16, 2018
Reply

Both sides are guilty of the same tactics. Look at the Bell Curve of society, the far left and right have the least numbers but seem the most apt to be militant about their stance. Unfortunately it also appears they get the most press instead of the majority who are more flexible, more open to compromise and discourse.
I have no room for militants, if something won't flex it will break.

In my experience no.

Being irrational in debate is not a characteristic of one side of politics or the other. I'm sollidly left wing myself, and I see loads of right-wingers resorting to abuse and name-calling. Heck knows how many times I've been a 'libertard from Londonistan', or a 'politically correct snowflake', or a 'fucking communist', or ... well ... loads of others.

If you debate, and you do it with intelligence and rationality, then you will attract 'opponents' who don't have the wit to formulate arguments, and will resort to stupidity and personal attack.

If you're right wing, those 'poor quality opponents' you bring out of the shadows will be left wing - and you'll end up thinking 'heck there are a hell of a lot of left wing morons around'. For me, the morons all appear right wing.

The reallity, Ken, is that the morons are EVERYWHERE - and neither side of the debate is free of them.

Edited

@ToakReon well said

I've been called more names,smowflake, fake, elitist, stupid,c$$t. All kinds of names if they don't care for what I'm talking about.

I tend to be more center and yet get bashed by the right more than the left. The reality is too far to one side or the other creates conflick and when threatened emotionally people will lash out with a personal attack. Once this happens I can not longer engage and simply move on.

6

The almost instant reversion to name-calling, third grade tactics and pissing contests is disheartening. I find that often a simple question asked from ignorance draws the most venomous responses instead of an explanation of why the responder finds the question offensive.
Quite often a responder will interject a political remark (it seems to me) just because they think it is cute or clever, but it has no relevance to the thread. Is it a ploy to get attention? Trolling? After all there is a category for that for those who wish to talk about politics. Why not keep it there?
Or I may be wrong, that's always a possibility for people being people.

MacTavish Level 7 May 16, 2018
Reply
6

Being passionate about a cause is fine but we should be able to have an intelligent fact based dialog open to other ideas and facts. I will almost always be persuaded to alter my stance when presented with information and facts that cause rethinking the issue. Be civil be kind.

KateZilla Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply
5

(I posted this in response, below, but thought I'd share here too.)
Maybe I've been lucky, but I've not seen that much animosity. I'm sorry for those who have.
(Lol, and yes, I'm opinionated, - not quite mainstream liberal in everything - I really do want to know why those who disagree with me feel the way they do. Occasionally I learn sumtin' lol.

I did read a few comments that the Interloper suggested, was pleasantly surprised, ty for sharing.
I strongly suspect many of the liberal/conservative spectrum lose their objectivity at times..
My suggestion?
Let's all go to our neutral corners, take a deep breath, and try it again, considering this. If we want to convince others of our viewpoint, we need to understand theirs, inasmuch as possible.
Most thinking people have at least some valid points.

njoy_life_2 Level 7 May 16, 2018
Reply

@mudhen
There is indeed that danger, hen.
I have to watch that, myself.

5

I never expect to be able to have a rational discussion about politics with people of different political ideologies (even here) so I don't even try anymore. With my expectations so low, I don't feel overwhelmed. If I come across someone who wants to discuss and not argue, great, let's have a coffee and chat.

Kbdank71 Level 6 May 16, 2018
Reply
5

I think it can be difficult because people sometimes get a little heated and then a side issue arises and the original conversation goes off track. But if you have the patience to trawl through the replies you will often find that there are people further down the thread trying to have a sensible conversation with you. Keep trying!

CeliaVL Level 7 May 16, 2018
Reply
5

I can debate with anyone with an opposing view a lot of the time we discuss we include our own egos and beliefs subconsciously or consciously and this is something that causes communication breakdown. Listening to respond is better method of discussion than waiting to respond

ShamaM95 Level 2 May 16, 2018
Reply
5

Yeah I'm so jaded on social media discourse, I try to not engage in any of it.

MollyBell Level 7 May 15, 2018
Reply

Best way to handle it^

5

I recommend discussing important stuff like whiskey, cigars, guns, and women.
Leave religion and politics to, as you pointed out, the True Believers.

bigpawbullets Level 8 May 15, 2018
Reply

I like your thoughts on what's important... Some of my favorite things!

Write Comment
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer
  • Agnostic.comis the largest non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others happy without religion!