Today I received a comment on my much-commented-on Blackstone restaurant review. Here is the comment:
You guys are the lamest kind of people. You all probably use Macs and and drive hybrids, not because you like them but because the people you wish you were do.
This, of course, illustrates one of the main problems with our society today. Instead of disagreeing with the post, or looking at all of the comments and addressing the points therein, the commentator made an assumption about the participants and then hastened to
This is a classic trick of propagandists. Rather than engage in reasoned discourse, the idea is attack the people behind ideas that one doesn't agree with. Labels are created that sound snappy, and vitriol is spouted as though it is fact. And, of course, the people who express the “offending” sentiment are de-humanized, relegated to the category of “them.”
This is, of course, happening all over society. Philip Pullman (and anyone who reads his books or sees the Golden Compass) is labeled “evil.” Does anyone even stop to see the merits of his ideas? No, he is labeled as an “atheist” and then summarily dismissed.
The same thing is happening in the presidential election. Candidates are labeled and then what they say and do, and their ideas and potential policies are ignored as people argue whether we are ready for a [insert proper label: woman, Mormon, black, etc.] president.
So, since I don't like the Blackstone, and since my opinion of Logan restaurants in general is that they are mediocre and over-priced, I am lame. My complex motivations including my individual food preferences, desire to get good value for my money and the fact that I prefer eating out to other forms of entertainment are not even considered. I am reduced from a complex individual to someone who is lame, with only one motivation: to be like someone else — someone I presumably (but don't actually) think is better than other people.
And I get a double-lame because I own a Mac. For the record, I own a Mac because I like its superior security, usability and the ability to work with images at a higher level.
Oh, and since my next car will be a hybrid, I guess I'm triple-lame. My desire for cleaner air to breathe and to spend less money at the gas pump, not to mention my annoyance with our dependence on an energy supply primarily garnered from unstable countries, are all motivations to be discarded.
Our country will continue its course of division and our civil liberties will continue to be eroded unless we stop the inane babble and name-calling that makes up “discourse” today. Until we start discussing ideas and stop discussing people, nothing will change, and we will watch our freedoms disappear because we have oversimplified things to the point where labels and snappy sound bites matter more than ideas and true dialog.
Tags: read blog, Golden Compass, reasoned discourse, Mormon president,
civil liberties, energy supply