My Opinion: What Makes LGF Discussions Better than Other Blogs; and What Can Derail Them Quickern Anything
People are attracted to LGF for many reasons. Not the only reason, but among those many reasons I include the quality of the discussions, what I consider to be the superior intelligence of many of the people who post here, the depth of knowledge of those who comment here, and of course, the fact that Charles keeps a close watch and doesn’t allow things to devolve into sheer nastiness and/or bigotry.
I have, over the years, found myself reviewing and reassessing or refining my views on various topics of interest, as discussions are held at LGF.
The folks registered at LGF who comment frequently hold a wide range of opinions. In my opinion, it behooves us to remember that there are a lot of people who read LGF who are not registered, or who are registered but who do not comment regularly. Our comments aren’t just for the “audience” of who is in a thread and actively commenting at any given moment; our comments also reach the audience of those who simply read LGF.
There are a few who hold opinions on certain issues that are outside of the prevailing view. This became obvious to me during recent discussions on the issue of gay marriage.
For the record, my opinion on this issue: Gay couples should have all the protections offered to heterosexual couples who legalize their relationship through the institution we know as “marriage”. It is necessary, it is a good thing for our society at large to offer these protections, it is really the only fair thing to do. For the record, my opinion on polygamy: I honestly am still thinking about this one; it’s not something that I would engage in, but is there damage to society as a whole? I’m not sure there is; nor am I convinced there isn’t. It’s something that needs to be explored a bit more, IMO.
There are those, however, who have various legitimate objections to these issues (and others) When I use the term “legitimate”, I’m talking about objections based on deeply held and sincere beliefs not necessarily objections that you or I think are unreasonable. I do not include in this category those objections that are presented in obviously silly or trollish ways.
I happen to believe that if the end result we wish to achieve is to overcome objections to this issue (or really, any other issue), the way to productively do it is to have a calm, sane, rational, logical discussion.
Shouts of “BIGOT” or “STRAWMAN” issued the minute someone dares to post an opinion that’s not in line with the prevailing view have the effect of shutting down the discussion, with the end result being that no one is convinced to examine and reassess their particular views on a topic. Again, I’m not talking about responses to obviously silly and trollish comments, but responses to comments made sincerely. If I can usually tell the difference, surely most of you can, too.
I’m suggesting here, that if the end result desired is that information and arguments be presented that will cause others to re-evaluate their opinions, reduce their objections to things you or I believe are necessary for the greater good, then the way to do it is to make rational and logical arguments, rather than engage in “GOTCHA” questioning, or throw out insults or accusations of “STRAW-MAN!”. The “others” in question here, being of course, not just other people commenting in a thread, but those folks who are simply reading LGF and not commenting at all.
If what you want is to end the conversation, make people angry so that you can sit there feeling superior in the confidence of your own opinions, then yeah, go ahead and throw out the accusations and the names.
If what you want is to convince people to reconsider their position, reduce opposition to what you believe is necessary and right, then make your best and most logical argument.
It’s up to you to decide what sort of discussions you prefer to be involved in.