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Posts Tagged ‘thinking’

Challenging viewpoints

November 4, 2011 95 comments

As has been highlighted on the Blogwars thread, one of the more challenging aspects of debating on the internet can be the perspectives of the other people.  Their long held personal convictions can be a large impediment to any discussion simply because your thoughts don’t gel with their worldview, no matter how correct you may be.

I personally have come across this on many occasions and I’m sure everyone else has at some point.

So I wanted to try something different.  Instead of just blatting my thesis out there in toto giving ample leeway for cognitive dissonance to creep in, I want to try a more reductionist approach.

By breaking down your message into simple, verifiable points with a yes/no response I think you have a better change of breaking through.  How about this for a sample:

  1. During the last election campaign, did Julia Gillard commit to pursuing a price on carbon via an emissions trading scheme if she won Government?
  2. Did Julia Gillard win Government in her own right at the last election?
  3. Was Julia Gillard required to negotiate with Independents and the Greens to form Government?
  4. Does the process of negotiation require giving concessions to achieve your preferred outcome?
  5. Did Julia Gillard provide concessions to the Greens and Independents during this negotiation process?
  6. Has Julia Gillard undertaken to implement an emissions trading scheme, albeit with a fixed price period initially?

Do you think these statements are accurate enough to disallow any semantic wiggle room?  Can anyone disagree with any of the statements and keep a straight face while doing so?

Does anyone have any other examples?

 

UPDATE:  Extra points from Recalcitrant Rick in comments:

7.  Did Tony Abbott have an opportunity to form Government by negotiating with the Independents?

8.  Did those negotiations fail?

9.  Does this mean that in fact the current Labor Government is legitimate?

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Politics and life

October 7, 2011 7 comments

I’ve been a bit erratic with blog posts recently, mainly due to my reaction to the current state of Australian politics and media.

I’ve actually become a bit depressed that it’s all very much same-old, same-old day in day out.  Government does stuff, Abbott pulls a stunt, Hockey makes a goose of himself,  Morrison acts like a racist prick, rest of opposition practices being invisible, media praises Opposition for being useless negative pricks, media slams Government for using word out of context…blah blah blah.

This got me thinking a bit meta and wondering, what sort of person takes something they have no control over or something that will affect them in a major way so seriously?

When I was growing up I was never seriously into politics…it was just some background noise on the periphery of my life.  My parents never really divulged their particular flavours, though after I turned 18 and was going to vote for the first time I’m pretty sure they pointed me towards Labor…so it could be like a genetic condition :).

It has only really been in the last few years that it has become of some interest to me, and I’m pretty sure that coincides with the media trying to treat it as some sort of daily contest or battle to the death.  Of course, when this first started they were reasonably even handed about it, but these days they’ve gone completely mental and are seriously pushing the regime change barrow…and not just the lackwits at Limited News.

Just prior to the last election I was having dinner with my folks and the conversation rolled around to the election and I was shocked to my core to find out that they had both become LNP supporters.  I tried to find out why they turned, but all they did was trot out the traditional LNP talking points about Labor being bad with the economy, recycled dribble from the Oz about Labor failures, and how the NBN wouldn’t help them at all.  The gist I got was that because the government wasn’t doing anything for them, they didn’t want to vote for it!

It came to me that this wasn’t such an isolated condition either.  My in-laws are rabidly LNP and routine parrot the crap they distill from the Curious Snail.  I occasionally had a discussion or two with the father-in-law about politics, but the wife hates it and voices get raised so that has been nipped in the bud, and once again the underlying theme has been that because the government is not giving them anything or is making them pay their way, they don’t want to vote for it.

Is this indicative of the conservative mindset?  Is it a case of “I want mine and if you’re not going to give it to me you can get stuffed”?  Are they really so unconcerned with the bigger picture?

I know a lot of the right-leaning people will say that they pay taxes so they should get something in return, or they’ve worked hard all their life and they deserve something, but are they really that blinkered that they don’t care what happens to our society as a whole?

Is it so hard for them to understand that if the public health system isn’t fixed, then later on in life when they are older and need treatment they may have to pay through the nose for it…not easy to do when you are retired.

Or that if the public school system doesn’t get adequate funding, then people are going to have to pay for private schools, putting an unwelcome financial drain on the family,which in turn drives the quality of the public school system down even further in a vicious circle?

Is there something wrong with me because I think that government should be trying to help everyone, not just the special interest groups?  Is it weird to think that the carbon tax is a great idea because it give the polluters incentive to lift their game while compensating those who are most likely to be affected by price rises?  I personally will be out of pocket, but to me that is an incentive to make my own house greener to curb costs.

Or on something like the pokies pre-commitment scheme.  I have a relative who has a gambling problem and yes, it is pokies that are the issue.  The problem I see with poker machines is not that they are gambling, but that they are designed to extract the maximum money in the shortest possible time while keeping you entranced and oblivious.  These things are cashing in on the video game age by displaying the flashy graphics and giving the illusion of interactivity and control, but in effect you may as well walk over to the cashier and just give her your money.  Although the proposed scheme won’t stop gamblers losing their money, it gives them the chance to slow it down, and hence think about it when they hit their limit.  As for those who say they’ll just move to the TAB, this is total shit.  The pokie player will have no patience for the TAB as there is no instant result for them, good or bad.  The pokies are all about the instant fix.

I’ve found that my politics have tended to crystallise around the traditional Labor values…generally trying to achieve the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, coupled with steering the nation towards the future. Things like improving public health, better funding for public education, improving infrastructure…to me these are the things that a government should be doing, things that can’t be left to private enterprise as it won’t be done to suit the maximum number of people.  A perfect point in case is the NBN.  There is no way a private enterprise would consider doing this…they wouldn’t push it to the regional areas because it wouldn’t be cost effective, they would charge like wounded bulls to recoup costs ASAP, and they would try to get away with the minimum possible to achieve some sort of result.  Instead we have a future proof infrastructure being laid down to be complemented with wireless for the 7% of the population that won’t have access.

I’ve digressed a bit, so to get back on track I’ve often wondered when reading articles/posts/comments from the conservative viewpoint why they can’t see what I see.  Do they really think that giving rich bastards more tax breaks will help the worse off in society?  All they need to do is look to the US to see how much the trickle-down theory sucks.  Do they really think that the NIMBY attitude is all life is about?  I know I shouldn’t think of them as evil, but you really have to wonder sometimes when you see conservative commentators twist and manipulate things to suit their own worldview.

So to sum up, I am right and those who disagree with me are wrong conservatives are idiots can you ever really understand the motivations of the other side, or is it like dealing with another species?

 

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