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  • You wreck your own point when you stated you can't discuss politics politely. If you want to convince somebody (me, for example) that you aren't just a raving Bush-hater, you have to act in a civil manner.

    Now, I can't say that I'm any better in fact, since my own political rants tend to be just as angry, they're just a different set of positions. But I still say that the most convincing argument is the one delivered with passion, but still delivered politely and without coming across as anger or hatred (i.e

    • You wreck your own point when you stated you can't discuss politics politely.

      I no longer judge people for not being polite about politics. Politics is all about who is going to take the next turn depriving other people of liberty, property, and sometimes life. It is completely understandable why people would be uncivil about that. In fact, it's ridiculous to expect them to be civil, and it's part of the religious faith in government as being the right idea. It's part of the way this mental virus propagates itself: by presenting the idea as being something that people should not get upset about.

      Unfortunately, most people do get irrational about this threat, and most people do not respond in proportion: rather than seeking to defend their own liberty, property, and lives, they seek to gain the power themselves so that they can exact revenge on their neighbors for previously using that power or desiring to use it. They don't realize that eliminating the power is actually an option.

      So when I hear a Barack Obama supporter over here talking angrily about his desire to control the lives of Bush supporters, I have to remember that he is responding with hurt and irrationality to an equal threat from the other side, and that he believes this is the appropriate reaction, and that he was public school educated for as many as twelve or more years to believe that this was the way things should be.

      For a really complicated issue (that's sadly been boiled down in the public schools to a simple matter of "good" versus "evil"), take the American Civil War []. I do not grant the right of people to own slaves, but I also do not grant the right of states to go in and "liberate" each other, especially in the face of agreements to the contrary (such as the United States Constitution). So you have a South that claimed it just wanted sovereignty, and of course they were entitled to it. But look at how they responded: they took away the sovereignty of the North and of other regions by passing laws that affected them, too. That's not "independence." At best it's tyranny, at worst it's responding to force with more than mere defensive force. No wonder war erupted.

      For a more modern example, take origins education in schools. I believe in people's rights to believe whatever they want, and therefore I don't believe it's criminal to educate their children to believe in it, too. So if you want to educate your children to believe in creation, fine. But there's a threat to that liberty, and like good little democracy believers, rather than just saying, "Look, I want the right to take care of my family MY way, and if you can educate yourself out of my dumb religion as an adult, so can my kids with your help ONCE THEY ARE ADULTS and out of my care," people respond by trying to pass laws to educate everybody's kids with creation science or what have you.

      It's no wonder to me people are uncivil about the subject. If everybody would start the discussions by affirming that their guiding principle is to leave other people alone and then to just request that privilege for themselves, the discussions would be a lot more civil. Unfortunately, most people do NOT want to leave everybody else alone. The temptations of power, and the brainwashing we've received about how "right" it is, are just too great.

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers