“They cannot tell the difference between dissent and terrorism.” – Vaclav Havel
I’m a big fan of political discussions. Discussing policy has been an endless source of learning and entertainment. It’s fun debating the state of our world using history, philosophy and literature to try and find solutions to problems, or perhaps even identify problems.
That’s been changing recently. It’s why I started this post with that particular quotation. This is an attitude I’ve been encountering more and more. Far more frequently than in the past I get the internet equivalent of shouted at, “How dare you disagree with me you fascist/commie/capitalist pig/socialist/Muslim apologist/Muslim hater!” I’ve been called all of those things over the last little while.
There simply seems to be no room for nuance or any ideas other than those the people on the other side of whatever we’re discussing hold. It’s become a Manichean world where you are either standing with the forces of Middle Earth or those of Sauron, to use the most well known Manichean piece of literature as a metaphor.
It’s tiring and upsetting this vituperous brow beating. I don’t quite know how to handle it and I leave many discussions with an upset stomach, a bad taste in my mouth and some relief the discussion was over the internet because I fear had it been face to face there would have been violence involved. And I’m not even dealing with people suffering from severe mental and/or psychological problems. There is simply no room for differences of opinion any more.
So, I’m dialing it back for a while. Maybe once the U.S election is over things might calm down.