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You know, there are times when I want to do a meme on "What enemy of… - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
You know, there are times when I want to do a meme on "What enemy of the left are you?" or a big-letter essay on why G-d exists and religion is good. Occasionally, I've thought of having a banner saying "Vote Republican." Now and then, I've thought about ranting about all the things that bug me about multiculturalism as practiced, or about why I think it's perfectly proper to have religion in the public square. But I realize there are a lot of people on my f-list disagree, and I'd prefer not to offend them, so I treat their beliefs (or lack of same) with as much respect as I can muster, because I believe it to be the right thing to do. I think that respect for differing viewpoints is the key to getting along pleasantly and talking about things that are more universal and permanent than politics.
35 comments or Leave a comment
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: July 13th, 2004 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Do what I do: have a politics filter, and only put those who request to be involved on it. I've had a few political arguments before, and found it a safer way to go. Less stress, but the ability to think in writing about issues like that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 13th, 2004 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually have a whole 'nother journal (miss_w), but I keep forgetting to use it, and also have the same issue--I don't want to insult people who disagree.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 13th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Do you have to be insulting?

Granted, in this society, being in disgreement, honestly or not, is seen as offense and insult.

But surely there are ways to speak up without insulting the readers, unless they're determined to be offended. If I say that Kerry doesn't speak to me, it would be hard for someone to take offense as I'm stating my experience. If I say that John Edwards doesn't make me want to vote Democratic, not that Kerry made me want to, either, once again, no insult.

However, if I do say that G-d forbid that the Dems take the White House because they're barely able to spell their names, much less figure out what's more important, corssing a picket line or meeting the supporters - well, someone is sure to get their dander up. I'm fairly certain both of them know how to spell their names, after all, they have to endorse those $$$$$ checks from Hollywood idi - I mean stars.

You're right, it's too hard not to offend. :D
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: July 13th, 2004 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Do you have to be insulting?

Teehee... you just amused me very much. Thanks.
pathstotread From: pathstotread Date: July 13th, 2004 09:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi. *waves* I friended you so I could keep up with your fic Shifts, and I just wanted to say I completely agree with this post (from a fellow "enemy of the left"). I also agree our society won't get anywhere unless we respect different points of view. So all that to say, nice post. :)
mincot From: mincot Date: July 13th, 2004 10:19 am (UTC) (Link)
It is very hard to have intelligent political discussion these days. PArtisans on both the left and the right tend to see disagreement as a failure to comprehend. It's the old cry of "If you understood you would agree with me," as if there is room for only one right opinion.

Because of that, however, I think there has to be civil debate and discussion. If we don't start trying to revive civil discourse at every level of our society, then the situation will only get worse. The specifics of politics may be fleeting, but the existence of politics goes way back in human history. It is going to be with us a very long time, and talking about it is necessary.

This committed left-wing Democrat would like to hear what you have to say, and will not take opinions that differ from hers as evidence that holders of said opinons are being wilfully offensive, feeble-minded, damned to hell, or any other dismissive thing. So long, that is, as said opinions are thoughtfully expressed and well supported. She would like to hope that she can, in such discourse, hold herself to the same standards. ;) If we can't talk to each other and hear each other's opinions, then we are in trouble as a society.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 13th, 2004 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's the old cry of "If you understood you would agree with me," as if there is room for only one right opinion.

Mm-hmm. That's exactly it--a failure to understand that people of good will can disagree about values, or even about methods to achieve the same value. That's why the vilifying of Clinton (please... the Clinton hit list?) during the Clinton years bugged me as much as the vilifying of Bush now. Disagree with the guy if you want to. Or think the guy's a sexist jerk if you want to (though claiming shock and surprise at it always struck me as disingenuous). But the former doesn't require loathing, and the latter doesn't have anything at all to do with policy. Even highly flawed human beings can have good ideas, so it's always a strange argument. But the same goes with the Bush-bashing. I'm not wild about him--I'm honestly not crazy about any contemporary leaders; I think they're all pretty small people--but he's just a guy, muddling through a bad time as well as he can. If you think Kerry will muddle more effectively, then that's who you should vote for. If you think Bush's muddling is more or less on target, then that's who you should vote for. There's no reason to slam the men.

In the end, it probably comes down thinking, "How would I muddle through this particular world situation, if people were looking to me to solve it? And how do I believe I should, if that's different?"
silverhill From: silverhill Date: July 13th, 2004 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I know how you feel. I am extremely opinionated. And I have very strong beliefs about politics, current events, etc. I could easily go on long partisan rants. But I want to keep my journal fun and not all deadly serious and political. And I don't want to alienate people on my f-list. That's why my comments on Fahrenheit 9/11 were extremely low-key and apolitical.

That said, I don't mind rants from you (even if I disagree with them) because I know you are a highly reasoning person who thinks for herself and doesn't just spout some hypocritical party line.
natgel From: natgel Date: July 13th, 2004 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't see why you should be concerned about stating your opinions and personal beliefs on your own journal. I probably won't agree with you on too many subjects, given what you wrote in this post, but it's okay to disagree, I have my own opinions on these matters and I don't see why I (or anybody else) should ever be insulted by other people having opinions. As long as you don't go out and say "These people/these beliefs are stupid" or whatever, we're fine :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 13th, 2004 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not so much my opinions that I don't want to post so much as the kind of silly meme jokes and so on that I see a lot of out there. I'm sure there exist right-wing versions of them, and I'll cop to being tempted sometimes to go find them, but in the end, I don't think they're helpful to the discourse.
natgel From: natgel Date: July 13th, 2004 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Still, Compared to all the really nasty blogs I've come across, a silly little meme doesn't seem too bad.

Maybe I'm just not really sensetive *shrugs* your journal - your call.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: July 13th, 2004 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. As far as I can tell, I disagree with you on pretty much all of those issues, but I wouldn't mind seeing them in your journal at all. So much of my friendslist is people with whom I'm pretty in tune politically, and all pretty much assuming that anyone they meet is going to agree with them. As a result, I find I don't have to *think* that much about my positions, at least on LJ, because I find very little to challenge them or even remind me that there are people who don't hold them! (And I do find the insinuation that anyone who doesn't hold them is an idiot to be pretty tiresome.) Of course, I don't have to look far to find opposing arguments--flip on FoxNews, or whatever--but it's nice to match an actual personality (and good writer!) to opposing opinions once in awhile. Such essays/memes, however much I might disagree with them, would be welcome on my friendslist, as long as they don't adopt the strident tone that's often found on the lefty ones.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 13th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
This lefty liberal multicultural feminist Democrat says, "What mincot said." You are an intelligent, reasoning person, so I'd be happy to hear about your opinions. I don't necessarily expect everyone on my f-list to share my political views.

mincot pointed this out, and again I agree with her, that "left" and "right" in this country are so polarized there really is no intelligent dialogue. Which is a pity, because I feel there are issues this country needs to face that there's no reason for "left" and "right" not to come together on some issues.

Anyhow, please feel free to post. I may well disagree and tell you so, but I promise to be civil. Just don't ever say "Tonks is a big Mary Sue!" :P
moeyknight From: moeyknight Date: July 13th, 2004 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
You just stated what I've been feeling for the past several weeks now. Many of the more liberal-leaning people on my friends list seem a bit vehement when expressing their views and their dislike of anything or anyone that disagrees with them, and I usually fall into that disagreeing category. If I were to take what some of them have said to heart, I'd be very upset because in just the past week or so I've been called everything from a moron to just plain evil. And since I don't like to offend anyone either, I just keep quiet and don't even bother to comment on the more thoughtful (and non name-calling) posts. It's unfortunate, but I learned that some people can't separate the argument from the arguer, and until I'm absolutely sure that they can, I just don't say anything at all. In the meantime, I go and take out my frustrations in a good R/H vs. H/H argument. ;)
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: July 13th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I may not agree with your opinions, but you strike me as somebody able to articulate them in ways I'd like to read.
If you do, you might want to set some groundrules for discussion (no personal or adhominem attacks, whatever) with an understanding that you have the right to delete rude responses. Or, you could possibly disable comments for those posts to avoid the conflict altogether (let people who really feel the need to post responses do it in their own journals). Others have already suggested filters.

What I'm trying to say in my own clumsy manner is that I'd like to read what you want to write, and would like to find some way you'd feel comfortable writing about it.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: July 13th, 2004 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
You should go ahead and post your opinions; I know I'd love to read them. Everyone above who has said there isn't enough civil debate in our country these days is right. I enjoy having well thought out political discussions, and if, at the end of the day, you simply have to agree to disagree then so be it, at least you were involved.
buongiornodaisy From: buongiornodaisy Date: July 13th, 2004 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Respect does not equate to silence. If you have an opinion, by all means say it. There is a way to state your opinion without insulting someone--just say it in a calm, intelligent, thought-out way. I mean, after all, there are many liberals whose passionately stated opinions are very offensive to conservatives, and yet they, when confronted with this fact, disregard the opinions of the conservatives as misled and bigoted. You don't have to act the same way, but being silent about it because you might offend someone? Politics in this country needs voices to the contrary, and I, for one, would love to hear more conservatives defend their positions on the web.
sreya From: sreya Date: July 13th, 2004 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, like you said, you do have the miss_w account. I've set up a "real life" journal account myself, because I just know eventually I'm going to want to speak up about politics or religion or some other "taboo" subject. (Though I haven't used it quite yet)

I guess the reason I like to keep my sreya journal fan-focused isn't so much that I'm afraid of offending anyone, but because my fandoms are supposed to be an escape. I don't really want to be mixing up my fears and frustrations about the world with my fantasies. Sure, sometimes those things come through in what I write or the way I analyze these fictional worlds, but it's still different because then it's within a controlled environment, and I know that if I don't quite get things right, there's no real consequence to it. Other than someone saying "Naw, don't think that works" anyway. I think I tend to "friend" people who are generally the same -- I prefer watching fan journals that don't have a mix of politics in them. Although there are a few journals I'll watch anyway if the politics that are there are something I find interesting, instead of just on the level of "Bush is dumb".

I do have your other journal on my friends list just so that I can see when you do come up with your rants, because what I've seen on there so far has been very insightful. Helps that I seem to be similarly aligned. :~)
jiminyc From: jiminyc Date: July 13th, 2004 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll toss my hat in here with many others and say that, while I (as a liberal Democrat) may not share all of your political views, I have no problem with you saying them. I am always open to hearing all kinds of viewpoints...they may be miles away from mine but they also may make me rethink my own opinions, so I think it's important to always be willing to listen (or read, as the case may be). And I doubt there's any opinion you could express that would lessen my admiration for you as an intelligent person and a gifted writer.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: July 13th, 2004 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I so enjoy hearing well-reasoned arguments that don't degenerate into name-calling and false syllogisms! It is hard not to lower oneself to the level of the noisy rabble of both sides, isn't it? I love debating things with people who think things through, but it is so hard when I feel like I'm being bludgeoned with bad arguments.

You could hide it behind an lj-cut with lots of warnings, though I'm not sure how much good it would do.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: July 13th, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

politics and faith

As a "Compassionate Libertarian" I say go for it. (and the religion discussion at SQ is one of my favorite) As long as you respect another's opinions, it's okay to disagree. It's the people who assume that anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-an-idiot who offend. And I'm afraid that too many of the extreme believers on both sides patronize anyone who doesn't see things their way. That's when I get offended by both. What's the point of assuming that anyone who doesn't agree with you is too stupid to know any better? What happens to intelligent discourse? All we end up with is belligerent back stabbing and pettiness.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: July 13th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics and faith

:And I'm afraid that too many of the extreme believers on both sides patronize anyone who doesn't see things their way.
*snerk* Sound like the R/H vs H/H shipping wars, anyone?

In a more serious vein, I would also like to hear what you have to say. My Flist is pretty balanced between liberals and conservatives--but the liberals tend to be far more vocal in voicing their views and opinions. I would greatly welcome more active conservative voices (that is to say, folks I can agree with).
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: July 13th, 2004 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics and faith

Shoot, I'm just as bad as the politicians I am offended by, because I do tend to patronize H/Hshps.oops
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 13th, 2004 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics and faith

I think, to some extent, there's a place for it in play, where it's just goofing around, sort of like taking sides in a sports match. I'll root New England Patriots over anyone except Buffalo Bills, but when the Bills play, I go all Buffalonian. And as far as the Sox and Yankees go, I sincerely doubt that the Yankee-hate in Boston is anything but a fun game (well, except last year at that really weird game, but that was... weird). Book play is just play, and if people want to get a little passionate, it's not my thing, but, you know, I assume people who participate in ship wars do so because they enjoy it. When it comes to politics, we all have to actually live in the world at some point, and the fights have actual implications about real life.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 13th, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics and faith

I'm a native of Indiana and live in Ohio. When Notre Dame played Ohio State, I felt schizophrenic.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: July 13th, 2004 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
This conservative will give you a giant WORD. :-D

Of course, I'm of the opinion that the American system doesn't have any left-wing parties, just right and farther right. (We're going the same way over here, though).
necessaryspace From: necessaryspace Date: July 13th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you have an opinion, then you should write it. I don't think I'd agree with everything you'd say, but I would certainly respect your right to talk about your beliefs in your own journal and wouldn't attack you for stating them.

Plus, reading a different POV often helps me clarify why I feel the way I do -- and your previous posts have been articulate, well-thought out and enjoyable to read. If someone does become offended, even after you wrote based on those criteria, then they're the same type of people who'd get offend b/c you wore a color they didn't like. =)
minoukatze From: minoukatze Date: July 13th, 2004 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't agree with your views, but I know that you'd put forth a debate that is insightful and intelligent. I'd be very interested in reading your political postings.

mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: July 13th, 2004 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, I probably *would* agree with many of your opinions

I'm a libertarian Christian with some conservative leanings, but I find the whole liberal/conservative, us/them mentality very tiring. I tire of the way both sides hold up political party as the ultimate litmus test. How moral are you? How patriotic are you? What kind of a writer are you? It can all be answered by one question: "Democrat or Republican?" Depending upon whom you're talking to, you're either an idiot or a patriot. IMHO, this is something fairly unique to the US. My international friends aren't as polarized over politics as we are.

I'm bothered by the whole idea that I must follow one party line or the other without question. I can't be a social conservative but a fiscal liberal, no, no, no. It's "us" and "them". :(

Being somewhat libertarian, I heartily enjoy gridlock. I tend to agree with Twain on the legislature: "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." If congress is gridlocked, they're not doing a darn thing and that's how I generally like it. At some point, everyone drifts a little toward center and begins to yield their staunchly held moral ground for the betterment of the country-at-large, and things can become somewhat workable for a while. It'll happen that way in government simply because it MUST or they won't bring home the pork.

Will it happen among the common folk? That I don't know. It saddens me that the political muckety-mucks have told us to hate one another because it's election time, then when they get around to compromise, we're so stuck in polarity that *we* can't compromise. Although I desperately believe in Good and Evil, I believe life is shades of gray. When we see the gray, we see that Left and Right are still part of the same color pallet and should be able to dialogue reasonably. I'm not saying Left & Right will ever agree, but healthy dialogue is, well, healthy.

The sad thing is, many readers didn't get past my first sentence! The fact that I'm a Christian and mention the word conservative, will make many people automatically write me off as a right-wing, bigoted, brainless follower. :(

Keep up the great blog, Fern! I'm glad I finally figured out how to get signed in and post and everything.

Lauri Bolland
ladyelaine From: ladyelaine Date: July 13th, 2004 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I know I'd disagree with you, but guess what: It's your live journal. Post what you want to post, no matter what your f-list may think about it.
manicwriter1271 From: manicwriter1271 Date: July 13th, 2004 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I realize there are a lot of people on my f-list disagree, and I'd prefer not to offend them, so I treat their beliefs (or lack of same) with as much respect as I can muster, because I believe it to be the right thing to do. I think that respect for differing viewpoints is the key to getting along pleasantly and talking about things that are more universal and permanent than politics.

Which is why you're cool, even if our political/religious beliefs are different.

In spite of some of the rants I've gone on in the past, on message boards and elsewhere, I honestly don't have a problem with right-wing folks as individuals, or a problem with their beliefs. I only get my back up with those who want to force the rest of the world to conform to their beliefs--and I do mean force--legislating their personal beliefs into law, intimidating--sometimes violently--those who disagree with them, and that sort of thing.

We left-wingers have our bad apples too, those who do not practice the tolerance we preach, who want religion completely left out of the public arena--that's hypocritical.

I think a little real tolerance on both sides can go a long way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 13th, 2004 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I only get my back up with those who want to force the rest of the world to conform to their beliefs--and I do mean force--legislating their personal beliefs into law, intimidating--sometimes violently--those who disagree with them, and that sort of thing.

They tend to feel the same--that's why this gay marriage issue ended up setting off forest fires; they believe that people are trying to force their personal convictions into law without going through due process and getting widespread support, so their going completely crazy and responding with what they consider a "like maneuver," except doing it legislatively instead of judicially.

A little communication would go a long way.
pauraque From: pauraque Date: July 14th, 2004 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have an assortment of "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints (often I don't see why certain views should be grouped together under those names), and am registered as an independent.

It's my pet peeve when people spew their political spleen in a fandom context as though their view is the One True Way and naturally everyone will agree with them. Both liberals and conservatives are terribly guilty of this, though liberals seem to do it more often on LJ.

I, for one, would be more than happy to listen to what you have to say, whether I agree or not, provided it's said in a civil way. In fact, I would applaud you for speaking your mind AND being an adult about it (as so many people seem unable to do). I really value the thoughtful discussions I've had with people who disagreed with me on important issues-- if you're not able to do that, it seems to me that you've basically turned your brain off.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: July 15th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm been in the same boat, wary of posting anything about my social/political views on my LJ. I decided my LJ is primarily about SW with some other stuff thrown in for good measure, but from experience I've learned it's hard to have a civil discussion on fandom much less anything re politics or "issues" on the internet. When President Reagan died, I posted a short tribute but I closed it to comments...I didn't want Reagan bashing on my LJ.

I attribute it to folks becoming more isolated in their niches. PJ O'Rourke mentioned something about that recently in an essay called "I Agree With Me." I have to admit some of my favorite talk show guests are liberals like Susan Estrich who can argue their perspective fairly without the usual Bush bashing or without going the far-left America's To Blame For Everything route. Or even not-so-conventional conservatives or libertarians like Tammy Bruce or Andrew Sullivan.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: August 7th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
emmagrant01 just posted some questions about politics and fandom, and I thought of you. It's not for me to speak about somebody else, but since she's not on your flist, I wanted to make sure you saw it to have the option.
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