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Old Sep 06, 2005, 01:59 AM
Human Like You
NewbieX's Avatar
Colorado
Joined Feb 2001
1,616 Posts
What's the point?

Why do we argue here on LTUP? What do we hope to accomplish? Are we just killing time?

I've just been struck over the last few weeks (with all the Katrina threads) how we've turned that disaster into the same argument as everything else. We all seem to see everything that happens as fitting into our pro-con standard debate. How can that be?

It's pretty much intransigent as we all just argue the same thing over and over. The sides have been drawn, you rarely see anyone challenge some poster on "their side", even though there is certainly disagreement within the camps which roughly approximate the DNC/RNC.

Our conversations aren't all that high level. Few of us have educated ourselves well on those things we argue about (well, being relative). We basically argue who our favorite talking head is, rather than discussing ideas. We argue about the differing propaganda and whatever truth gets through to us from the major media.

Is it ego? Do we all have some desire to correct every untruth, as we see it? Do we like the competition and the trash talk? Do we learn anything? Are we just bored? Do we like the interaction, even if it is unpleasant?

With few exceptions, we just parrot the party spin on the news of the day. That and long held beliefs about the ways of the World. And we always assume there must be some failure, some ignorance, some pathology among those that don't believe as we do.

All we really manage to accomplish is further intransigence and some personal enmity, added to the tribalism. Seems kinda silly.

So, having said that, what's in it for us? Or are our political and current events discussions a mirror of something else? Are we being strong, arguing our viewpoint in hopes of "winning", or are we being weak, manipulated to argue as an end in itself?

I'm really interested in each individual reason for taking part here. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post. Or just create a dummy username, so that you can remain anonymous. Thanks.

Graham
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 03:03 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar
Telford, UK
Joined Feb 2000
7,509 Posts
Graham,

Interesting post. I'm not an intellectual heavyweight by any means, but I tired of the all endless, pointless, predictable and circular squabbling a long time ago.

I'll skim this forum once a day or so just to see if there's anything interesting happening, but mostly it's like watching the same old soap-opera over and over again.

Maybe it's me - I don't have a political or religious axe to grind, so maybe I'm lacking the requisite motivation to participate?

tim
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 03:12 AM
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JMP_blackfoot's Avatar
United States, OH, Galena
Joined Jul 2003
1,722 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieX
Why do we argue here on LTUP? What do we hope to accomplish? Are we just killing time? ....

I'm really interested in each individual reason for taking part here. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather not post. Or just create a dummy username, so that you can remain anonymous. Thanks. Graham
I feel that following these debates is a great way to begin to understand what makes Americans tick.
Why is it important for us Europeans to understand which way America is going ?
Because our experience is that what happens there in the social field tends to come our way a few years later, and it is always a good thing to be forewarned.
It helps understand the real agenda of some of our own politicians, which sort of society they want our country and Europe to be, and thus be better informed before voting.
It also helps understand that Americans do not all think the same way, which is reassuring.
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 03:46 AM
sensitive artsy type
Treetop's Avatar
Tucker, Georgia, United States
Joined Feb 2004
3,168 Posts
Graham, you too need to say why you spend time here. You list many reasons Not to spend time here, but I think, like me, and tell me if I am projecting, you are very concerned with the course your country has taken over the last 5 years.

Personally, the questions brought up here make me curious. Mostly, the thing that astounds me is the amount of false information that posters here truly believe. I guess it is a desire that the truth be told in order that fair decisions are made. I do realise that many will not accept anything that contradicts what they believe to be true, but it motivates me to research things and sometimes I find I am believing things that are not true as well.

Unfortunately, I think the problem is that there are so many who post nothing but opinion, and if they do post a link to something, it is someone elses opinion. Opinions are important, but all the facts should be known, otherwise they are just assumptions.

Adding to this is the inability of the common citizen in this day and age to get the true facts from the government.

The other thing I find interesting, is the fact that white males in the middle and upper middle class are by far the largest supporters of Republicans. That is basically the make up of this forum. That makes me a minority in my own group. So as I discuss issues with those I disagree with politically, it teaches me something about myself. Why do I have these differing views?

As to the reality of politics, here is an interesting op-ed piece about Family values and marriage, teen pregnancy rates, divorce rates, education etc.

Quote:
WILLIAM V. D'ANTONIO
Walking the walk on family values

By William V. D'Antonio | October 31, 2004

PRESIDENT Bush and Vice President Cheney make reference to "Massachusetts liberals" as if they were referring to people with some kind of disease. I decided it was time to do some research on these people, and here is what I found.


The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

But don't take the US government's word for it. Take a look at the findings from the George Barna Research Group. George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

How to explain these differences? The following factors provide a partial answer:

* More couples in the South enter their first marriage at a younger age.

* Average household incomes are lower in the South.

* Southern states have a lower percentage of Roman Catholics, "a denomination that does not recognize divorce." Barna's study showed that 21 percent of Catholics had been divorced, compared with 29 percent of Baptists.

* Education. Massachusetts has about the highest rate of education in the country, with 85 percent completing high school. For Texas the rate is 76 percent. One third of Massachusetts residents have completed college, compared with 23 percent of Texans, and the other Northeast states are right behind Massachusetts.

The liberals from Massachusetts have long prided themselves on their emphasis on education, and it has paid off: People who stay in school longer get married at a later age, when they are more mature, are more likely to secure a better job, and job income increases with each level of formal education. As a result, Massachusetts also leads in per capita and family income while births by teenagers, as a percent of total births, was 7.4 for Massachusetts and 16.1 for Texas.

The Northeast corridor, with Massachusetts as the hub, does have one of the highest levels of Catholics per state total. And it is also the case that these are among the states most strongly supportive of the Catholic Church's teaching on social justice issues such as minimum and living wages and universal healthcare.

For all the Bible Belt talk about family values, it is the people from Kerry's home state, along with their neighbors in the Northeast corridor, who live these values. Indeed, it is the "blue" states, led led by Massachusetts and Connecticut, that have been willing to invest more money over time to foster the reality of what it means to leave no children behind. And they have been among the nation's leaders in promoting a living wage as their goal in public employment. The money they have invested in their future is known more popularly as taxes; these so-called liberal people see that money is their investment to help insure a compassionate, humane society. Family values are much more likely to be found in the states mistakenly called out-of-the-mainstream liberal. By their behavior you can know them as the true conservatives. They are showing how to conserve family life through the way they live their family values. William V. D'Antonio is professor emeritus at University of Connecticut and a visiting research professor at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/edi...family_values/
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 08:58 AM
foamie re-cycler
daddiozz's Avatar
United States, WV
Joined Nov 2004
2,106 Posts
I admit it ;I like to argue.I have found the best way to get at the facts in a given subject are much more likely in a lively debate.People say the darndest things when they are agitated and its entertaining (sometimes not) to read their opinions as well.
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 09:27 AM
These go to eleven...
dstout's Avatar
Hickory, NC
Joined Jan 2001
446 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treetop
Mostly, the thing that astounds me is the amount of false information that posters here truly believe. I guess it is a desire that the truth be told in order that fair decisions are made.
Hence the reason we all post here: to help the "other side" see the error of their way of thinking. I've provided the correct answers for some time now but dang if any of it is sinking through their thick skulls. Frustrating, yes, but I am ultimately here to help. Altruism is tough business.
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 10:17 AM
If it wasn't for the foam
PA
Joined Dec 2004
522 Posts
TT, have you seen this one? It's similar to your article, and if based on sound numbers, explains a lot. If the link doesn't work, google "ultraviolet states" and look for the dallas news article. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont....20b964e4.html

Back to topic. NewbieX posts an interesting question, and makes an observation I also have made. I'm drawn to this forum like it has some hidden force. But why? I had to think hard on that one.

- I learn about history.
- I learn to recognize spin.
- I learn about the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives.
- I learn that most people don't understand the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives.
- I learn that I have things in common even with folks I tend to disagree with.
- I learn to be open-minded prior to forming an opinion.
- I learn that open-mindedness is a rarity.
- I learn to restrain my emotions when I want to tell someone off.
- I learn how to discuss differences in a professional, courteous, non-offending manner.
- I learn how to push peoples' buttons when I don't feel like being courteous and professional.
- I learn how the other side thinks. This makes it easier to recognize their kind.

I could go on, but those are the top reasons that come to mind. Good question Newb!
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 11:20 AM
Human Like You
NewbieX's Avatar
Colorado
Joined Feb 2001
1,616 Posts
For me, I've always enjoyed those topics of conversation which much of my generation (and many people generally) tend to shy away from. Politics, Culture, Religion, Belief Systems. I've always been curious and for me, it's about learning and growing, testing my own ideas. But I learned a long time ago that much of that conversation is based in cozy untruths (or at least a cozy lack of evidence), from all sides.

Recently I've come to the conclusion that the cozy untruths, the intransigence, the constant debate itself is used to protect the priveledged, to maintain the status quo. I think the lively debate here is an example of that.

Why debate if there is never a conclusion, never a consensus, never a moving forward?

More to the point, I haven't been "on task" for quite a few years. LTUP is an engaging method of procrastination, often more entertaining than RC Airplanes and some of the other hobbies I enjoy.

Funny thing is, despite enjoying this forum less, I keep coming back. Thanks to those of you that have posted.

Graham
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 11:36 AM
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vintage1's Avatar
East Anglia, UK
Joined Sep 2002
29,705 Posts
I'm here for fun, to edcucate and pass on views to those that want to listen and to test the ideas of those who have contrary views, and when those views are illogical, hypocritical and naive, to hold them up to the ridicule they deserve.

On that intersting bit about the bible belt having the greatest divorce rate - of course. No sex before marriage = buying a pig in a poke

Taste and try, before you buy...

Another possibility is that people simply don't bother to get married in Masschusetts. Not until the relaitionship is blessed (or cursed) with children or they accept that its as good as it gets, anyway...
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 11:46 AM
Trampling out the vintage
Joined Feb 2002
1,893 Posts
I post here to find out how others respond to arguments. I view here to see the views of others. Many people are more frank and direct here than in conversation.

I enjoy arguing with anyone who can frame their views in facts and logic. Sadly, the quality of argument here is often very poor and a search for good argument fruitless. Many can only repeat the talking points of their ideological leaders, and must insult either directly or indirectly anyone who disagrees.

I also post here due to frustration. In the past five years I've seen the government shred the environment, lie like crazy, commit military aggression, widen the gap between rich and poor, and try to institutionalize discrimination against entire groups of people. Nationally I've seen chilling election tactics, and some political groups adopt a level of viterol coupled with influence that suggests this coutry is drifting toward the techniques used by the Nazis to get and keep power. In these forums at any hour I can find zealots cheerfully defending this behavior and engage them at will. I get some satisfaction from not going along with this drift willingly.
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 01:26 PM
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ni'ihau
Joined Nov 2003
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Tree Top,
I don't think you can honestly use the state of Massachusetts as an example for ANYTHING. 85% white... 5% black ...they have practiced defacto segregation in that state since the time they were burning witches. The flavor of the ruling class has changed a bit with time, but make no mistake it is still a white bread mono-culture. If you balance the divorce rate by biasing the stat for the same racial mix as the south I think they will be very similar. (as it would be for Utah or Montana)
jimbo
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 01:57 PM
Time for me to Fly...
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United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
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I post here because I know that I don't know everything and most of what I say will be challenged by someone. I usually learn from those challenging me. Sometimes I learn that I'm worng, sometimes I learn that I'm right, but usually I find that I'm somewhere in between. For what it's worth, I have been changed by the opinions of others here. I've learned by my postings that I was farther right than I thought I was. Based on the logic and opinions of others here I've changed or softened my position on a lot of things. I've moved farther left that I ever thought I would. That said, I thought I was in the middle before.

Wiz
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 02:18 PM
Eye Drather Beef Lying
ElectRick's Avatar
Jacksonville, FL
Joined Aug 2002
2,696 Posts
I post here for many of the same reasons as some others have stated.

What I find funny about THIS thread is, that in some responses as to why it's so fruitless to argue with 'the other side' (which is always wrong/stupid/prejudiced), it is the posters themselves who are trying to convince us that they have all the correct answers.

In denouncing partisanship, you are at the same time being partisan with such comments.

Truth has no ideological label--it is what it is, and neither side has a lock on it. Truth (not the partisan kind) is also extremely hard to find these days. We all tend to think we 'know' what it is of which we speak occurring within the halls of government, but do we really? Are we privy to what exactly goes on inside those walls, beneficial or harmful?

All any of us really has is our perception of what we read and hear, because it all gets processed through our built-in prejudices before getting filed away as truth (or not) in our minds. Additionally, whether it's truth or not is always subject to debate, given the sources we all use to obtain it even before we process it.

One of the hardest things for almost anyone to do is to openly admit their biases. It is that very bias that convinces most that they don't have any--that their way of thinking is THE way.

Not one of us is immune to it.

Rick
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 03:27 PM
Registered User
United States, MI, Commerce Charter Township
Joined Dec 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieX
Why do we argue here on LTUP? What do we hope to accomplish? Are we just killing time?
Graham

I think it's because there are a lot of malcontents in this world... When President Clinton was elected and then Re-elected, I didn't make the rounds of all the boards I post to and play the part of the vitriol filled Chicken Little alarmist.

Maybe it's been a good thing with the post count controls placed on LTUP.. I only post to two on topic forums here and browse the classifieds, so it makes it difficult to maintain a presence here. The result is that I don't bother with inflammatory posts because it eats at my post ratio. My posts outside LTUP are about 2 per week, so if I want to start my own thread I have to be careful how many idiots I call to task as I may not be able to follow my own thread... I just refuse to post in other areas of RCGroups to keep my post ratio up-strikes me as intellectually dishonest.

Dave
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Old Sep 06, 2005, 03:53 PM
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ni'ihau
Joined Nov 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
I just refuse to post in other areas of RCGroups to keep my post ratio up-strikes me as intellectually dishonest.
Dave
I agree with you Dave,
I wish they would change the ratio here from 10/1 to 1/1. It is so easy to get POed here. Sometimes I wander to this "Life, The Universe, and Politics" part just to kill time waiting for a reply to a question in the legitimate half of RC groups. I get sucked into the vortex of rage and add my own bile to it. (in copious amounts for days). I wish I would stay away.... but is SO addictive. I think some of the regular contributors to this area are politics only people. They are here because it is the best soapbox they can find.
"How I changed the world after one slow-stick" by...........
jimbo
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