“The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it” -- Alberto Brandolini
Ever since I started searching out truth in this world, I have learned what makes a sound argument: a respect for logic, avoiding logical fallacies (traps), and talking from an accepted reality/philosophy. And with that usually comes an uncanny appreciation and understanding of “integrity”. Because you can’t properly appreciate or understand any of those concepts without a complete acceptance of the others. So when I talk about someone having a lack of “integrity”, I am talking about someone who doesn’t realize how meaningless their actions or arguments are because they are not respecting those basic tools that build an objective, sound argument. To be missing a single one of those components in an argumentative statement is to build a bridge without bolts, beams or builders. You can’t trust that bridge if it’s missing one of the items necessary to trust it’s physical integrity. Same goes for people, ideas and politicians.
And to become someone who I will take seriously, it necessitates that you showcase a respect for these basic tenets so heartily, that you are embarrassed to be proven to be operating outside of them, and if proven so you would correct your argument or opinion.
To be honest, this isn’t that different from how actual news rooms work. A lack of appreciation for this fact has lead us to this mess of people respecting completely fabricated facebook click-bate fake news on the same level as real news. The real problem isn’t with journalism -- it’s likely with the readers filter. And there is no quick solution to this.
Case in point, the 2 hours of writing I am sharing with you below. The 2 hours of work that I foolhardily put in to craft a sincere, sound, rational response to an honest question asked by someone who disagreed with me. And when I submitted my lengthy tear down pointing out their lack of integrity, they demonstrated the completely cowardly response that I have learned to defend against over the years: They deleted the whole thread. They doubled down on their lack of integrity instead of starting down the path of personal growth and honest debate. They removed the argument from public discourse.
Due to this phenomenon, I learned years ago when to take screen shots. Not to shame people, but so I could still share such assery beyond their censorship. And due to how this lack of integrity is currently effecting our politics and idea of “news”, I let myself waste 2 hours honestly trying to show someone the error of their arguments...only to have the debate deleted by a coward. This has happened to me upwards of 20 times in my life, and I have the screenshots to prove it.
So with this in mind, here is my response to a coward who was defending Trumps record and actions by dragging Hilary through the mud...1.5 months after the election. I pointed out how the time for petty deflection ended when he became President Elect, and he needs to now defend his appointments, statements and actions for what they are. He gave the response I quote in full below, and I responded by simply saying how “sad” his response made me. He asked why. Directly below was my honest, sincere answer to his question:
Alright *Name Redacted McNamerson* -- I'll answer your simple question of "how is it sad?" hoping it was a sincere question. Let me break down for you, your entire response, and why it makes me sad.
YOU SAID: "I support all of this (Trumps actions listed above). For one simple reason. And hear this, because this is important to understand before I say why I support him. I have the right to support whatever and whoever I want, as do you. And I respect you for your beliefs, as I expect respect for mine. "
MY RESPONSE: That is a meaningless argument. You realize you said "I support him because I support him.". That is all you said, only you tried to make it about my having to respect your opinion, when that has nothing to do with WHY you would support this.
LOGICAL FALLACIES COMMITTED: "Begging the Question", "Moving the Goal Posts" and "Appeal to Emotion".
YOU SAID: "I support him because he isn't a politician. He hasn't run the government for his own pocket. He is flipping off the status quo. He is saying that the fact that our government now says we can't to everything is bullshit. Like economic stimulus. Like ending racism. Like protecting lower class areas. Like adding jobs. Like building international relations, while keeping us safe. He says it's bullshit to say "well it's impossible".
MY SADNESS: If you supported him because he isn't a politician and you think he is going to drain the swamp, you should be SOOO MAD right now. I just pointed out to you in my previous comment all the things that have happened in the last month that are counter to these promises and you addressed NONE OF THEM. You are regurgitating the simplest concepts of what he said on the campaign trail and now ignoring the reality unfolding in front of you that proves it hollow. Also, you posturing that his goals are to "end racism" or "protecting lower class areas" or "building international relations" have all also been spat upon in the last month and a half since he has been named President Elect. Does vaguely threatening China and Russia with an arms race make for good international relations? Does skipping most intelligence briefings from the most advanced branches of information intelligence in the world make his decision making more stable? What actions are in motion to make you believe what you are standing up for, is true? You haven't defended anything, you have simply repeated his vague meaningless talking points, and that makes me sad.
YOU SAID: "What good has come from Obama, bush, Clinton. Those are the presidents of my lifetime. So I can only speak for those. What good has come? Every president has doubled the debt of the previous president. Every one of them has said a done some stupid bull. All three of them have ruined this country."
MY SADNESS: Obama inherited an Economy that ran straight in to double digit unemployment and a housing market/banking collapse that brought much of the 1st world to its economic knees. The fact that 8 years later we are back to 90s era Unemployment and the deficit is inching back toward stability more than anytime since it was BALANCED under a Clinton Administration, is a reality you need to admit. Hard numbers and history backs up that sentence. Is there nuance and situational factors that could be discussed ad nosium inside that recap I just gave: Oh yeah! But your lack of nuance ignores any sense of reality or sense that you even know what you are complaining about. "All three of them have ruined the country" is laughable. We are constantly living in a more peaceful, prosperous and ever growing world and country when you look at the numbers from a macro position; when you actually look at long term data. If you want to complain about wealth inequality, I would be on board with your concern -- but your lack of nuance makes your complaints childish, and it makes me sad that it causes you to vote for a bullshit artist.
YOU SAID: "But trump says we can fix it. He isn't saying we can make it better, he isn't saying we can't make it perfect. He is saying we will fix it. Whether he does it or not doesn't matter for this conversation. What matters is he is saying it. It's the mentality. He is still saying drain the swamp, because he wants to remove all the alligators that have prayed on us. He wants to CUT TAXES. How can you not be OK with that?"
MY SADNESS: The fact that you say 'it doesn't matter if he can, or does or not' is the saddest thing to me. It means you can be taken in by the most outrageous peddling of bullshit as long as you want to believe it. Do you realize how harmful that is? To simply believe what is convenient? To believe something simply because you want to, regardless of facts and judgement? Do you realize how childish that is? You end this thought by saying 'how could I not be ok with him cutting taxes?' without any sense of the irony about how angry you were just 4 sentences ago about our ballooning national debt. You can't mindlessly want to cut taxes while simultaneously being angry about our deficit. Those two things directly effect eachother and you are talking about it without connecting those dots. You are simplifying things for your convenience and it makes me sad.
LOGICAL FALLACIES COMMITTED: "Personal Incredulity", "anecdotal evidence", "Burden of Proof"
YOU SAID: "Ya he has said some grimy things. But he hasn't DONE grimy things. And before you spew "proof", I'd like to hear where you are getting it from. Because every single major media source has lied about him. So...
To touch a few of your points: if we took the oil, isis wouldn't have the funding to do what it does."
MY REACTION: Read all the things I listed -- they are all grimy actions. Also, when I am electing someone, I want to feel I understand their intentions and to do that, I have to believe their words. A person of integrity is someone who's words match their actions and intent. You are basically asking me to trust someone who you admit says terrible things, but you want me to blindly trust he will not act on them. But since you address only 2 of my laundry list of true, very real life things that have happened, allow me to inform you:
LIKE YOU SAID: "To touch a few of your points: if we took the oil, isis wouldn't have the funding to do what it does."
MY SADNESS: You are wrong in a few ways on this: 1) ISIS currently holds no oil fields in Iraq territory. They did for a period of time in 2014 but have since lost hold. Oil is not one of the main funding operations of ISIS. But this wasn't even really the point. 2) It was about stability. Trumps idea that we should have simply "taken" all the oil from Iraq for US splendor would have created a much larger vacuum of instability that breads the things you are pointing to: Extremism/radicalization/terrorism. What do you/Trump think would happen if we would have gone into a country to supposedly remove a dictator and nation build, but then we simply withheld the only true export of the region from the entire populace? Complete famine and chaos among an entire population. That's the kind of crap that leads to extremism and terrorism; young men with nothing to lose. That's the mistake the world made with Germany after WWI, but now I'm asking a lot for you to understand that context. You need to appreciate the caveats of why things are the way they are. You aren't, yet you are angry and ready to yell about it with confidence, and that makes me sad.
YOU SAID: "If we get Russia on our side, who the hell else will we possibly go to war with for a long time? "
MY SADNESS: You ignored more of my examples, like how he is actively instigating China right now. That's one. And also, "Russia on our side"? Our side of what? What equation are you discussing here? If only we get that KGB semi-Dictator Putin on our side, then what? Do you even know why we disagree with his actions in many ways? Do you realize dissenting journalists simply "die" mysterious deaths in their country. Or that his roots to the Soviet Union and his pining over returning to the past Soviet State is counter to everything you should truly respect about freedom and democracy in this world? What situations are you even thinking about when you state something this simple? It's meaningless in its simplicity, and that makes me sad.
YOU SAID: "Press conferences is a mute point because all the reporters will lie anyway. "
MY SADNESS: You realize you can watch a press conference with your own two eyes right? I really want you to recognize that there ARE objective facts in this world, and your cynicism against all media is simply playing into the hands of those who want you to believe it is futile to understand the world at all. If they get everyone to believe it's impossible to know anything, then they create a populace that will believe anything. You aren't helping yourself or the world by adopting this mentality. The best things you could do is start to dig deep into things that seem hard to believe and find objective facts to build upon. Actual newsrooms really do rely on fact checking, sources and do their damndest to never have to retract anything -- but they would retract it if proven false. But you need to recognize actual journalism exists and know what "retractions" are, and not believe things simply out of convenience or because you want to, if you want to understand the world. Please, know this. The world is counting on people to figure this out in this ever expanding open media landscape we have online.
YOU SAID: "1980 illegals... Where is the proof on that? Honestly, if you expect me to believe what the government states about illegals back then, when is lies about it now, I laugh. "
MY SADNESS: You can read at length about the Polish immigrants he used to build Trump Tower and how he used their illegal status against them to withhold pay. It's at the core of a giant lawsuit from the 1980s and it's just simply true. You have to be willing to read and not dismiss anything and everything to understand the world. Honestly. If you want to dismiss Time Magazine as some sort of loony website you hold on similar footing with every bullshit blog on the web, I don't know how to save you. http://time.com/4465744/donald-trump-undocumented-workers/
YOU SAID: "He is a Christian. That trumps everything you can say, because you can't succeed without God. "
MY SADNESS: Without going too far down another giant rabbit hole, please just see how this feeds into my continued concern about you using arguments that allow you to simply believe whatever you want. This is a hollow argument that simply allows you to debate like a child. You can't wash your hands of every baseless or over simplified sentence you and Trump brings to the table and then fall back on this.
And this is without even pointing out how terrible of a "Christian" his pageant throwing, pussy grabbing, wife accosting, divorcing, money grubbing person-hood would be. And also without pointing out that every person who has ran for President in this country on either ticket has been a Christian. I am simply asking you to not debate using such dismissive, insulting, meaningless blanket statements.
YOU SAID: "He doesn't worry about "hurting fweelings". We're adults. Grow the F up. He supported his entire campaign with his own funds, not the funds of terrorists and big corps."
MY SADNESS: If you can read everything I just said, and still pretend you are talking from a perspective of "adult" conversation, and that people dissenting against these very real, concerning actions are the ones that need to "grow up", I don't know how I could muster the time or effort to continue to talk to you. Also, I don't know how to continue to break down all your fallacies because...
YOU FINISHED BY ASKING: "Should I go on?"
MY FINAL SADNESS: To quote Alberto Brandalini "The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."
To just write this most rudimentary breakdown of your over simplified questions, shallow points and ambiguous goals -- took me an hour and a half. And I could have torn it down with so much more detail. So to directly answer your question of “Should I go on?”: Why would I? Why would I want you to?
*Then this thread was deleted from facebook 20 minutes later as it was built upon his opening remarks.*
is a thirty-something guy who hasn't been able to look away from politics since 2008. Around the time he got tired of staring at religion.