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Old 02-20-2018, 11:38 AM   #1054
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,850
Originally Posted by VenomUSMC View Post
Why do you think it's idiotic?
Venom, seriously? Here is the non-partisan answer, any set of statements that are factually incorrect, overly generalized based on personal experiences, and historically inaccurate should be at least held to a higher level of scrutiny before accepted as true. Now, obviously this is some guy's statement of his opinions, and there is nothing idiotic about that. We all do that. It is his right. I don't even have a problem with somebody loving this set of statements as an example of pure idiocy or as an example of their own embraced ideas. That's fine too. I just think the idea of anyone actually accepting this particular set of statements as valid is idiotic.

So, what is wrong with these particular statements. Well, the easiest way to exemplify it to somebody who sees things differently would be to simply flip the statements so the post reads like this, (although ambiguous, let's assume that the original author was referring to shills for the left in his final sentence):

"There's a general phenomenon I've noticed on the Internet. Any forum with free speech and little to no moderation becomes left wing. Conservative ideas cannot exist without censorship and moderation.

This is why we have started seeing armies of paid shills trying to flood spaces with their talking points."

I am sure you would agree with me that while valid as somebody's opinion, the above statements taken on their face would seem like some idiotic ramblings of a partisan hack who has lost the ability to think critically and whose standards for accepting evidence as true are way too low. Objectively, this would be an example of normal heuristics and biases, sensu Kahneman and Tversky run rampant.

We tend to overly generalize based on personal experiences.
We are more likely to make observations in contexts that are not controlled.
We preferentially recognize those things that confirm our previous beliefs, etc. None of those are partisan, but given that they are part of the human condition for perception and interpretation, to accept them uncritically is simply to embrace error.

Here is a more partisan example, this time with specific partisan trigger words:

"There's a general phenomenon I've noticed on the Internet. Any forum with free speech and little to no moderation becomes left wing. Conservative ideas cannot exist without paranoia and racism.

This is why we have started seeing armies of paid shills trying to flood spaces with their talking points."

In any case, a few responses to the original comments in the quoted image.

"general phenomenon" ..."Any forum with free speech".... Of all the forums with free speech and little to no moderation, how many were actually objectively observed? Enough to generalize across the "Internet"(sic)? ummmm. probably not.

However, let's say there is a pattern being observed. Is it because of the population most likely to participate in online political discussions in the few forums this person made a few observations or is it because of the ideology of the left? I think it is most likely the former.

Does this person actually know what the ideas of the left are? I doubt it. Just as no right wing racist admit to being racist, I have yet to see somebody on one of these forums do a good job expressing what the ideas of the left actually are. Sure, the right has labels and terms and acts as though those are good enough, but they usually miss the mark, so it is just self reinforcing nonsense.

Historically, there are many examples of leftist ideas that have existed just fine for centuries, just as some conservative ideas have. I think attempting to simplify it to the mechanisms of censorship and moderation for either ideology would be embarrassingly insipid. Thomas Jefferson fought for leftist ideas to contribute to the constitution. Is the only reason we have a constitution or know of Thomas Jefferson because of censorship? Would claiming that be idiotic? I think so.

Lastly, let's pretend that a typically paranoid conservative just escaped a marauding rampage of 3 to 5 million illegal immigrant Clinton voters and ducked into the nearest free speech zone on the Internet for some comfort only to find his racism and ignorance challenged by somebody who didn't share his views. "What!" idiot exclaims, "How can this be? The Jews will not replace us in this free speech zone!!!" The only way he can make sense of the fact that not everyone he encounters shares his views and agrees with him is to conclude that they are not actual, critically thinking individuals. Instead, he is "seeing armies of paid shills" flooding spaces. So, agree with him, true free speaking patriot, or friend of Russian interference in our sovereign elections, same thing at this point. Disagree with him, fake person, not valid ideas, just talking points, paid by people (anybody but Russians) who only want censorship and moderation and space floods.

With that kind of reasoning, the "observation" in the first sentence is simply a consequence of his ideology filter. Of course if you only count things as valid that agree with you and discount anything else, any time you observe things you will start witnessing a trend of things you consider valid more often as agreeing you. It's called confirmation bias. We all suffer from it, but to state it explicitly and then think your conclusions based on this are valid is as impressive as stating, "My calculator is completely broken but I think all the answers are right whenever I don't know how to do the math on my own."

Well, you might not see it, but it's pretty idiotic.
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