It has been quite some time since I last posted on here. Over the past several months, life has been rather hectic. And that is wonderful in that it reminds me that I have a life and this is just a for fun and for learning choice of mine. But now that things are settling down and falling into a grove, I am happy to start getting back into it.
I am still going to try to focus more on general stances that I, as a statist, hold of common issues, but I will also start to dip into more current events and my take on them. Later this week I will hit the Gulf Oil spill, even though now it is mostly hind sight. I have spent the last few weeks listening to my daily routine of talk show hosts to get a feel of where the left and right stand in our current political environment and can feel the rising tension and frustration and flat out anger.
I use to, and partially still do, believe that Blogs are not good for debating and evolving ideas and philosophies. This all one does is post their personal views, then they can shut out and block any posts that they don't agree with. In that respect, I've always supported forums and discussion boards as a better means to debate, challenge, and defend ideas. I've also, since about 20 minutes of signing up for my first forum, known that trolls like to bash and smash all opposing ideas. Trolls have always been easy to deal with, all you have to get them to do is talk about their own ideas and you'll find a blank slate full of illogical anger. But now, I'm finding more and more and something that I like to call "Attack Trolls." I'm sure other bloggers have given them names and whatnot, but I have not heard of them yet, so I'll go ahead and name them myself. What they do is focus on attacking other people's ideas and not defend their own. They like to turn the debate on to a total offence with simple, non-threatening questions like, "well, how do you believe this should be fixed?" then attack you stance without ever defending their own. For any real debate, BOTH sides need to be attacked and defended. It cannot just be one side doing all the attacking and the other side doing all the defending. I truly hope this is nothing more then political tension bringing out desperation in people in an attempt to get their side to win, however I do fear that this is may be an overall shift in the way people view, discuss, and debate politics. If that is what political debate is turning into, then God help us all. I now see that blogs are a great way to summarize and post you ideas, beliefs, and personal philosophies, while forums are better for challenging, growing, and improving your beliefs.
Now, as I said, both sides need to be able to be attacked and be defended, and so just because one's ideas are attacked does not mean that the attacker is a troll, that would be rather pathetic and whiny if people acted like that. This type of trolling is not a simple, single action that can be pointed out and quoted, but it is more of a habit and a pattern of actions, much like having a liberal view on policy X does not make one a liberal, nor having a conservative view on policy Y makes one a conservative.
But what can be done to get people whose only goal is to rip down those that they don't agree with to try to grow, rather then destroy? How does one change the climate from one of competition of smears, to evolution of understanding? The first step is inward. To make the commitment to yourself that you will focus on growing your ideas and growing the ideas of others. This is often why I take time-outs from forums, because the anger and smears begin to wear me down and I need a break to regain my focus, loosen up the stone skin that forms from attack trolls and to let go of any anger that comes from attack trolls. This allows me to gather my ideas and come back into it to continue to evolve and grow.
The second step is community. To find a community, either on line or in real life, that supports the concept of growing philosophies through healthy competition and honest debate. Many people, who are just now getting involved in politics, such as kids that are growing up and into this wonderfully deadly field, have very little knowledge and so are easily influential, especially by trolls and those that prefer to smear and shout. This allows them to gain knowledge, understanding and learn how to debate and grow their ideas.
The third step is outward independence. To venture out and be able to debate others, who may or may not be willing to grow as you are. Now many say to not bother with trolls and to just dismiss them flat out. However, like it or not, trolls do have some facts which should always be considered, even though they often ignore other facts that don't fit their preconceived notion. One must also, give at least one honest attempt to have an honest debate with them, because many people who are not trolls are labelled as trolls by the real trolls (since they will not conform to the real trolls). This step is usually best done with a partner or group so that if things start to get really heated, you have some people that you know that are also focused on growing to provide support. Not nessicarily support your argument, but supporting your overall goal.
The final step is to come back to the group community and share your growth with others to help them grow, and they should have grown from their own "outings" so that you can get the feeling of many different forums and a better feeling of society's stances, rather then just a single forum or two that may or may not be an accurate representation of the different views and policies of America.
Another thing that I am also going to be doing is going to different forums with different leanings and try to post general reviews of them. If you wish to try to find your own forum apart from my reviews, as most of you probably will, one easy way to tell if a forum is good for evolving you ideas, is to see how well people that don't agree politically, get along in general. Do conservatives and liberals like to share non-political jokes and participate in forum games, or do they do that separate in their own groups.