29 November 2016

Critical Thinking

I've been seeing a lot of opinions and comments online and in discussions with co-workers that seem to show a decided lack of critical thinking.  It's time to start fighting back against that crap.

For this blog post, we will start with an opinion piece published in the New York Times yesterday.

"We are supposed to be open to hearing opposing views."  Absolutely.  Present us with a well argued, well stated opposing view, and we will be happy to listen.  But bullying is not an "opposing view".  And going around stating that "The world is flat" is not an opposing view that we need to be open to hearing.  "Hilary wants to take our guns" is not an opposing view.

"I felt strongly that as a country we needed to focus on domestic issues, and for me, the Republicans were more prepared to do that."  That's a fine opinion to hold.  However, endorsing a racist candidate and rewarding him for being a bully is not a means justified by your stated desired end.  [And, for the record, the Democrats have been trying to focus on domestic issues for the past eight years.  Health insurance, minimum wage, better access to education for better 21st century jobs, equal pay for women, investment in infrastructure, good jobs in high tech renewable resources instead of trying to prop up jobs in the dying coal industry... those are all domestic issues.]

"I have been labeled “racist,” “sexist” and “xenophobic” on Facebook. I have been called a “white without a conscious,” a “misogynist,” a “bigot” and a “barbarian” online by people all over the country. ... My father is Hispanic. ... My mother was raised by her stepfather, who is African-American and the only maternal grandfather I have known. ... My family and friends come from all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations."
And yet you rewarded a racist, misogynist, bigoted bully by endorsing him to be president of the United States.  By your actions, you stated that it is okay to call your father a "rapist" and to call women "nasty".  But suddenly when you feel insulted it's no longer fun and games?  Look at how you feel.  That's how Hispanics, women, and Muslims felt.  And yet you didn't stand up for their concerns.  Why should we stand up for your concerns now?

"We all have reasons for casting our votes. What I do not understand is hatred toward one another."  Your actions are making my life more difficult.  Your actions are reducing my future income.  And you don't understand why I would strongly dislike you for your actions?  Your actions are putting my mixed-race children in danger.  If you want to play fast and loose with your life, that's your privilege.  But when you cross the line and start playing fast and loose with my life, we are never going to be best buddies.

"We have spent too much time in our own bubbles..."  There's that false equivalence I love so much.  No.  You have spent too much time in your bubble.  I do read Breitbart, and WUWT, the Wall Street Journal, and the National Review.  I have watched Alex Jones.  I have sought out the alt-right conspiracy theories and the most rational arguments I can find from the right on various policy issues.  I did read the Republican Party platform.  I did listen to you.  I did carefully evaluate your arguments.  It's time for you to get out of your bubble and start to think critically.

"How can we assume we know someone based on the color of their skin, their religion, or their political choices?"  My preferred candidate for president did not assume we can know someone based on the color of their skin; yours did.  We have strongly agreed in America that there are strong limits as to how much your choice of religion can affect me; and in return I have agreed not to let your choice of religion affect how I view you.  Of course, your preferred candidate wants to treat people differently depending on their religion.  But political choices?  That's an action that you are taking to affect me.  That's the point to politics: to choose actions that we will take that will affect one another.  When you affect me, especially when you do harm to me, I have to start quickly making assumptions about who you are.  Are you a brown shirt that will destroy my property and beat me up?  Are you going to throw me in jail for my religious beliefs?  Are you just going to lead us into another recession and make my retirement much less relaxing than I had planned on?

"The narrative should be one of inclusiveness, openness, respect and love." Precisely.  and yet you chose to support a different narrative.  The Green Party, by the way, is all about inclusiveness, openness, respect, and love.  And boy do they want to focus on domestic issues.

Critical Thinking.  I hope you learn how while you are at college.


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