I recently abandoned an on-line forum that I’d been a part of, on-and-off, for about four years. It wasn’t easy to walk away, but it’s been a long time coming, mostly because the atmosphere was very divisive and toxic. The political landscape in the United States is such that some Americans seem to be willing to consider any tactic that might undermine their opponents. They’re also quite reluctant to concede any ground to said opponents.
That’s not the kind of “discussion” I’m interested in. I’m also not into being bulldozed over and interrupted whenever I try to make a point. And, finally, I’ve been tapping into some newfound maturity on the matter: recognizing that in some cases my contribution is either redundant or unlikely to be fruitful… and then choosing not to make that contribution.
I’ve also become more aware that, when it comes to real debate, I’m often most critical of people with whom I generally agree, but who are making particularly awful arguments at the moment. This is because i think they’re making my fight harder by misrepresenting me and my cause. When a feminist is anti-science or a skeptic offers a facile critique of religion or a liberal calls conservatives “the Reich wing,” I want to puke and rebuke. I hate misogyny and blind religion and conservative rhetoric, but it doesn’t burn the way bad feminism or bad skepticism or bad liberalism can.
Anyway, all that to say, I’m working on being better at picking my battles. As always, thanks for listening.
P.S. Here’s a snippet from a recent discussion about progressive enlightenment: if a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, classist idiot stops being classist, that’s a step in the right direction.