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Has anyone ever had their political views wildly changed by debate?

 
 
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 01:37 pm
Of course, no-one sets out to discuss politics with the expectation that it will radically change the world, unless you're stupid.
I've been thinking recently though, what does it actually do and why do we do it?

Its very rare that someone will sit in an armchair and coldly reason which ideology they find the best for themselves or the world.
A person will have a natural disposition to one ideology or another and any political debate that ensues will more or less consist of them backing their inclination up with gathered facts, and twisting them around a lot of the time too.

There was a thread on here the other day asking why people vote republican.
Well some people just naturally favour what it stands for.

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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 01:53 pm
I would widen the discussion from "debate" to "education".

I have several times become educated on a particular subject, which then changed my political views.

I used to be in favor of the death penalty, for example.

Education can come in the form of discussion, reading, news, etc.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 01:58 pm
well, after reading both posts, i've had my mind made up, i'm now firmly in favour of the death penalty for republicans
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 02:27 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Education is probably a more applicable term than 'changed'.

I can't say that any online debate has changed my firmly held position on any issue, but as a result of intelligent debate, I have come to look at some issues differently than I did before. Sometimes my position is reinforced; sometimes I go back to the drawing board and I have frequently been prompted to rethink issues. I have been persuaded one way or the other or at least came to lean one way or the other on some issues for which I had not yet committed to a point of view.

More importantly I have appreciated how thoughtfully and intelligently some members arrive at and can articulate a point of view whether or not that point of view agrees with mine. By contrast others simply agree with 'the crowd' no matter what is being discussed, and others can be swayed with the most simple or inane of arguments. Still others can't articulate a rational point of view to rebut another member's argument but they signal their ignorance and/or prejudices with ad hominem or smart aleck and/or hateful and/or cruel insults.

Fortunately there are enough intelligent and thoughtful types here to keep me interested.
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 02:37 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I stay away from political ideology (as much as I can) and go for pragmatism.

I will endorse that which maximizes the freedom of the individual (without due harm) while maximizing the future success of man’s survival going forward

So I am for:

- a much smaller population
- a much higher level of industrialized automation
- much longer life spans
- reversal of the massive negative ecological impact

Unless of course one considers this form of pragmatism to be an ideology Smile
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 02:37 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:

Of course, no-one sets out to discuss politics with the expectation that it will radically change the world, unless you're stupid.
I've been thinking recently though, what does it actually do and why do we do it?


I think it's a continuation of the snowball fight mentality where teams make piles of snowballs and peg them at each other from opposite sides of the playground. Some kids have better aim than others, some are good at packing the snow for others to toss, some run out in the middle of the lot trying to take a bunch for the team in the hopes that the stock of the other guys snowballs will be depleted, etc.

Occasionally a snowball makes contact with a member of the opposition but mostly they land on the ground and splatter back into the snow from where they came.

What it accomplishes is a bit of entertainment before a big cup of hot chocolate.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 02:53 pm
@JPB,
PQ said:
Quote:
its very rare that someone will sit in an armchair and coldly reason which ideology they find the best for themselves or the world.


Maybe they won't reason 'coldly', but I think reason is certainly involved, at least many times with many people.

Other people who come to different conclusions might not concede evidence of someone's individual reasoning, but that doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't happened.

I think about all my views and beliefs - extra carefully really - precisely because I DO know that I tend to think emotionally and liberally. So I do actually sit and think about whether or not what I'm thinking really makes sense for the rest of the world as it truly is - or if I'm trying to see things the way I'd like for them to be (as I know is my tendency).

I just learned something from Chumly - not really learned- but he articulated something succinctly that I'd only had ideas of before - ascribing to pragmatism makes much more sense than trying to align oneself with an ideology.

In other words - does it work for the world?

So, yeah - I think debate here can at least help clarify views that are somehow unclear or amorphous- at least for me.

But I think having an open mind is essential.

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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 04:13 pm
I do know that I have changed opinions because of some comments that came up in the ongoing sort of formal and informal debate that is A2K. No mind, y'know, so I don't remember, at least right now, the specifics of those changes, but will post back if I do remember. Once in a while a comment will catch my eye and deposit a little nest, or glimmer, to mix metaphors.

I'll say that I haven't changed opinion because of someone lambasting someone else (much less me, no change my lady). But I have started modifying my opinion with some simple or not so simple sentences by some posters.

Amusing to me, data has almost nothing to do with it, much as I appreciate good data. Clear reasoning can make me listen.
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Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 05:05 pm
There's a good discussion of this in "How to win friends and influence people"
basically when criticised people become entrenched: Experiences can change us, so can debate, but it can't be done immediately.
I can certainly be swayed by rational argument in areas where I am not that bothered or have no knowledge. Fisheries policy, Taxation of undertakers etc.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 07:28 pm
I was a fence sitter on affirmitive action for a while, wondering if it was still necessary. Then I heard my brother discuss it's merits with someone who was firmly opposed to it.
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 09:19 pm
I cannot remember having changed my view on anything based on debate. I change my view after my own observations allow me to see that a changed view is needed. Sometimes that observation comes from listening to a specific person in the media. As far as A2K posters go, the degree of anonynimity is too great for me to accept what I read here.
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gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 2 Jan, 2009 09:41 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Has anyone ever had their political views wildly changed by debate?


In a way, yes. The debate in question was the Clarance Thomas hearings in the US senate. That convinced me that the entire leadership echelon in the dem party was seriously fucked up; I hadn't really believed that previously.

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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:48 pm
I also will say “YES!”

There was a time where I thought George Dubya Bush was a complete moron…and that the people who strongly supported him and endorsed his administration’s hapless, irresponsible machinations were even dumber.

But after lots of Internet debate my mind was changed to the point that I had to concede that Bush was not nearly smart enough to be called a moron…and with the bar that low, his supporters probably were not actually dumber!


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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 10:26 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Here are the two major changes of my political orientation. Debate has played a role in both.

1) In the late nineties, I changed from a Green into a libertarian when I realized that competitive markets are a form of grassroots democracy -- one that runs on dollar votes instead of ballot votes. As a form of grassroots democracy, the free market has some advantages and some disadvantages over the form traditionally advocated by Greens and other alternative people. But on balance, the advantages dominate vastly. This changed was mediated by discussions about grassroots democracy and of markets.

2) Over the last few years, I have been morphing from a fairly hardcore libertarian into something closer to an (American) liberal. Much of that change came from discussions about health care systems, political candidates, American constitutional law, and other subjects.
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