You are here

The Breakdown of Non-Partisan Discussion

If you want some really different "opinions", there's the closed Facebook group under the name "Australian Politcal Debate". Today one of the moderators (they're all right-wingers) suspended me from posting because - and get this - they couldn't handle having two people engaging them in a discussion on the same thread. This is a group which openly welcomes Nazis and other associated racists, various shades of climate-change deniers, anti-vaxxers, and even a literal Biblical flat-earther. As such people are rightly shunned from reality-based communities, they have gravitated to this wasteland where people don't just have their own opinions, they have their own facts. Just a day previously, the same moderator accused the aboriginal mother who was shot by police in Geradlton as being a murderer herself. No evidence was provided for the accusation because, of course, there isn't any. But they will profess it just the same; that is their fact-free opinion. Civil people rightly condemn such claims as defamatory and harmful to the free speech of others, on both the individual and group.

Today, as at least 300,000 people marched in Australia for action on climate change, with various international protests. Actually, let's do that tally; 2993 locations, 162 countries, 7 continents, the biggest day of climate action in world history. Nonetheless one will find in said group people who deny there has been any global temperature increases at all during the instrument record, people who select particular sites and metrics and engage in a fallacy of composition. People who will that there has been a conspiracy to alter the record, which beggars even the most fecund imagination that tens of thousands of individuals across multiple generations have somehow kept this secret. People who will say that CO2 is actually good for vegetation; this one is, is sort-of true (we remember this from junior high school) but not with sudden changes in heat.

What can be suggested from all this? One problem that is faced is that only a percentage of the population are swayed by facts. Many stick to opinions first for political tribal reasons, and the dissonance required to shift is too great, and that, in some cases, even results in outright lies. A larger problem for political conservativsm is increasingly their support base consists of such individuals, rather than a possibility of a non-partisan agreements based on what is actually true, derived from standards of discussion. Working with those who engage in such discourse ethics - and avoiding those who do not - is a fruitful activity, whilst at the same time targetting institutions for actual change, rather than spending too much time in virtual talk-fests.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on November 22, 2019.


"According to, over 4 million people took part in the collective demonstrations worldwide."