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Preface: This post is originally from infactmadofcarbon.blogspot.ca, I realize that the VMC readership does not fall prey to such thinking, but this post is meant as a message to those radical apathists who do attempt to stymie debate
There is a spectre haunting our discourse - the spectre of apathism. You can't get into an argument anymore without some clever fellow unhinging his jaw and vomiting out the new, but already tired cliche:
"arguing like this is what's wrong with this country, you're just routing for your side like a sports team, left and right, you're both guilty"
Now I gotta say, if you've ever found yourself squatting over the keyboard to pinch out some nuggets to make that post, you're not going to like this, so I suggest you get back to forwarding that chain email.
Listen to me here: politics is not a sport. I wouldn't support Stephen Harper because I am from Stephen and the Stephen Harpers are my home team; I would support Stephen Harper if I literally could not get an erection unless I'm choking a statistician. You don't see Bev Oda getting traded to the Liberals so they can put some extra "grit" on their backbench. Every time some proudly ignorant individual drops this bomb in a conversation, I almost want to reach my hand across the aisle to the Albertan Creationist I'm yelling at for a double clothesline ala old school pro-wrasslin.
It's not being magnanimous to chastise both sides of a debate for having passion, it's being ignorant. It's dropping a silly equivalence fallacy because you're far too intellectually incurious to bother to learn anything about the issues, educate yourself and form an opinion. Instead of taking the time out from reposting another rage comic from "I LOVE TO LAUGH" to read something of substance about real things that effect real people, you just look at the nearest bumper sticker for inspiration and think "Yeah, that'll do."
In a way, I get it. The discourse right now is beyond brutal. It's emotionally draining to have to take a stand and defend it against heavy oppostion. Thing is, there's a lot of crazy shit happening in the world right now. Some of it directly affects you, some of it is a serious moral or legal quandry that a well rounded person should probably have some kind of opinion on. It's easy to say "fuck it" and go back to one of the myriad diversions created to distract you from the pants-shittingly horrible state of things.
That's not exactly what's happening here though. This is a case of people intentionally going into discussions on some kind of issues that people feel strongly about and going "Mom! Dad! Stop fighting!". Meanwhile, this is an argument about your Dad cashing out your college fund for beer money and an electric guitar so that he can get his Dr. Hook tribute band off the ground.
I'm sorry, in a lot of things there's a wrong and a right side. There's a real problem in the media, in popular discourse, of bringing you BOTH SIDES of a debate. Here's the problem: We've been undergoing a nearly 30-year war on regular people by corporations, wealthy individuals and religious zealots. There are serious financial and/or social interests on BOTH SIDES to have some policy or another implemented. Regardless, there are competing interests at work, and that's why we have a conflict.
Am I biased? Yes. I am biased. An opinion is biased. That is the definition of biased. Every person holds interests, prejudices, beliefs and values that congregate to form an opinion. I am biased against eroding economic opportunity so that someone who's never worked a day in their life can add an extra 50 feet to their yacht purchase from a tax cut. Now read that. Do you have an opinion? If you do? Congratulations, you're biased. The utter terror of perhaps forming some semblance of opinion is a lot more poisonous to democracy than any screaming match I've had with a rig pig who thinks we should convert poors into petrol.
There's always something biased in thinking something is right or wrong. If you attend a megachurch, are keen on Jesus, and just get SO MAD that scientists keep undermining your neat little version of the world with their confounded "research", you're biased. If you own a corporation, and think it's THE END OF THE FREE MARKET that you have to pay your employees more than a few acorns you found in the street, you're biased. If you're tired of drowning in student loan debt, and have had nothing but skinflint bosses (Yes, this even happens when you're a STEM graduate; welcome to the desert of the real, kids) that pay you in acorns, you are also biased.
Educate yourself, for Christ's sakes.