Monday, November 25, 2013

Dancing with Devils

The title of this post is from a phrase Sean Dailey used, when commenting on my troubles with Facebook ...

You should have seen some of the hate leveled at Bishop Paprocki last week in some Facebook comboxes. I refused to join in. It would have merely been dancing with devils.

Now a man is never a devil, but we can be tools of devils, and there is a diabolical influence at work in people's minds today.

For instance, would an "argument" like this make sense to you, or to anyone?

A: That's a beautiful sunset - it makes the sky rose colored.  I'm glad we can see it.  What a shame if there were a shopping mall here obstructing our view.
B: The sky's not rose colored!  You're wearing rose colored glasses!  And what an arrogant jerk you are to suggest that shopping malls are not as good as sunsets.  All things are equal. The sky is always equally blue - always and everywhere, even at night.  Look at how much patience I have in dealing with someone like you, who are an irrational, smug prideful twit.  People like you drive me crazy.
A:   Well ... maybe it's not exactly rose colored, but it's not blue right now, and how can you simply shut your eyes to the fact of this sunset that's staring us in the face?  Just look at it.  Don't you see it?  And as for shopping malls, they're fine for what they are, but when compared with sunsets ...
B:  You're a racist, too.  You see different colors in everything. And you HAVE NOT RESPONDED TO MY CRITIQUE OF YOUR ARGUMENT!  I hate dealing with people like you.  I'm out of here.  You're being irrational.  
A:  What exactly did your critique of my argument consist of?
B:  I refuse to repeat what I said.  It's not worth my time.  Scroll up and read it again!  But you won't - proof that you're not interested in seeking the truth, but only in making your own bigoted case.
A:  I have scrolled up and I'm still confused.  Really, what did your critique of my argument consist of?  For one thing, I'm not making an argument, just pointing out something we both should be able to see, if we both look at it.  For another, our mutual "argument" consists of me saying the sunset is rose-colored, and you saying it's not.  And calling me names.
B: You're the name caller!  You just called me a "name-caller"!  Name caller!

... and so on.

But the fact is that this is the way people argue on the internet.  Seriously.  This is the level of conversation you can expect to have on serious subjects on Facebook and elsewhere.  You may think I'm exaggerating, but if you do, it's probably because you've never experienced this.

Let me analyze what's going on above and then show how it applied to my latest foxtrot with the devil.

Contempt for Reason is shown in the following ways during any internet discussion ...

1. WEARING BLINDERS.  Refusing to see what's being pointed out; refusing to acknowledge what is right there before our eyes.  Denying that the sky is blue - or whatever color it happens to be.
2.  ASSERTING SUBJECTIVISM.  Claiming that an opponent's position is merely his own private illusion.  You're wearing rose-colored glasses when you look at that rose and call it rose-colored.
3. SNEERING.  It's not enough to assert subjectivism, an internet opponent will not simply
  • Refuse to see what you're pointing out (#1 above),
  • State or imply that what you're saying must be a private mirage (#2 above),
but also
  •  Sneer at you for having some sort of intellectual or moral handicap for seeing this so-called mirage.  If you see colors in nature, you're a racist.

So how does this play out in real life?

Yesterday I posted a series of Observations, one of which made the apparently radical claim that men and women are different and that when women go wrong sexually it's usually a sign of a more deeply seated psychological problem than when men go wrong sexually.  Clearly, that's a bold conclusion that can easily be argued, but what happened was far from an argument.

This observation was shared by a Facebook friend, and a number of secular folk outside my circle saw it.  There followed dozens of livid comments, all of which missed the point.  Some people were mad at me for saying women were better than men.  Some people were mad at me for saying that men were better than women.  Some people were mad at me for suggesting that there was anything wrong with sluttish behavior in women.  Some people were mad at me for suggesting that there was anything wrong with sluttish behavior in men.  Some people were mad at me for suggesting that there was anything wrong with sluttish behavior at all in either sex.  Everyone was mad at me for saying that there was any difference at all between men and women.  When I foolishly responded and said, "Why are people angry that I'm pointing out that there are differences between men and women?" people got angry because I said they were angry.  People called me a bigot.  People dismissed me for being a neanderthal.  A relative of mine even commented and said that I should only write about baseball - the implication being that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to men and women.

And the most indignant of my opponents said more of less the following ...

How dare you romanticize women in such a way!  There is obviously nothing at all different between how men and women look at sex.  To suggest that there is, is bigoted, prehistoric and offensive.  Not only that, but then you jump in the comment boxes and say that you're simply pointing out something that's obvious.  You say we're foolish to argue that men and women are the same.  BUT NOBODY'S SAYING THAT!  WE'RE SIMPLY SAYING THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM!  Don't put words in our mouths!  And respond to my argument!  You refuse to respond to the points I am making! I have no time for people like you.  You are despicable.  You are why I hate the Catholic Church.

Funny, perhaps, but really not so much.

Because you can't argue with anyone any more in the world at large, it seems.  Reasoned discourse has vanished because we hate loathe and despise Reason.

God is truth and that infuriates us and the demons who make us dance.  We hate the whole idea of truth - particularly the truth that is imprinted in Nature, which is the evidence of God.   And this is true whether I'm right or wrong about the psychology of sex; it's not the validity of my original assertion I'm defending, but the very process of rational thinking itself, which has not only been abandoned, but which is more and more held in contempt.

And if you are foolish enough to do what I did, to suggest that men and women are different and that unchastity is a sign of a psychological disturbance, particularly in women - if you do such a thing on Facebook you are apparently casting pearls before swine, and when they turn to rend you, you see the glare in their eyes, you feel the heat of their breath, and you catch the froth of their pig-slobber - and you know that the fury behind their barrage of nonsense is not of this world.


Scott W. said...

Internet Argument Checklist:

1. Skim until Offended
2. Disqualify that Opinion
3. Attack, Attack, Attack
4. Disregard Inconvenient facts
5. Make S*&$ Up
6. Resort to Moral Equivalency
7. Concern Trolling
8. When all else fails, Racism! [or Sexism! And new flavor Homophobia! ]

jvc said...

Nothing good comes from Facebook, ever.

o said...

You got out into the street and created a mess. Attaboy! God is pleased. The ignorant will always be with us and facebook will allow them to respond, but others see your points and are sufficiently enlightened to continue their journey toward a greater relationship with Christ.

Well done. And feeling guilty initially means you're doing your best and learning too - PERFECT!

Brian said...

When reason is abandoned, all that's left is a war of wills.

Rosemarie said...


I just read this post today, and did not read any of the flame war you mention. But reading the observation that caused the whole controversy, I think I could see why someone with a feminist mentality would react badly to a piece like that.

Many feminists don't like it when men "put women on a pedestal," talking as though they are innately more virtuous, spiritual, or whatever than men. They argue that it only sets up women for a longer fall when they fail to live up to the idealized concept men have of them. Women are fallen human beings just like men who have their own weaknesses; thinking they are morally superior will inevitably end with a letdown.

Whether or not you intended to "put women on a pedestal," the wording might be interpreted that way, especially when seen through a feminist mentality. For instance:

You say: "Women's sexuality is a much deeper and more mysterious thing than men's."

A feminist thinks: "Uh oh, here comes that 'Women are more virtuous than men' junk again."

You say: "Guys don't really care what they do with their naughty bits, as long as they do something."

A feminist thinks: "He's saying that men can do what they want with their bodies since it comes natural to them! He's justifying bad behavior on the part of males."

You say: "Women, however, understand instinctively on a very deep level the connection between sex and love and sex and motherhood and sex and the family."

A feminist thinks: "Okay, here comes another attempt to imprison us on a pedestal - and keep us barefoot and pregnant, too.

You say: "Thus, when women go wrong sexually, it's a more disturbing thing, both in its origin and in its result."

A feminist thinks: "He's saying that it's worse for women sleep around than for men - the old double standard!

You say: "Sexual perversion or acting out in guys is a more superficial symptom than it is in women."

A feminist thinks: "See, he says it's not as bad when a man fools around than when a woman does. Boys will be boys, but if a woman does it she's a slut."

I know this is most likely a misinterpretation of your words. If the irate fb crowd didn't know anything about you, they could very well totally misconstrue what you wrote.

The Cathoholic said...

And know you know why it is that I do not allow comments at all on my blog site. I don't have time for foolish arguments.