Every now and then I find myself caught up in some form of online debate. Personally, I think that I handle myself pretty well, as I have somewhat of a knack for writing, and I'm pretty good at presenting my arguments not only logically but supported with facts. Not only that, but I think that my greatest strengths are that I tend to avoid arguing about subjects in which I know little about, and I'm not above being corrected. On a couple of occasions, I have modified my opinions based on what other people have written. (Shoot, I once used to argue FOR the existence of God, so don't accuse me of not being able to change my mind!)
While I've written some time ago that I refuse to label myself as a "liberal", and how that word has little meaning for me, I do like to sometimes see what the so-called conservatives are saying every now and then. And while I hate to say it, I usually find that it wasn't worth the effort. Now I'm not saying that there aren't conservatives out there with something valuable to say, and I'm definitely not saying that any given conservative is unable to sometimes say something of value. However, those instances seem to be pretty few and far between.
Some of my earliest experiences were on Military.com's discussion board. That didn't last long because basically if you disagreed with what the Bush administration was doing, you were automatically branded an America-hater. Sure, there were a couple of right-wingers where I was able to converse with a bit on a rational level, but for the most part it was just a bunch of knee-jerk rhetoric that was pretty much repeated verbatim from the likes of Savage, Coulter, Limbaugh, etcetera. I also lost interest because despite the fact that there were hundreds of posts per day, all the regulars there expected all newcomers to pretty much read every single post on the forum before making comments, lest the same ground be covered more than once. That felt too much like a homework assignment, so I quickly moved on from there.
Anyway, I've spent the past couple of years reading and commenting on a certain conservative's blog. I sometimes checked out some of the others (mostly that were linked to the site) but I found that they were all pretty much saying the same thing, or they were on the cartoonish level of conservatism (you know, people who always had to use Obama's middle name every time they mentioned him). Sometimes the discussion would be constructive, but it started to devolve into the absurd.
The craziness started over global warming, where some conservative commenter thought the issue could be debunked by the fact that there's a part of the country that had a particularly cold winter. I commented that this showed a lack of understanding as to what the issue even is, but the arguments that kept coming back at me had more to do with things like how there were all sorts of scientists who didn't accept that humans are having a major contribution on global warming. Despite the fact that I kept insisting that my point wasn't to argue about the issue's validity one way or another, the point was totally lost on the conservatives. It even got so ridiculous that the blogger admitted to not even having done any research on the issue whatsoever despite making several strongly worded assertions on the topic. Call me crazy, but I think that if you're going to have a strong opinion on something, you should have some idea as to what you're talking about.
Things got even crazier more recently when one of the commenters (the same one who thought that cold winters debunked climate change) made the claim that "all" Muslim groups "cheered" on 9/11. I pointed out that this was ridiculous, and then I got accused of all sorts of absurdities from refusing to criticize Islam to condemning our veterans. Then the statement was amended to say that it was more like 98% of Muslim groups that cheered 9/11. Whatever, I could go on and on, but how do you even talk to somebody who's this far gone?
So, I gave up. Maybe there's a more reasoned, rational conservative blogger out there where I can engage in some spirited and constructive debate. As of right now though, the stereotypes that I have of conservatives only seem to be confirmed.