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September 24, 2007

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Joan A. Conway

Personally this consideration given to difference of opinion sold much better 50 to 60 years ago then it does now.

I just saw "In the valley of Elah" starring Tommy Lee Jones about his son's murder by [I can't give the plot away.]

Most Americans are employed by corporations, and no longer have a sole proprietorship or partnership as their job.

With a loss of independence comes corruption, since the Chief Executive Officers are looking to increase profit usually by unjust means to meet Wall Street's expectations, recall 'Enron' wanting to hire someone who would steal and cheat for them.

In other words to get the best deal for the employer with little regards as to its impact of a short period of time on the country and the economy.

Fifty to Sixty years ago, many would cry "Up the Organization" but today no one wimpers about the loss of their independence. They are too busy screwing the next guy or gal to get ahead. They are totally competitive!

Their minds have been altered and they are much more shallow, because of this unfortunate process. They have become slaves instead of subordinates to the corporate will.

Therefore full participation into a society without other employment opportunities is inherently biased toward social engineering at its worst.

David should never been allowed to fight Goliath; he was underage and there are rules of warfare to be followed. If you change the rules of warfare to the advantage of one-side, can you have full participation in any democracy, since there is no democracy anyway. Hence Carlos Slims billions!

Sue

What is the question/s?

Erasmussimo

I like the point that diversity is inversely correlated with participation, and I'd like to add that diversity seems to be diminishing. I have spent a lot of time participating in discussions on blogs representing conservative views, and I have never gotten the impression that I can reason with these people. Like Diogenes, I wander the Web in search of an open, honest conservative discussion blog and I have failed to find any such thing. Every single one I have found is primarily a cheerleading site, where people reinforce each other's beliefs. There are degrees of intellectual intolerance, but the general tendency I see on the right is towards intolerance of dissent. On the left, there is less intolerance and more discussion. Perhaps the best simple metric is the length of posts by individuals. I'd like to hear other people's observations, but in the left-wing blogs I have seen, posts by individuals include longer analyses with links to evidence, while the right-wing posts tend towards one-liners. Can anybody offer their observations on this?

I realize, of course, that I come out sounding awfully partisan here. Perhaps if somebody would like to direct me to a right-wing discussion blog where there really is serious discussion of issues, they can both prove me wrong and end my search -- everybody wins!

But I have found very few discussion blogs where there's any serious disagreement. This blog has a great deal of polarized disagreement, and it seems quite impossible that any of the partisans here (myself included) will ever be convinced by any point made by any commentator of opposing partisanship. So much more's the shame.

Returning to my main point -- that diversity is decreasing -- the corresponding consequence is that participation (at least on blog discussions) is much increased. If this translates into political action, then woe to our Republic! The last thing we need is increased polarization in our body politic.

geoff

Can anybody offer their observations on this?

As a frequenter of conservative blogs, I can only say that my experience has been as unsatisfactory as yours, but not for the same reasons. Perhaps 3 years ago there was room for honest discussion, but that potential has been destroyed by trolls from both sides. Based on the overwhelming history of trolls visiting opposition blogs just to stir up trouble, the knee-jerk response from both sides is ridicule and banning. The longevity of a conservative comment at Daily Kos, for instance, is about 60 seconds. And that's probably 59 seconds too long at least 90% of the time.

My personal suspicion is that the more responsible members of both sides tend to stay at home, just to avoid the pointless squabbling that results from visits abroad. It's also worth noting that the two sides have moved so far apart that finding common ground for discussion has become very difficult. Both parties come to the table with an enormous ideological framework that divides them to the point that they can barely communicate with one another. On the issue of diversity, for example, the Left continues to refine and promote the concept, while the Right considers it pandering claptrap. Not much room for fruitful discussion.

As to the quality of blog content, I think partisan perspectives color our assessment. Suffice to say that there are many, many conservative blogs that offer analysis and evidence. None of them are interested in cultivating or even entertaining a liberal audience, mostly because that well was poisoned long ago.

Yong ZHAO

I agree with that the discussion or deliberation in the blogosphere or the Internet may drive people become more extreme.Of course, it will must be that by given the premise or situation that the participants cannot see each other. The expression upon some words without any visual element concluded, you cannot hold the expectation in its effects as that of face to face discussion. The problem here is if we see the discussion or deliberation as a process of transmitting information from a certainty party, which is very essential to the effects of discussion or deliberation, when we go into that process through here in the blogosphere or internet, it may not works as well as in a face to face discussion. The function of that process is extremely limited by the way conduct that discussion.

And another possible reason for energizing people or making them more extreme may be the lack of "real common concern". "Common concern" provide a basic premise for people to go into one discussion.In a democracy participation, for example, the presidential election, the effects of your expression or behaviors may determine your interests in the future. From my observation of a Democracy Deliberation program conducting in a township of China, I think only when these who participate in the process influence the result of the activity they will try to understand each other and make an agreement .Namely, they should benefit form their participation. This constitute the base for them to understand mutually, not become more extrem.

Kerry Oldenburg

I am very new to the blogging experience but from what I have learned so far i can tell that the only type of people who use them frequently enough for you to get a dialog going with are the same ones that are pushing their idea on you so hard you dont want to. Every once in awhile two people get lucky and happen to share a few of the same views but for the most part they are unintelligible arguments between people that are never going to see eye to eye.

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