The Sad State of the Internet Debate
When I was younger I used to love to debate. In elementary school I used to debate adults about current topics just for fun. In high school I was in the debate club and was President of the Model United Nations club which centered around… debating. I even traveled internationally for UN Simulations and debate competitions where I would always win an award or at least an honorable mention. In college my declared major was International Relation and Political Science because there was a lot of debate in them. I used to get such an intellectual rush!
Then I left college and my career detours took me first into numbers and computers and later into counseling, not professions that really include debating. During that time something changed….
I want to say that I grew up but that doesn’t seem to accurately describe how I feel. It feels more like almost everybody that I have debated with within the past few years just never grew up or reverted to childish behaviors. Even when excluding the obvious Internet trolls it seems like most people just don’t know how to have an intelligent debate anymore. I have a hard time calling these discussions debates because the conversation quickly devolves into insults and name calling that lead to ruffled feathers and hurting butts. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree?
My point for debating was to learn why the other person felt strongly about their opinion while I had the opportunity to also share why I felt strongly about mine, in a civilized manner. I used to learn so much about the opposing viewpoint just by having a nice debate on the subject but lately all I learn is that the person acts like an @$$hole when upset and doesn’t even know the facts behind the position that they should be defending but instead are on the offensive trying to shove down my throat.
I take pride in a lot of my “non mainstream” ideologies, almost all of them are very controversial and it never bothered me before. Now while I still stand firm on my beliefs, I can’t say that I am as “out and proud” anymore and I’m evolving into a “none of your business approach” simply because what nowadays passes for debate is nothing more than exhausting back and forth where nobody wins and everybody ends up upset.
So don’t think that I’ve gone mainstream, I am simply staying quiet and conserving my energy to redirect it to more productive pursuits such as loving and caring for my children. Maybe when the rest of the Internet grows up I’ll rejoin the conversations.
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