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Old 02-28-2015, 09:26 AM
 
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It seems every day, three new threads pop up starting yet another gun debate. It's always the same arguments on both sides of the fence. I've yet to see anyone demonstrate that they hear, acknowledge and/or sympathise with the opposing point of view. I will admit that for myself, every gun debate only makes me more firm in my opinion, so much so that I don't even follow them anymore. It seems to be such a waste of time, and I wonder why others never seem to tire of it.

So I have to ask: Have you ever seen on one of these threads--or anywhere for that matter--a person who started out on one side of the gun debate, then ended up on the other (or even closer to the center) thanks to any thought-provoking discussion or reasoning? I'm convinced the subject has become too polarizing for any reasonable discussions to take place anymore.

And if you don't think people will ever change their minds, why do you keep at it?
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Last edited by Miss Blue; 03-01-2015 at 05:46 AM.. Reason: off topic
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:12 AM
 
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No message board thread about anything political or religious has ever changed my mind. If I sit the fence when I see a thread, I might consider what both sides are saying, and then try to verify any claims they make independently. But for the most part, political message boards serve only to prove to me that a lot of people can't spell.

As for regular discussion, if I respect someone as highly intelligent and rational, and they come out with something I don't agree with, I would be more inclined to listen than I would to some rantypants rando out on the internet. My ex-hub made a few points about guns in particular that gave me food for thought, and I found myself moving toward the center on it. (I once belonged to the NRA, 20+ years ago.) Since then, I've kept moving, and now I'm actually more left-leaning than right-leaning on the subject. This was reinforced by my ex-SO, who moved more to the right (or perhaps only revealed what was already there, as time went on in the relationship), because the things he, his family, and his friends said and did were not based on logic, but on fear and paranoia, neither of which I consider to be the basis of a strong argument for or against something. Unfortunately, their arguments are the ones I see put forth by most gun advocates, both online and off, so it's not just personal.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:14 AM
 
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I think as a society, we've become more polarized in general. Not just specifically about guns, but nearly every contentious issue. People take a stance, dig their heels in, and are so focused on convincing the other side they're wrong that they don't really hear anything.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apexgds View Post
I think as a society, we've become more polarized in general. Not just specifically about guns, but nearly every contentious issue. People take a stance, dig their heels in, and are so focused on convincing the other side they're wrong that they don't really hear anything.
It would seem that way, but I think that has more to do with loudmouth extremists on either side getting the most airtime in the media and people tending to choose which issues to claim as their passions on social media.

For example, I know a few folks who are really passionate about reproductive rights. From their social media posts, you'd think they were tremendously liberal. But when you talk to them about five or six issues, you'll learn they are actually moderates, or even libertarians. Likewise, if you were to talk to me about capital punishment and knew nothing about where I stood on anything else, you might initially think I'm a conservative, but I'm not.

I think the electoral college has done more to paint a false picture of ideology in this country than anything, though. People talk about red states and blue states--and I do it, too--but really, most of the country is purple. You have pockets of very blue or very red, but most people who stop to actually think about the issues and can discuss them cogently are mix-and-match. Everyone else just votes their pocketbooks or their religion.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
But for the most part, political message boards serve only to prove to me that a lot of people can't spell.
LOL so true. And I've never seen anyone win or loose an argument on one.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apexgds View Post
I think as a society, we've become more polarized in general. Not just specifically about guns, but nearly every contentious issue. People take a stance, dig their heels in, and are so focused on convincing the other side they're wrong that they don't really hear anything.
When it comes to internet discussions on the issue, I think this is really true.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
...but most people who stop to actually think about the issues and can discuss them cogently are mix-and-match. Everyone else just votes their pocketbooks or their religion.
Often, I have started out disagreeing with someone on an issue, but as the debate continues, I realize that we are both basically saying the same thing. Reality is that we are both in the center, but we come at it from opposite directions so we don't see it at first.

Unfortunately, when it comes to these internet threads, there's so much "noise" that people can rarely get to those reasonable and respectful discussions to uncover that there's agreement somewhere in between. I often wonder how much more "normal" a polarizing conversation would be if you just remove those one or two extremists who won't allow the discussion to take place.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:44 AM
 
Location: FLG/PHX/MKE
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My opinion on people has changed as a product of a gun debate. I'm still trying to understand the innocent people who are held hostage by guns and forced to commit crimes with them. But that's what I keep hearing.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 43north87west View Post
I'm still trying to understand the innocent people who are held hostage by guns and forced to commit crimes with them. But that's what I keep hearing.
And there are lots of threads over on Current Events and Great Debates where you can go talk about that. This thread is about what, if anything, is accomplished by debating certain topics on the internet, not people's personal opinions on an issue.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:41 PM
 
12,913 posts, read 19,792,997 times
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I can't say I've ever changed my mind about a hot button issue because of somebody else's opinion. In a few cases, I may have tempered my views based on links provided. I'll usually read the links to get a better understanding of why somebody has an opposing viewpoint on something that seems crystal clear to me. It makes a difference if the other poster is somebody I have generally agreed with in the past.
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