Why You Should Talk to People You Disagree With

In what should be essential viewing, Steven Crowder memorably outlined just how social media intrinsically leads to echo-chambers. This is just as true of the right as the left.

Leading by example, Crowder’s “Change My Mind” videos attempt to break the groupthink by explicitly reaching out and talking only to people who disagree with him. J. S. Mill also wrote that hearing dissenting views is essential.

With that in mind, some recent conversations I’ve had with people who opposed my views on, respectively, transgenderism and the “school’s climate strike”, have been particularly illuminating.

Now, I’ve known a few transsexuals and transvestites. They’ve been decent enough people who just wanted to live and let live. They weren’t “transgender” activists. In fact, one particular transsexual with whom I had long and cordial discussions, “Betty”, was opposed to the very idea of “transgender”.

Betty was adamant that she was transsexual: that is, very much aware that she was a biological man who felt that she had a “female mind” trapped in that man’s body. There is actually some scientific evidence for this: contrary to the often confused and contradictory claims of transgender ideology, there is some evidence that men and women’s brains differ in subtle but important ways. Transsexuals appear to be men whose brains are mismatched to the rest of their body.

Anyway, it disappointed Betty if people disagreed with her, but she fully acknowledged their right to disagree.

Not “Marley”.

As far as “transgender” Marley is concerned, having different opinions than his/hers (which, was never exactly clear) is not only intolerable, but the same as actually punching him in the face.

“What you do hurts me and other people. I am telling you that your words hurt people,” he said.

Other people’s words have no power over you other than that which you give them, I replied. Don’t like what someone says? Then ignore them and move on.

“You are not hearing me,” Marley complained.

I’m hearing you, I answered. I just don’t agree with you. No-one in the world is obliged to agree with your opinion, any more than mine. You don’t have to agree with me, I don’t have to agree with you. Grow up and stop buying into this culture that tells you that words are hurting you. They’re not. You’re just not liking them. And so what? If you don’t like them, don’t listen to them.

At this point, possibly taking my advice, Marley stopped talking to me.

But if Marley was passive-aggressive, climate striker “Jason” was as aggressive as he was intolerant.

Jason, who continually boasted about the depth of his scientific knowledge, took great exception to my challenge to climate strikers to ditch their phones, mobiles, and international flights.

“Mobiles phones don’t produce CO2, neither does internet access!”

This is flat-out wrong. From manufacture to use, mobiles and internet access produce massive amounts of CO2. Manufacturing a cellphone produces 60 kg of CO2 emissions. Given some billion smartphones in the world, that’s 60 gigatons of CO2, just from making them. That doesn’t include the even bigger environmental footprint of mining materials like lithium for batteries.

Their use is even more carbon-intensive. The latest research indicates that charging mobile phones creates emissions equivalent to 1.1 million cars. Using a mobile an hour a day for a year creates the same emissions as flying from London to New York.

Internet use is even worse: according to the Guardian, the carbon footprint of the internet is equivalent to every person in the UK flying to America and back twice over.

Jason didn’t bother to respond with counter-evidence. Instead, he just abused me and continually called me a “retard” with no understanding of science.

“Dunning-Kruger effect”, the cognitive bias that leads some people to believe that they are much smarter than they really are, is a much-abused concept, often used as little more than an epithet. Yet, Jason was a textbook case of Dunning-Kruger, if ever there was.

In that respect, he is probably more representative of the climate strikers than he would like to admit. For all their blatherskite, like their idol, the pigtailed megalomaniac sourpuss from Sweden, the climate strikers’ righteous certainty is inversely proportional to their grasp of even the most basic facts.

So, take the time to talk to people you disagree with. You probably won’t change their mind (or yours), but you’ll learn something useful.

From Marley, I learned that “transgender” activists regard disagreement as tantamount to physical violence. This both explains the transgender lobby’s determination to silence dissent (after all, you wouldn’t let people go around assaulting others) and the left in general’s propensity to violence. Merely disagreeing with them is, after all, no different to throwing a fist at them, so they feel entitled to retaliate.

From Jason, I learned that the climate strikers really are as stupid and self-righteous as I thought.

One thought on “Why You Should Talk to People You Disagree With

  1. Pingback: The Astonishing Denialism of Climate Believers – A Devil's Curmudgeon

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