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Thread: Are Members of Political Parties Capable of Engaging in Open and Honest Debate?

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    Moderator Cato's Avatar
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    Default Are Members of Political Parties Capable of Engaging in Open and Honest Debate?

    A side debate started up on one of the feedback threads following a comment by a poster asserting that staunch party loyalists can engage in truly honest debate on political matters and that the bias of such posters does not allow them to think or speak independently.

    A reasonable enough discussion followed this and it would seem a shame to lose those contributions in an off topic thread so I've moved them here.

    I am using my own posts as an OP as it can cause objections (reasonable ones) where threads are created from posts belonging to users where they did not create the thread.

    For openness, and I have acknowledged this before, I am a member of the Labour Party, albeit a critical one and one who is somewhat disgruntled by their performance in government.

    I think that party members are , of course, capable of engaging in debate and often, but not always, can bring a greater level of knowledge to certain aspects of these debates.

    However, those who relentlessly pump out the party line, with not criticisms of their own of their parties, do leave themselves open to criticism of supporting their party as one might support a football team or even simply engaging in propaganda rather than debate.

    For the most part, though, I have found that many are capable of criticising their parties but can, human nature being what it is, be backed into a corner by senseless criticisms of them simply for being a supporter of a particular party, rather than because of their view, and can end up coming out swinging in support of their own.

    The shills/hacks nonsense is tiresome, but those who constantly trot it out are, at least, making the level of maturity of their own debating as obvious as any true propaganda merchant.
    Last edited by Cato; 1st November 2012 at 11:28 AM.
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson (yeah, I'm aware of the irony)

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    Politics.ie Member NewGoldDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolfe View Post
    NGD, no disrespect, you're a good poster but I don't see how anyone such as yourself, hbap, odlum etc or any others with staunch Party loyalty can possibly have a truly honest debate on any Irish political issue.

    Your bias simply won't allow you to think and speak independently.
    You can't seriously propose that a site on politics in Ireland should have no contributors allied to any mainstream party though.

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    Politics.ie Member Lonewolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewGoldDream View Post
    You can't seriously propose that a site on politics in Ireland should have no contributors allied to any mainstream party though.
    Well we can hope that in this time of crisis we might look beyond narrow, tribal often non sensical Party loyalties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolfe View Post
    Well we can hope that in this time of crisis we might look beyond narrow, tribal often non sensical Party loyalties.
    Just because you don't "get it" doesn't of course make it "nonsensical".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolfe View Post
    NGD, no disrespect, you're a good poster but I don't see how anyone such as yourself, hbap, odlum etc or any others with staunch Party loyalty can possibly have a truly honest debate on any Irish political issue.

    Your bias simply won't allow you to think and speak independently.
    The problem with that argument is that many posters take it a small step further, and basically sh*t on the rights of those posters to discuss economic or political issues, purely because - shock horror! - they're members of or supporters of a particular political party. I post a good bit on the various economics threads, on which my qualifications give me what David Norris would pompously call "a certain locus standi", but there's a sort of inverse relativity between the length and detail of my posts, and the replies they invariably receive - in other words the longer and more detailed a technical post is, the more likely it is to get a one-line "****************************** you/you're just a hack/shill/lackey/did HQ pay you to post that?" reply. To whicg I always ask "if my arguments are so weak, why not just take them apart?" But its obvious from the lack of engagement in those situations that many posters are NOT here to debate, and therein lies a big problem.
    "So how are things at the Campaign for the Freedom of Information, by the way?" "Sorry, I can't talk about that"

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewGoldDream View Post
    You can't seriously propose that a site on politics in Ireland should have no contributors allied to any mainstream party though.
    Hear, hear. Its extremely tedious, the prevailing wisdom on here that says no-one who's involved in a political party can genuinely hold their own opinions about politics. After all, the site is obviously for people interested in politics - and many such people JOIN political parties for precisely that reason.
    "So how are things at the Campaign for the Freedom of Information, by the way?" "Sorry, I can't talk about that"

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolfe View Post
    NGD, no disrespect, you're a good poster but I don't see how anyone such as yourself, hbap, odlum etc or any others with staunch Party loyalty can possibly have a truly honest debate on any Irish political issue.

    Your bias simply won't allow you to think and speak independently.
    You can't have a serious debate about Irish politics that exclude the views of members and supporters of the major political organisations of the State.

    Was it oversight that meant you included no SF members in your list?
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonewolfe View Post
    Well we can hope that in this time of crisis we might look beyond narrow, tribal often non sensical Party loyalties.
    But the three "mainstream" parties have the support of about 75% of the electorate. Its ridiculous to suggest that a discussion site drawn from that electorate should treat those who support those parties as somehow "unclean".
    "So how are things at the Campaign for the Freedom of Information, by the way?" "Sorry, I can't talk about that"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hiding behind a poster View Post
    The problem with that argument is that many posters take it a small step further, and basically sh*t on the rights of those posters to discuss economic or political issues, purely because - shock horror! - they're members of or supporters of a particular political party. I post a good bit on the various economics threads, on which my qualifications give me what David Norris would pompously call "a certain locus standi", but there's a sort of inverse relativity between the length and detail of my posts, and the replies they invariably receive - in other words the longer and more detailed a technical post is, the more likely it is to get a one-line "****************************** you/you're just a hack/shill/lackey/did HQ pay you to post that?" reply. To whicg I always ask "if my arguments are so weak, why not just take them apart?" But its obvious from the lack of engagement in those situations that many posters are NOT here to debate, and therein lies a big problem.
    I wouldn't necessarily say that, I think one of the problems with long posts (and I can digress into them myself occasionally) is the conversational nature of the site. It is to quote Albert Reynolds "a one page man" type post that will get read and get replied to more often than not. The longer detailed analysis gets skimmed over and is either agreed with or dismissed far quicker than it should take to digest it depending on the political viewpoint of the reader.

    It is also indicative of politics in general, where a broad number of issues have to be taken in intellectually based on broad facts; delving into the detail of each would be quite a task for any politician (with the exception perhaps of the relevant minister and shadow minister).
    "If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaramouche View Post
    Sinn Féin speak for Ireland. Sinn Féin are not a Partitionist Party, unlike the other main Party's in the 26 county state, who do not/cannot speak for Ireland.
    Another scintillating post from my favourite P.ie raconteur. Keep it up.
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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