I have always been a very opinionated person. But, unlike a lot of people on the internet, before I start vocalising my opinions I make sure to actually sit down and critically evaluate them, research them where possible. I have seen way too many people splash their opinions all over my facebook page. I calmly ask them why exactly they hold these beliefs, putting forward my own thoughts on the matter, which I have actually taken the time to think about. Every time I make sure to add what has become my standard debate signature: "If you can address these points, I would gladly re-evaluate my opinion."
Unfortunately, no-one seems to think that logical, well thought out debate has any place on the internet, and interpret me asking them to justify their opinions as me attacking them. If they actually responded to the points I made, I wouldn't care so much. But, they very rarely do.
There was one particular political issue recently that Richard Melons, the fourth resident of the Dude Ranch, was very vocal about. Now, everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want, this is something I've always felt. However, if you are going to start actively promoting your beliefs, you have a responsibility to address the arguments of your detractors. So, I responded. I'm not going to name the movement that he was putting his support behind, but let's just say that a significant portion of the ideas making up the foundation of their belief system can be completely discredited with a single google search. Failing that, logic and reason. Again, I am not going to go into the specifics.
The comment I made brought up a few of the most important points that I felt needed to be addressed by anyone supporting this movement. I made sure to keep my tone as neutral as I could, keeping to the simple facts of the matter. I made sure to include my "signature", saying that I would gladly re-evaluate my opinion if these questions were answered. It was the only facebook comment I have ever seen that included more than one "See More" button.
The response I got (not from Tricky Ricky, but from a friend of his) at first made me literally start shaking with frustration. Now, I just think it's funny.
Instead of actually replying to any of the points I'd raised, this young gentleman instead decided to make an attack on my character. This was a guy who had never actually met me, so it's safe so to say everything he said was wrong, so wrong, wrong to hysterical proportions.
Basically, he painted me as the only type of person he could imagine would dare to disagree with him. Here is a direct quote, in all its glory:
"To improve ourselves we must consume and consume to make a living. This is the only truth to heaven, to Narvina. I am sure Jesus, Mohammod and Buddha all owns a BMW. To keep the system running, you must work hard to get yourself one, or else you are unfaithful and deserves the eternal flame. I believe capitalism is best invention human has created. Although billions of people gets nothing, but some people gets EVERYTHING. This gives us the illusion that we ALL get SOMETHING, and I am happy. We don't need to care about hungry kids in Africa, because our kids have hungry jacks and HAPPY meals. Watching the war in middle east saves me 14 bucks from watching Lord of the Rings in the cinema. But you must admit, Lady Gaga is much more interesting."
Where he went wrong:
1. Consumerism. I am dirt poor. I can't afford to buy anything that is not an essential item for remaining alive, and I am actively selling my possessions. Because I am poor. Despite this, I do actually still donate to charity. I just research my charities first.
2. The BMW. Here is a list of the modes of transport I own:
1x broken down scooter. Answers to the name of Raphael, or at least it would if it were a sentient being.
1x second hand bicycle, which I bought before realising I was too short to actually ride it. By this time, the previous owner had left the country.
1x rollerblades, found on the side of the road. As yet untested.
3. Lady Gaga. It is safe to say this guy hasn't heard of any of my favourite bands. It is even safe to say he hasn't heard of any of my favourite genres. A typical favourite song of mine usually consists of a twenty minute marimba solo, sampled through a collection of pine cones arranged in the shape of Tony Danza's face.*
4. Agreeing blindly with the government. I have been actively involved in political protests since I was fifteen. I was able to directly link him to an anti-censorship group I started that now has over 13,000 members. I even joined the Socialist Alliance once, albeit by accident (a story for another time).
5. Also he spelled Nirvana wrong. Not that I really need to be picky here.
Honestly, I feel like before I started using the internet I thought your average human being was a lot more intelligent. Seriously people, you have to actually think about the things you are told. Watching one documentary makes you neither an expert nor a revolutionary.
*I was expressing this opinion to Vegatrain, using that example. He stopped me and said "You had to add that bit about Tony Danza because you realised you were describing a real song you have listened to, didn't you?" He was right, the bastard