I greatly enjoy your thoughtful and well-written analyses, Sardondi. It probably helps that most of the time I agree with your positions.
One thing I've observed with the advent of the internet and the opportunity to see different but anonymous viewpoints is my assessment that no matter how well-reasoned, logical, and factual arguments may be, I rarely see another person's basic viewpoint changed. It's one reason, over the years, I've greatly decreased my discourse on-line concerning anything related to politics. It's interesting to note there definitely do seem to be two major, fairly distinct groups of political opinions, though. Call it conservative and liberal, left and right, libertarian and statist, whatever. Why is this the case, I wonder? Regardless, it seems to be rare for one to cross from one side to the other, regardless of the arguments from the other side. It would seem more likely for an apple to become an orange. If there's anything I've learned from the internet, it is this assessment.
It is comforting to see some consensus on one topic, though, if nothing else than to have a distraction from the frustration of the above. George Noory sucks!
You make an excellent point. And I think you reached a mature decision. When I insist on bloviating my usual wall o' text which I hope will be a rhetorical mental wristlock on my ideological opponent, forcing him to follow the force of my argument or be broken asunder, it must look like I'm acting out the very definition of insanity - repeating obvious past failures but for some inexplicable reason expecting success this time.
Or maybe it takes years and years of such back and forth to see an change. It could be like trying to pilot an iceberg: it takes immense resources of time and effort to get the smallest change, and then there's no real telling where it will go or how far. I hope it's possible for us to change our attitudes ingrained from youth. And I think it is. Take me. I was born middle-aged, always super-responsible and comfortable conforming with authority. I was truly contemptuous of hippies, revolutionaries and the anti-war crowd who were rough contemporaries, because to me they were merely preening, spoiled children who had the hubris to think there was actually something morally and spiritually superior about them and their cadre. Okay, I still pretty much feel like that. Oh, man, the sheer arrogance
of those people. And I have no love for the Occupy Whatever crowd either.
But after some 50-odd years I'm actually regressing in some ways. I'm not following the usual formula, which says that we tend to become more conservative and rigid as we age. Perhaps it's because I started out that way, but my views on many social issues have gotten much more flexible. While I might not be actually "pro" everything my contemporaries were for back in the day, I at least have taken on a more libertarian view, or "ain't nobody's business" attitude.
One example is the so called war on drugs. Even though I spent some 25 years pursuing major international drug organizations, I really despair of what it has accomplished, and, worse, how it has transformed our country, and particularly our law enforcement practices and attitudes. Today I would come down on the side that says our drug policy has resulted in little more than fief-building, budget-growing and even a de facto
policy of taxation of what is supposed to be this illegal drugs trafficking (via our greatly expanded forfeiture laws, which are so confiscatory as to shock the conscience). I think it's mostly a cynical game now. The Constitution has actually been damaged by the drug war, and the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures have been severely weakened. All for the best motives of course, of course. But the precedents, particularly in non-drug cases, are unintended consequences which are terribly harmful.
Not that I think drugs are okay or the people who banded together to get rich selling them aren't vicious thugs (you truly have no idea of the depravity and downright evil of the Mexican cartels). But folks in government pretend that our drug policies work. But they don't. At a minimum it's a travesty that marijuana isn't freely available as a pharmaceutical; and a travesty as well that DEA has any involvement whatsoever in physicians' management of their patients' pain by treatment with opioids.
That's just one area in which my ideas have changed. There are others. And I read all the time about people who in middle age or even later make 180°-changes in their political views. It's not unusual at all for young people to drop their socialism-tinged college attitudes as soon as they are introduced to the working life. (With some reports which say 50% of recent college grads are unemployed for up to a year or more after graduation, said joblessness all too often ended only by part-time or low-paying jobs outside of their area, I wonder if this will remain the case.)
And I still feel a sort of obligation to fight the good fight. Hey, I think I'll write a song:
"Almost stopped my posts
It was just the other day
They were gettin' kinda long
I coulda said they had no sway
But I didn't and I wonder why
Felt like holding the Tea Party high
And I feel
Like I owe it
(David Crosby would blow another liver out if he saw that.)