Hoo boy. Where to start? Well, I guess with the original suggestions made by Sofi. I don't think we can make anybody do anything, here's
It's been said already, but I'll reitterate with a comic twist.
You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make him/her think.
What we want is a humanity (and by proxy an ATS) that can think for itself, without resorting to sound-byte philosophies and pre-fab enemies. We want
to be taken seriously as individuals, not lumped in with a group of people that we ourselves may despise. It burns me up every time someone labels me
liberal, my political allegiance is granted on an individual basis, the same as my personal allegiances. To suggest otherwise is to question my
intelligence, and to question my intelligence is an insult, pure and simple. I respond to insults in kind, against my better judgement, and the
perpetual cycle continues.
The labelling is obnoxious, widespread, and it incites a great deal of anger. It is the fault of both sides for engaging in it, and moreover it is
the fault of the conspirators for making it so acceptable to de-humanize people. Since we can't stop the conspirators from wanting to play us off
each other, we must stop ourselves, and if possible each other, from falling into the two neatly defined categories. We have to reject the
categorical denial of our 'selves', and more than that, we have to somehow punish those who reinforce the stereotypes.
I believe a better ATS (indeed, a better world, a better humanity) is possible, but it will require an enormous amount of personal effort on the part
of the mods and the members. The mods can only do so much without being perceived as squelching free speech, therefore, the burden of action falls
largely on us, the members. We have to send clear signals to the partisan weenies that their influence is unacceptable, unwarranted, and will result
only in their isolation from the community.
That being said I've used the ignore feature to simply reduce the partisan clutter. I realize this is the lazy way out, but I simply don't have
enough hours in the day to dedicate signifigant portions of my time to reading and responding to the same, tired old crap from unrepentant partisans.
I realize that this is contrary to denying ignorance in a way, but it is also critical to that idea. If I don't see the weenies, I don't play into
their hands. I decided that my ignore list will be a rotating batch of malcontents, rather than a permanent prison. That way, if members reform
their ways, I will be able to see their progress and respond positively to it. I would recommend the same strategy to anyone else.
The mods can play a decisive role in this struggle, by doggedly removing threads from ATS that do not belong, and by strong-arming the manipulators
into compliance with the agreed upon rules of civil discussion. Perhaps we should simply state that partisanship has no place at ATS - an ultimatum
to the partisan weenies to take it outside to PTS or lose their posting priviledges all together. If the admin believes that partisan cliques are
ignorant, and fermenting ignorance in other members with their incendiary posts, then their threads should be relegated to the mud pit to prevent
their caustic influence from spreading.
We need to agree upon the difference between personal opinion and partisan opinion. Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, that's what
makes ATS function, but those who regurgitate the opinions of the bought-and-paid-for political pundits, are of no value to their fellow men, and of
no value to the ATS community. If we wanted Rush's opinion, or Hannitty's opinion, or O'Reilley's opinion, we would turn on the damn TV. We come
to ATS to converse with our fellow human beings, and too often we end up confronting the very visage of slavish stupidity that drove us to the
alternative media in the first place. We're trying to get away from mainstream, politically acceptable discourse, not wallow in it. If you, the
individual, really and truly echo the sentiments of your favored TV personality, down the line and without exception, you have been programmed to do
so. There's no nice way of saying it.
It seems that many members think ATS is a heathen country, in need of their own brand of political salvation. I'm a man, an individual, my heroes
are Diogenes and Simeon Stylites, long-dead outsider philosophers. How am I supposed to engage in reasonable conversation with people whose heroes
are contemporary mouthpieces for the control schemata I so desperately despise? It's frustrating, and difficult, and largely fruitless. The only
way people change is if they change themselves. Presenting facts and logical analysis gives men the tools to shape their own beliefs, but it can't
give them the will to do so. Badgering with emotionally charged opinion and insults only crystalizes resistance and resentment on the part of the
People have been trying to change me my whole life, and all it's done is galvanized my resolve. It's reasonable to assume that every time I try to
change someone else, the same process occurs, and that's counter-productive. I don't think ATS can really change people, all it can do is encourage
people to change themselves through positive reinforcement and by rewarding outstanding contributions made by individuals. SO touched on this in chat
the other night.
Seekerof presented a very good link, containing informaton more people should read. In case people skipped over the individual sub-links, let me post
a few of the ones I think are most applicable.