Monday, July 03, 2006

Bring on the Kool Aid...

Today I've read 50 blogs, easily. I am doing a post on the culture of blogging. A little history, rules, observations and the like....(tomorrow is launch time). I wanted to gather as much "diversity" of thought as I could before rendering my final arguments; but before I post that little diddy, bear with me as I re-post a rant I wrote about 2 months ago. It is a good primer for what is coming.

You've heard the phrase, haven't you? "You're drinking the Hannity Kool Aid!", or the Limbaugh Kool Aid or the Mathews Tang..... What does it all mean? To me it means opening up our pie holes really wide, digesting without prejudice what anybody, any book, any talk show or any news blog shoves down our throat and finally taking it all in as truth beyond reproach.

It is human nature to preach to our own choir, to associate with like-minded individuals, to listen and learn from entities we admire and to see ourselves in the image of that which we most yearn to be like. But when does this become a self-fulfilling prophecy of one's philosophy? Are we really enlightened by just listening to the sounds of our voices? or does it behoove us as a people to at LEAST consider opposing viewpoints no matter how across-the-grain to our own preference they may be?. This is my yoke in life. As a self-described libertarian information junkie I do two things as daily ritual. One is easy because I love it, ... the other is like walking on glass on my way to a backstroke swim in volcanic lava.

An example of my daily dose of mental food. 6:00 a.m., I jump to the CATO institute's web page and various government, military and independent news journals for updates. A quick scan of MSNBC, FOXNEWS, CNN and DRUDGE REPORT to see if I missed anything while I slept. During my mid-day break at the office I stroll into some hi-tech and music sites for my right-side-of-the-brain snack, as well as other more specific information places that give me deeper insight into whatever it is that interests me that day.... Finally, as dessert I have a heavy "favorites" list I gauntlet through, which enforces and re-enforces my beliefs, my credo,... as Neal Boortz says, "my daily dose of the church of the painful truth". But then, it happens. Like a monster coming out of the closet when all is dark and quiet..., at around 9:00 p.m. comes the dreaded homework,... doing the other side of the coin. Reading up on websites, blogs, journals and op-ed commentary... all of which are diametrically opposed to everything I believe and hold as my mantra. Why do I go through this torture? Don Rumsfeld's favorite word, to CALIBRATE.

Reading extremist agendas, far left or far right diatribes, and socio-liberal rants give me conviction. If I am afraid to calibrate my beliefs against what MAY be a logical counter-point to my own idea, then my idea is not in very firm soil. If I am afraid to navigate the blogs of hate, racism, fear-mongering, socialism, supremacists, communist thought etc, then I cannot, in truth, calibrate the status of my moral spine. Such tasks are not easy,.. I read blogs all day and in most of them, you look at the far right column where they blog-roll THEIR favorites sites... with most of them it's all about drinking the KOOL AID, listening to the echoes of that which they already believe. Anchoring their shaky (or strong) beliefs with yet more of the same.

I encourage my fellow conservatives and liberals, independents and partisans, to venture out into the land of the unknown. You don't have to "embrace diversity" if you don't care to, only have to acknowledge its existence, respect that it has a right to share the opinion spectrum with yours, and -if at the end of the day-, you are not of the same mind. you can then say , "thanks but no thanks,... I've decided NOT to embrace YOUR idea of diversity". You may have walked the gauntlet of venom, but you will be a better person because you have CONSIDERED thoughts that diverge from your own.

There is a saying..."that which does not kill you, makes you stronger". To know the ingredients of a soup that is not in your kitchen is to be a better cook for your own "recipes" of thought. We should all consider not drinking the Kool Aid of choice... and get a little TANG instead. We may hate the taste and spit it out quickly, but coming back to our favorite drink will give us a new-found appreciation for the person in the mirror.


D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I MUST have my morning dose of C-SPAN's Washington Journal! It has inspired me on hundreds of occasions.

I consider it the original blog!

I believe it set the stage for the blogosphere we now have.

One musr know the enemy in order to do battle effectively!

betmo said...

wow- this was definitely worth taking out of moth balls! well done! i know exactly what you mean. there is that comfort and comraderie that goes with having people like you on your side- safety in numbers don'tcha know? i regularly take the foray into 'the dark side'- no not to raise my blood pressure- but because hey, i need to know how the other side thinks. maybe it's the pych major in me- but i need to know how people think. what i have found lately is- fringes on both sides don't think- as you said they drink from the well of kool aid without a second thought- and that is why this country is in the current state of disrepair. someone has to lead the rebellion back to sanity and i feel that i have align myself with likeminded people in that endeavor- which means i am glad that you are on my side :) thanks for an inspiring and well done post and i look forward to the next :)

KEvron said...

i've been to dozens of conservative blogs, and i've received pretty much the same treatment on all of them (nothing more nauseating than being told for the umpteenth time that i don't deserve freedom or america or whatever. i give jerks like that exactly what they deserve!).

except for this blog. here, you've been gracious, patient and indulging.

yer alright, t-p. i don't agree with very many of your views, but at least you shoot straight, so far as i can tell.

as for my own blogroll: save for a couple, all are folks with whom i've established a good rapport over the last few years. rapport is pretty much the only criterium for making my list (i've been pimping driftglass's site for a while now, but cannot include him in my blogrool for lack of that rapport).


Sarah said...

I'm drinking Aquafina with raspberry flavoring. It's almost like Kool-Aid, without the color.

I just watched a special on ABC about the division of America. It was interesting. Basically, it boiled down to this - group pressue, from the left and right, makes us all angry. We are afraid to have our own opinions because we won't fit in with our "herd." Furthermore, we are agitated by activist groups and our own government. I don't know if they will show it again, but it's good watching for everybody.

Obob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Obob said...

I enjoy my Tropical Punch Kool-Aid mixed with grain alcohol and fruit that has been soaked to be devoured.
What makes political converstation in this country so difficult is it is dominated by the far ends of the spectrum. Then they tend to cover their ears and hum to drown out the opponent. Their mind is made up and tragically they are intellectually dead.
Truth-pain, you stand on very solid intellectual ground and post speaks volumes. I challenge those who read to listen and pay attention to the opposing point of view. I have found some like ellie and betmo who very much alive, bravo. Myself, I have arisen over the years.

Brooke said...

Great post! Nothing like a little "through the looking glass" to give one a little perspective!

I DO try to be gracious to liberals on my blog... I really do!

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

MeeEEEE TOO, Brooke!


Truth-Pain said...

Daddio: I've never quite seen the C-span Washington journal. Thanks for the tip, I'll make sure to catch it.

Betmo: Youre welcome. That puppy certainly had a lot of dust :)
I feel the same as far as strength in numbers is concerned,... Going into "enemy territory" to get a heavy dose of stuff you find abrassive is not the easiest thing to do. Thankfully I've developed mental callouses, so its not as painful as it once may have been.
The next posting is still in construction, hope to have it up tonight.

KEvronius: I hear that a lot. Just ask Betmo at her site. She gets pummeled with regularity in her forrays into the right side of things. It really ticks me becuase although I consider myself a conservative (albeit a Libertarian one) I've never been a fire-breather (except in the fun cases when sarcasm just calls for the stupidity in me to come out...) I try as best I can to tell my folks on the conservative side to chill. But they complain the other side is just as vitriolic so whats the use,.... I keep hoping.
I'll check out that site you mentioned,...
Thanks for the kind words. I am to please.

Sarah: I drink that stuff all the time... great stuff! I think there is massive truth to that. I have to admit I am move "conservative" when amongst my own peeps, than say when I am amongst others. Not that I consider myself hypocritical in doing so,.. but i tend to "neutralize" myself in places unknown so as to not offend anyone unexpectedly. In spite of my seriously deep beliefs I am not out to preach. Listening is something I enjoy doing, regardless of the source or topic.

Obob: I hear ya'! The end of the spectrum thing is really puzzling to me. Why is it that it is easier to start in the middle and go outward than vice-versa?....
Ellie and Betmo are my favorites "non con's" if such noun exists. From the get-go they welcomed my comments and have always shown a flexibility not found in their own dogma-brethren.

Brooke: I try to treat Everybody with decency and fairness, but in truth it is really hard sometimes. Not because of what they are saying or how they are saying it, but because there is always an implication of defensiveness in tone that comes with the territory of blogging,.... and that alone is a battle all to itself.

Publius said...

I think personally, I do more reading of blogs that lean the opposite way of my thinking. In fact, I would rather engage with the Kool-Aid drinkers on the other side than my side because I find it embarrassing when I encounter someone who holds viewpoints similar to my own and then they make ranting lunatic posts about their beliefs. I hold my beliefs not because I think they are convenient, in fact I often think it would be a lot easier to hold opinions from the other side. Opinions on the Right often come from a “moral high ground,” but that means having to live up to your expectations of others or you are little more than a hypocrite. I know I falter and fail but it is my hope that my work trying to convince others of a moral high ground will make up for my own transgressions. I can attack the other side and get no where or I can explain the rationale behind my side and hope it in turn influences others.

betmo said...

yeah- what publius said. :)

Obob said...

by the way truth-pain, i hope you don't mind I linked you to my little blog
You have mad game as my students would put it

Truth-Pain said...

Publius: That was probably the most consice and all-encompassing comment I could have wanted to get from my little posting. Ditto to all your points. At times just mentioning I am a conservative makes me cringe slightly as I think I will be lumped with all the lunk-heads on my end of the spectrum, but I move-on (no pun intended of course)

Truth-Pain said...

Obob: Mad game?... and I thought I knew all the "kool" sayings :)
I am flattered, thanks!

Ellie said...

mad game? I live in new york and i haven't even heard that one. :)

great post, as usual. I've been extremely busy and haven't had much time to be online recently. Hopefully everything will lighten up this week...but I'm not so sure on that one. :)

I see the post before this says political exile sucks. does this mean you are returning to political banter?!

Truth-Pain said...

Ellie! Good to see you around. Thanks for the words, and yes.... the forces of evil have lured me back... i feel like a failure, only a week !!!! :)

Ellie said...

don't feel like a failure! it's like coffee. imagine going a week without drinking one cup of coffee. now that's really something. :)