Can We All Get Along?

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger


“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” Rodney King 5/1/92


The arguments and divisions politically here and throughout this country are rampant and destructive. Anger and hatred of others of differing opinions rises at times to fever pitch and I admit that I am part of the problem as much as anyone else is. This is a somewhat different piece in that I am going to present some national problems, as I see them and elicit your comments on them, in an attempt to discover whether there is some common ground agreement, on some things plaguing our society. While I am more interested in whether or not people agree that these are indeed problems for us all to consider and work to solve, it is certainly apropos for people to comment on what they believe the solutions to be.

 This is an experiment on the viability of people agreeing on the premise that a problem exists in a given area. We cannot begin to resolve issues, unless we first agree that they are issues to be contemplated by the entire body politic. My hope is to engender real, civil discussion and perhaps at the end reach something like consensus. This is not a plea for Bi-Partisanship because to me that is a fantasy, whoever may utter it. To be “partisan” is to hold strong opinions and srong opinions do not resolve themselves into agreement. The resolution reached by “partisans” is always one of compromise, without either side changing their core beliefs, but agreeing to take part of the loaf. I am “experimenting” to see if many of the diverse viewpoints represented here can at least agree that a specific issue is indeed a problem, or if it is indeed an issue. Beyond writing this, I will not take part in the ensuing discussion,  since the formulation itself indicates my views on whether these are indeed problems. I will limit my questions to legal issues, with no particular order of importance intended.

A. Does the fact that we have the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world indicate a problem?

 B. Given the overcrowding and long delays inherent in our legal system, do we need to do something to reform it?

 C. Have our Constitutional Rights been diminished?

 D. Has the policing authority both State and Locally been extended beyond permissible bounds.

 E. Has the War on Drugs been a failure and added to addiction rather than restricting it?

 F. From the perspective of criminal/civil procedure, has the Right to Privacy been terminated and/or restrictively diminished?

 G. Does State and Federal Government have the right to criminalize non-coercive sexual acts between adults?

 H. Should the States and Federal Government admit the “War on Drugs” is a failure and seek new methods to deal with addiction?

 As an illustration of what I am looking for I will present this. FFLEO and I both voted for Barack Obama, even though FFLEO and I have very different political and partisan beliefs. Yet we both agree that he has been an awful President. Where we respectfully disagree is that he has stated he will never vote for Obama again and I have stated I might, if there are no alternatives that seem viable. The most important element is that we, though vastly different politically, agree on the nature of the problem. With that agreement, there comes a mutual respect and a future hope of resolution, even though one is not now apparent or even likely. If there is no agreement on whether something is at least a problem, then the legacy of that disagreement is ongoing, unresolved strife.

 Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

171 thoughts on “Can We All Get Along?”

  1. Roco,

    I think I did the math right…


    I used to detail all of your malfeasance and you complained that I was too verbose. I have no desire to find and cite all of the instances where I made accusations and backed them up, but as they are all still there if anyone wants to go looking. You can believe that I’m retreating into an echo chamber filled with like-minded individuals if you like – I’m just happy to go somewhere that I don’t have to put up with you.


    I have a forum as a part of a website for the company I’m starting – a portion of that forum will be given over to discussions on any topics of interest. I’m not planning on restricting it to “like-minded individuals” (or like-minded hive consciousnesses either ;-)), I’m just planning on keeping out those who act in bad faith (it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with what I think, it’s about everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts). You can call me an arrogant asshole all you want as long as you don’t try to tell me that I don’t understand the law of conservation of energy or the heat equation.* On top of that, Bob misrepresented my words to make me look like an unethical hypocrite and tried to chase me around the blog with his straw man. I believe that excluding people like him or kderosa or Bdaman will only have a positive effect on the quality of discussions – I may be wrong, but I’m going to do the experiment to find out. My point in discussing it here is to see what other people’s opinions are – so thank you for yours.

    * Don’t forget that Bob and I are the poster children for the D-K effect – he assumed his expertise in physics was superior to mine (something that is obviously false) and lacks the class and honesty to admit his mistake. Although I’m sure Bob wont believe it, I routinely checked and double checked my calculations on the WTC trying to see if there were some way Bob was right and I was wrong – I even consulted with another mathematician (with a PhD in physics) just to make sure I wasn’t missing something (he didn’t think so…).

  2. lottakatz,

    Some people are so hyper-sensitive to criticism that it causes them to throw temper tantrums. And some, rather than reassess their position or behavior, prefer to retreat into echo-chambers filled with ‘like-minded individuals.’

    Witness Fox News.

  3. Here’s a violation of principle Kevin;

    All you had to do was show where and how I attacked you. Just amend your claim to include evidence in support thereof. But you didn’t, or I should say couldn’t, do that. Thus you lied when you claimed I attacked you on this thread.

    And like a typical liar you beg the audience to just take you at your word in lieu of providing reasons or evidence for your claims.

    But rather than own up to what you did, on this thread, in this exchange, you kick and scream about how horrible of a person I am based on your interpretation of arguments we had more than a year ago. Care to guess what fallacy that is? (Hint: See F.R.E. 401)

    Truth is the agreement between knowledge and its object. Having shown above how you lied, calling you a liar is a truthful statement of fact; not an attack.

  4. Ya’ know, a personal blog is a personal blog and only the owner can make the rules so any discussion of moderation or banning is fruitless and probably arrogant. I’m not a blog owner but I have noticed a number of pitfalls to a blog and its commenter’s over about 20 years of commenting and one of them I would remedy if I did own a blog. The “I know I am but what are you” syndrome.

    At some point (and I see it here at Turlyblawg increasingly) people seem run out of things to post on the actual topic so they start ripping at each others fins. Some fish are fin-rippers, they get a good portion of their food supply by ripping at other fish’s fins and eating what they can rip off. Quite a evolutionary niche eh? You have to be careful if you want a community tank, not to mix in fin-rippers, they stress the other fish.

    Actually, most people here are pretty smart, well educated and have good memories (not saying I am, just obsrvin’) so I see these fin-rippy things break out and I see people that have too much energy and competitive spirit on their hands to be contained by mere topic headings. That’s a shame in some respects.

    I can disagree with virtually everyone on this blawg about something and also agree with almost everyone on this blawg about something (as long as they aren’t changing the goal-post as we ‘speak). Probably a lack of intellectual discipline on my part 🙂 I pass up opportunities to disagree or agree many times because they’re doing ok by themselves as well the fact that they’re small points, why get all twitchy over a small point.

    I’d close comments on a particular posting on my blawg after some period of time. Give the commenter’s something else to think about and interrupt the snark-spiral they get into. All that energy and fine intellect is a shame to waste on personal bickering. I see some of these threads with people I respect going “I’m a mirror, whatever you say to me bounces to you” and I just think, ‘what a waste’. But entertainment is where you find it so following your bliss is also OK with me, I just don’t want to fall into that trap.

    Also, I don’t have the time/energy. It is unfortunate, on a personal note, that, that you Kevin, wish to start your own private blawg presumably with (only?) like minded people. That should leave you less time to post here. I value your postings. I also know that Turleyblawg sorts itself out after acrimonious and disruptive interludes. I also (can’t remember the poster that made the observation) value the interesting- delightful- discussions that “organically” spring up often as tangents.

    I have notice that people, serious people, start going nuts come election time. They get hyper-sensitive and argumentative. I have also noticed that now, just in the last couple of years, that political parties and politicians are talking about the next election literally hours after the current election and the age of the perpetual campaign (touted 24-7 by the media) is upon us. I think- with no scientific, psychological or political training at all- is causing posters here and on my other, very few, political blawgs, to stay huper-sensitised and argumentative. I think it’s a bad thing. I look at some threads and think ‘an elections coming’ and chalk the acrimony up to that. I have seen that cycle repeated many, many times.

    There is no end or conclusion to this posting. I’m just ruminating out loud. Over.

    Bob, it can take me more than an hour to do a posting, I have to do other things while posting so don’t take the “I know what I am…” personally, or do, whatever, It just takes me a long time to post and I don’t have the time to rework my thought.

  5. Slartibartfast:

    You are most definitely entitled to your opinion and you have very good ones.

    Bob has very good opinions to, and so does Gene, Mespo, Elaine and Mike Spindell and Mike Appleton.

  6. Roco,

    If Bob looked down all of the avenues of the hypotheses he was putting forward then he is an incompetent idiot – every one dead ended into physical reality – I could probably come up with a dozen theories he put forward which turned out to be contradicted by the facts or the physics (something he never once admitted, by the way). Regarding the enmity between us, at the very beginning of the 9/11 thread, Bob posted this:

    Slarti, in case I haven’t told you before, I’m a Meyers-Briggs INTP/INTJ. What does that mean? It means, for purposes here, that I’m normally an affable guy until someone violates a PRINCIPLE or calls a principle into question without foundation.

    My response was:

    Well, I suppose that you should know that I am also a normally affable guy until someone violates a principle (the specific one you violated was conservation of energy). Apparently, I crossed you when I suggested Ockham’s Razor favored the ‘natural’ hypothesis, violating your ‘philosophy of science’ view of how OR should be used. I was, however, using OR in the standard way that it is used in science: to decide between preliminary hypotheses.

    Bob never responded to this, but I still feel that it is the crux of the impasse. He wouldn’t admit that I was using Ockham’s razor in a very standard way and then he refused to acknowledge conservation of energy. I don’t know if he understood that stipulating to the physics would undermine his entire argument or if he had just decided that anything I said must be wrong, but no matter what reason Bob had for refusing to acknowledge the laws of physics, it was both a violation of one of my principles as well as an act of incredible bad faith (not to mention ignorance). Bob may have a good side, but that’s not the first impression I got and most of my later impressions have only confirmed the first. For his part, he never gave any clarification (in light of this) as to how I had violated his principles or really touched the topic of how Ockham’s razor was used in science at all. I really believe that for all of Bob’s intelligence and talent, he adds nothing of value and generally detracts from discussions that he’s a part of. I’m entitled to that opinion, right?

  7. Slarti:

    I still think your use of energy was a very good idea. and of course I do not have the mathematical background to have done what you did. That is why I quit posting, I defered to those with superior knowledge.

    Personally I dont know why you and Bob dont get along better you are both smarter than hell. Maybe that is part of it. You intellectual types have strong opinions and it takes a good deal to move you from your hypothesis/opinion because in your minds you have looked at all of the avenues and believe your analysis to be correct.

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