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Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Small minds discuss people"

Ideas vs. name-calling

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” --Eleanor Roosevelt

Some commenters and a local blogger have trouble grasping our discourse about ideas. This blog deals with ideas not with people. Some commenters take criticism of their logical fallacies* to be personal insults.

So, in this brief, simplified blog post we'll compare and contrast criticism of ideas with personal attacks. We'll compare and contrast local groups, too.

Used a red fish  . . .

A commenter complained, “… loss of perspective on the great evil perpetrated by the Nazi and it diminishes the true suffering of their victims,” about this blog’s assertions. He believed the post called the local political activists Nazis.

The Nazis disrupted meetings of those they disliked with intimidation and threats. They perfected and codified (wrote into instruction books) techniques of verbal assault and misinformation that are effective in changing opinions. We now call that propaganda

A few people in Costa Mesa clearly use principles of propaganda, and tactics of disruption, developed by the Nazis. That does not mean that they are accused of belonging to the National German Socialist Workers Party. Nazi victims’ suffering and horror, difficult to even consider, aren't being discussed so the “diminishes” phrase is a red herring.* 

Not just Nazi tactics 

Sometimes the complainers use techniques of intimidation suggested by the Police Union’s previous legal firm. The complainers aren't being accused of being members of a corrupt law firm or a police union, either.

Two groups, different tactics

Costa Mesa Taxpayers invites all to comment and receive messages. CM4RG limits access to believers or at least to those who don't disagree openly. CMTax discourages personal attacks in their commentary, particularly irrelevant ones. CM4RG supporters (or members) imply that the Mayor is accepting bribes and the Pro Tem is running a hidden agenda

They won't debate ideas and priorities with the men, either, although CMTax supporters do.

The Mayor holds open meetings to talk about issues with all who want to know more. The Pro Tem has pushed through the COIN transparency ordinance and published his “Promises to Costa Mesa.” The complainers who generally support CM4RG – or are members, the list isn't open to us -- use innuendo and labels to try to malign the Mayor and Pro Tem.

CMTax doesn't bring rude people in to scream at the Council. Supporters of some of our political factions do.

Use the tactics manipulate not convince 

If the complainers use tactics developed by the Nazis, or taught by Alinsky, or advised by the Police Union Playbook they are trying to get their way through intimidation and misdirection. Period.

Nobody accused the complainers of being Nazis, only of using Nazi tactics

These techniques are obviously not the only means available to convince Costa Mesans of the virtue of their positions and priorities. But Nazi tactics are what they choose.

* Logical fallacies: Here

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