I recently became embroiled in a war of words with a guy on Facebook. I know, I feel a little dumb too.
It came about because a friend of mine (a real one, not a “Facebook friend”) posted something about the health care reform debate. A friend of hers (a “Facebook friend,” which means she in fact barely knows the person to whom he’s responding) responded in what I would describe as an unnecessarily belligerent manner. He wasn’t out to start a lively but civil debate or offer a contrasting opinion. He was just out to be a jerk.
You know the kind of kid who, in school, responds to everything other students say with mockery or derision because he cannot differentiate between “good” attention and “bad” attention? You know the kind of person who goes to a concert for a band he knows he doesn’t like for the express purpose of heckling them? You know the kind of person who yells “FIRE!” in a crowded building for the sole purpose of creating chaos then excuses his behavior by claiming he has the Constitutional right to free speech? That’s the kind of person this guy is.
The “discussion” degenerated quickly. He threw out patronizing cracks and accusations of socialism (which has become the modern-day equivalent of “Commie”). When I didn’t back down he apparently went and checked out my profile so he could make some more personal (yet still quite superficial) attacks. He resorted to ad hominem strategies (wherein one of the parties attempts to devalue his opponent’s information by claiming fault with the speaker or source of information; the information itself is not directly challenged or disputed). Y’know: the usual.
Then he hit rock bottom: he whipped out a Nazi reference (Josef Mengele, specifically).
Did I mention my friend is Jewish? Kind of important to the story, really.
Which brings me to my point. During this debate, a lot of people have alluded to Hitler and the Nazi regime. Let us recall that woman who showed up to a hearing with Barney Frank (a Jew) with a poster of a Hitlerized Obama. The allusions have been flying pretty freely, I’d say far too freely.
Unless the individual on the receiving end of such an accusation is directly or indirectly complicit in the murder of six million human beings, resorting to a Nazi comparison means you automatically lose the debate. It shows that you have exhausted all rational fact-based avenues of argument (if you had any to begin with) and are now so desperate you have to reach out to push one of the hottest of hot buttons to provoke a visceral emotional response and demonize your opponent/garner cheap sympathy for your point of view.
Tags: health care debate
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.