Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Don't Take My Word For It

When I get into discussions online that are "heated", I do my absolute best to be the calm one, to not use sarcasm or inflammatory language, to keep the discussion on the rails, as it were. I am very good at this, I can, if necessary, remain polite and calm despite quite a bit of provocation, and if you saw me, I'd be smiling in an understanding manner. I understand fully that not everyone can do this, that they lose their temper easily, and allow it to show in their writing, and some opinions are tinged with great passion, and we're all different, and that's what makes life interesting.

But let's get the facts straight.

If I have to correct a person who has not done their research, who is giving a knee-jerk reaction, and who then objects to me correcting them, I'm done.

If you don't think I'm right, that's fine, go and look it up. Because if you are talking rubbish, I will correct you. Not everything is an opinion. Some things are verifiable, quite easily. A mile really is longer than a kilometre and nothing ever changes that. If you mix red with blue you get purple. That's just how it is. Insects do not have four legs, and the sun rises in the East.

Despite this, I find myself constantly doing battle with people who think their opinion (or their error) counts more than a fact. I don't seek these battles. They seem to find me. The only way of avoiding them would be to withdraw from all social media, and I have no desire to do that, I get eccentric enough living out here in the boonies as it is.

I don't know everything, and neither does anyone else. When I don't know something, I find out. I use whatever information is at hand. And I care. I have no desire to spread incorrect information. I have nothing invested in "saving face" if I am mistaken. It is completely beyond me why people can't admit they are wrong, that they erred. It's easy - try it:

"Oops, I got that wrong!"

It can happen to anyone, and in fact the smarter a person is, the more ready he is to accept that he made a mistake, the more likely he'll want the facts to win the day.

Between opinions and errors, and the simply bloody-minded, there are always heated discussions going on, and so I get plenty of practice.

Today I heard that all farmers are stupid, evil, and disgusting. And that's fine. You don't have to like farmers. You can have any silly prejudiced opinion about farmers that you want. Seriously. I can assure you that farmers are capable of silly prejudiced opinions about city people, and don't hold back in sharing them. This stuff is just humans being silly and prejudiced, out loud. Whatever.

But to say you don't need farmers...that's not a valid opinion.


You do need farmers. Every single thing that goes in your mouth came at some point from a farm. No matter how processed it is afterwards, how far from food it becomes in a factory, it began as something that grew. It may have grown in a greenhouse more akin to a laboratory, but nevertheless, it grew. Those imbecile hicks you revile, they grew it. It's OK to hate them. It's OK to demean them, if that's your kick. But to say you don't need them? No.

Be they local or foreign, you'd be dead without them. Stone dead. Hunger is not pretty.

Think you can grow your own food? Well, maybe. But can and shall are two extremely different things. Self sufficiency, especially in the west, is exceedingly rare and very,very difficult. It's cute to hear about people's plans to live off the land, especially if it's a very small amount of land, in anything but an ideal climate. I admire all and any efforts, but sooner or later you have two options. Buy food that was farmed, or die. It's not much of an option.

If this sounds like me being very passionate about something just because I live deep in farm country, no, that's not it. Nope. Not at all. It's just an example. Just one of many examples of the complete idiocy of people shooting their mouths off online. About how they don't need anyone but themselves. 

About 12,000 years ago, give or take, our ancestors made an irreversible decision to farm instead of hunt. It took longer for some to switch over than others, but these days very few are still relying on hunting. After that we made a series of other decisions, leading headlong into the interdependency of modern civilization. If it all ended tonight, 80% of humans would die within weeks or months. In the west, 99%. Most western humans would resort to theft, and killing one another for food and other basic needs. Starvation would come later. We are Homo sapiens domesticus. We need one another, and the system we live in, no less than if we were attached by tubes and wires.

That is not opinion. That is the cold, hard facts. We are so far from being able to look after ourselves that it's not even a fun game to fantasize that we can. Even the craziest survivalists are not realistic, or even HONEST. Their stockpiles prove that.

The well-meaning people that show me "easy" ways to grow your own food don't like it when I point out the issues involved in this latest idea, I am derided for being negative. No. I have a basic grasp of horticulture.

And even this isn't my point. This is not a blog about self-sufficiency, even that is just a convenient example.

I love to discuss, to debate even, but there are rules to debate, and these include offering views backed up by evidence. The topic doesn't matter. It can be something as fluffy as home decorating. I do not have time to get into a pissing match because you can't be bothered to factcheck.

And while I'm here.....

The definition of politics, for your perusal:

  1. 1.
    the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.
    "the party quickly gained influence in French politics"
    synonyms:governmentlocal government, affairs of state, public affairs,diplomacyparty politics More

  2. 2.
    activities aimed at improving someone's status or increasing power within an organization.
    "yet another discussion of office politics and personalities"


  1. How much do they pay you to lifeguard at the shallow end of the gene pool? Demand a raise. Don't need farmers. My head hurts. I'm highly allergic to stupidity it seems.

  2. *blink blink* Where is Darwin when you need him??

  3. I am in the middle of reading "Spoilt Rotten. The toxic cult of sentimentality" by my beloved Theodore Dalrymple. He remarks that when it comes to being taken seriously by media, the intensity of emotion seems to have become a substitute for informed opinion.

    1. Isn't that the truth. I would like to read that. I'll look for it. Thanks.