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I Know More Than You

June 3, 2022

He was okay with my points even when they disagreed with him, just so long as I didn’t threaten his expertise.

I like to political discussions. Not arguments. But, actual discussions. And in fact, the best conversations are with people who are intelligent but disagree with me.

John was like that. We were Facebook friends. John was a former ultra conservative who insisted for much of the time I knew him that he was not a Liberal. He was just about “truth.” (He was a Liberal.)

But, John was very experienced in politics. He’d been around politics a long time. And he avoided ad hominem attacks. He also attacked the argument and not the person.

I enjoyed my debates with John.

With the recent shootings, John was focusing on gun control. Gun control and gun rights is a topic I’ve researched for a long time. It’s a complex topic. And it often rejects “intuitive logic.” It lends itself to simplistic slogans.

If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

More guns equals more gun crime.

The debates are never that simple. When a tragedy like the one that occurred in Ulveda, Texas happen, people become very emotional. And I do to. It’s horrific.

But, people seem to decide that when they are emotionally committed to a topic, anyone who disagrees must be opposed to their feelings as well. If my feelings are sorrow for the children and you disagree with me, it must mean that you don’t care about the kids dying.

It’s not true, of course. But, we don’t often think when we are emotional.

Poor John let his emotions and his ego get away from him.

During a discussion about gun violence around the world, I pointed out that the USA ranks about 25th as the most dangerous for gun violence. John was trying to convince his readers, “This doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world.”

Sadly, shootings happen all over the world. In some countries worse than in the USA.

John decided I was simply parroting hollow right wing talking points. (Having studied the topic for decades, I certainly wasn’t. But, it didn’t matter than he thought so.)

In frustration he finally said,

I know more than you do.

In other words he wanted to be the smartest person in the room. A dangerous position to think you are in. and an even more dangerous position to actually be in. I responded,

John, that is the stupidest thing you’ve ever said to me. I assume you are familiar with an appeal to authority logic fallacy.

And it was at that point where after years of discussion and thousands of words exchanged, he decided he no longer wanted to talk to me. He unfriended me and had his posts set so only friends could comment.

I find the relationships more important than the arguments. If John had asked me to stop commenting I certainly would. Another liberal mutual friend told me that he only wanted people who agreed with him to post on his wall. I think that’s a stupid idea, but “his wall, his rules.” I respected his opinion.

I considered why John blocked me. And I realized it was because his ego couldn’t accept a peer. He was convinced he knew more and if he’d only talk long enough I would agree with him.

I’ll miss the debates with him, but I’ll miss his friendship more. Even if it was only on Facebook.

Life’s too short to take a Facebook comment too seriously.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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