Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
You kids get off my lawn!

I am a boomer in retirement. The values I hold are from decades ago. I am a centrist, somewhat left of center. This is my blog, and I will write posts here both about games, and about the cultural and political environment that touches those games, other media, and general news I come into contact with. As I am neither of the extreme left, nor of the extreme right, my centrist opinions will frequently offend the people who are. There is an extremely easy way to avoid being offended: Get of my bloody lawn! You aren't forced to read what I am writing. Feel free to make your own social media channel on which you can then complain about old foggies like me holding outdated values.

I am interested in intellectual debate with people holding other opinions. I am not interested in fighting culture wars with people who come here to call my centrist views "extreme right" / "fascist" / "MAGA" and the like, or who want to insult me because of the year I was born in.

You know who you are. Get of my lawn! You have a right to free speech, but not necessarily in my comment section. Go and write elsewhere! Stop reading what I write! I am not here to provide intellectual porn to those who get off on being offended. That applies to both the extreme left and the extreme right, but honestly, which of them is more likely on a gaming blog?

Surprising turn, but message received. I won't darken your doorstep again.

Feel free to make your own social media channel on which you can then complain about old foggies like me holding outdated values.

If anyone does end up making a Tobold's Exiles discord server, hit me up. For now, I'll skate on over to Bhagpuss's and groove to some of those righteous old jams he's spinning.
Jesus! Who rattled your cage? (That's a boomer expression you ought to understand.)

Seriously, you're about a decade younger than I am as far as I can tell, which I'm not sure even qualifies you as a boomer, even by the most generous of the brackets I've seen. Are you sure you're not GenX? Personally, I don't identify as a boomer even though agewise that's the period in which I was born. I'm definitely GenX from upbringing and cultural experience.

As for centrism, I'm sure you know it's the most toxic of all the current mainstream isms. If you call it what it is, namely fence-sitting, it's obvious why.
As for centrism, I'm sure you know it's the most toxic of all the current mainstream isms.

Can you give any examples? I am comparing the average European government (UK not included, as they self-exiled), which tends to be centrist due to the way multi-party systems work, with the US system, which tends to be extremist due to the way two-party systems work. Europe is a far, far superior and much nicer place to live. The culture wars in Europe are significantly milder, and there is much less political violence (and gun violence in general). The inequality (Gini coefficient about 30) is much less than in the USA (where it is over 40), resulting in less social conflict. The social safety net and health care are much better in Europe. And the list goes on and on.

On the spot I have a hard time coming up with any example where the centrist European governments of the past 20 years score worse in toxicity than any US administration, regardless of party currently in control. Even just regarding the US, when I listen to centrist-left Bill Maher, he comes off as significantly less toxic (and more funny) than more left-wing and right-wing comedians. However, I have noticed that people with centrist opinions are frequently receiving more hate from extremists than their actual opponents.

What you call fence-sitting, I call compromise. European governments for example all settled on some sort of compromise for abortion rights. They didn't need any supreme court for that, politicians were able to compromise and agree on laws. As a result, abortions in Europe are available, safe, covered by health care, and remarkably low on controversy. Furthermore rights don't vary in function of which state within a country you live, although there are some differences between countries. Isn't that a far superior state of affairs than the partisan uncompromising patchwork the US has?

On self-identifying as a boomer, I decided to take the word that was sometimes hurled at me as an insult and decided to wear it with pride. I was born in the early 60's, so I sure qualify. And I am a pensioner now, which is a condition that is these days frequently equated with being a boomer. Having said that, I believe that economic conflict that is often reported between millennials and boomers is in fact a false flag operation, and the undeniable economic hardships of the millennials stem from too much economic inequality rather than some sort of generational conflict. A European-style welfare state would do much to improve the economic conditions of the younger generations.
You seem to continually confuse holding a different opinion than you with being offended by you. I have observed this same tendency in multiple people, but have yet to find a way to address the root cause.

As a consequence, you say you wish for intellectual debate with people holding other opinions, while simultaneously asking all those people to leave you alone. Well, good luck with that.

But, as Esteban said, message received. I shall remove myself from the premises, lest my presence adversely affect the acoustics of your echo chamber.
"However, I have noticed that people with centrist opinions are frequently receiving more hate from extremists than their actual opponents"

That's what I meant. Centrism is "toxic" because it attracts opprobrium from all other political and social points of view. Compromise is an anathema to all people with strongly-held beliefs, whatever those beliefs might be. If you really want to wind people with strong opinions up, the best way to do it is to refuse to express a strong opinion of your own. I spent three months doing it as an experiment in the 80s and by the end almost no-one was talking to me.

Of course, based on this post, you seem to have worked out how to assign yourself some very strong opinions and then describe them as "centrist", which does confuse matters somewhat.

Unlike Esteban, who I'll be very happy to accomodate over at my blog, and negentropic, who's also welcome, along with any of your other disaffected readers, I won't be absenting myself but I might start skipping the political posts, the way I already skip the more hardcore boardgaming ones. I do still enjoy the stories from your D&D campaigns so I'll hang around for those for now.
/* Grumpy Old Man Mode OFF */

Obviously there isn't actually any technical way in which I could possibly prevent anyone from reading my blog. I can at maximum delete the comments which I consider to be disrespectful. And I have been very sparing with the use of that power over the last 20 years of this blog. Having said that, I don't want to either censor myself, nor get always the same people with "strongly-held beliefs" attacking me every time I say something political. It is not that I disagree with the intention of reaching a world of more diversity, sexual freedom, and racial harmony; but I do very much disagree with the methods used to achieve those goals.

Compromise is an anathema to all people with strongly-held beliefs, whatever those beliefs might be.

From what I can see around the world, political systems with compromise end up working a lot better than political systems without compromise. Even in the US. For example Republicans ended up not actually overturning Obamacare when they were in power, because it was too popular and complicated to reverse. If every incoming future US administration would reverse all decisions of the previous administration, the result would be utter chaos.

In a system with only two parties with opposing strongly-held beliefs, there are only two possible outcomes: The more common one in which voters after a few years vote the other guys in, and the situation in which that doesn't happen anymore, and you get to the one-party state. And what do you do when the party that is either temporarily or permanently in power is the one that holds strong beliefs that are opposite to yours? Isn't a compromise more livable for everybody?
Tobold you obviously just need to figure out how to to monetize your politically divisive posts. They are your key to viewer engagement and can help drive up your monthly site hits and profitability. :p

/sarcasm just in case anyone thinks I'm serious.
Tobold, serious question - has running this blog changed your view on humanity? If so, how would you describe the change?

For me, just as a consumer of information during that time period, I've grown increasingly disillusioned with people. Not all people, but enough where it's changed my online approach from my early online years. I quickly grew tired of discussions that would lead to personal attacks. Once people feel exacerbated, for whatever reason led to that feeling, a large number of them (not all) would then attack those expressing a view that they disagreed with instead of debating the view. So I significantly pared down my Internet interactions. Whether that was responding to blog posts or grouping with people in MMOs. I'm not advocating my approach for others, just sharing my experience and my approach - good or bad as it may be.

I question how many people realize that they've made the switch from arguing ideas to arguing about the people behind the ideas. I see it in this post, the mixture of debating ideas vs debating you, the person behind the idea.

@Janous: I agree with your observation. What Bigeye sarcastically proposed for my blog is in fact the day-to-day reality on other social media, like Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Very few people are still interested in an intellectual debate of ideas. Instead any idea you speak out is being used to put you in a category: Either you pass the purity test of one side, or you must be a member of the other side. The perverse thing is that offense causes outrage, and that outrage is easily monetized on social media. Google "Andrew Tate" if you want to meet a deliberate asshole who made millions by monetizing outrage he artificially created himself.

What I also find depressing is the lack of self-consciousness and humility on display. People fall for 100-year old Ponzi schemes and will tell you that "this time it is different, because it's crypto". Protesters topple statues of Mahatma Gandhi because they are convinced that they are morally superior to the man, which requires an astronomical amount of historical ignorance and delusion.

I ended up feeling very sorry for Bhagpuss, because of his statement that he wasn't willing to compromise in any way. What chance does he have to ever actually live in a world that lives up to those uncompromising expectations? I find it sad that progressive people locked themselves into a world of eternal victimhood and regret, when my life experience has been that the last 50 years have seen enormous progress in tolerance towards minorities, whether they be religious, by origin, or sexual. And I can't understand the idea that many people have, that the fact that they are offended by something somehow gives them some sort of right to attack the person that offended them, or allows them to demand redress.
May I ask, what political stuff gets here posted? I'm lurking on your blog since many years, but if you are writing something mildly political, it is well within your self-described limits.

I'm also very interested in exchange and - more - in discussion of ideas and viewpoints, but the current .. climate wants to dissuade and curbstomp any of them on talking points, as in the famous "this way or the highway (or worse)".
As comments posted a long time after the original post are frequently spam, Blogger has a function that automatically marks them so that I need to approve the comment to be posted. Sorry if that isn’t very clear.

To answer your question, I would say that most of the political stuff posted here is the kind of politics that swaps over into games and entertainment. For decades that used to be mostly right-wing politics, e.g. the D&D “satanic panic”. These days it is a lot more balanced, with the left trying to censor anything not 100% politically correct, and the right trying to censor the kind of entertainment that seems to have been made specifically for the woke crowd.

Other than that my political posts are often about economics. Which *used* to be political, but these days the politicians and opinion leaders on both sides are rich people, so they silently dropped the class war stuff and replaced it with a culture war. Which is a pity, because reasonable compromises in class struggle can lead to everybody being better off, while in culture wars no compromise is even possible.
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