The most entertaining moment at the Republican National Convention last week was when the unhinged Alex Jones barged onto a taping of the delusional Young Turks show. As so often happens when you mix the hard right with the hard left, it ended up being a screaming match where absolutely nothing was accomplished except that everyone went away more angry than before. You can watch the fireworks here and here. Pretty entertaining stuff to watch as Rome continues to fall. Things almost came to blows.

So much energy we expend on the false left/right narrative, both of whom are wrong on most issues, since both ideologies involve authoritarian big goverment, as I’ve demonstrated many times at this blog. But I digress.

This altercation is yet another example of one of the standards I hold. That is, when someone is debating an issue, the first person to launch an ad hominem personal attack against the other instantly loses. This not only applies to discussions I have, but also when I see two other people argue or debate about something. As soon as one person launches a personal attack against the other, then in my eyes, the attacker has just lost.

The reason has nothing to do with being appropriate, polite, or thin skinned. (To publicly proclaim the controversial topics I discuss on a weekly basis has made me one of the most thick skinned people I know.) Rather, it’s because if you are presented with a point, and your only response is to insult the other person, then you’ve shown to everyone that you can’t refute the point you were presented with. Therefore, you lose. If you had a way to refute the point you were just given, you would refute it instead of resorting to personal insults.

If you present me with a point that I know is factually incorrect, I don’t have to snarkily insult you personally. Instead, I’ll simply refute your point with facts. It’s not that hard.

The most important part of this Alex Jones / Young Turks altercation is when Cenk Uygur and Alex Jones were debating (somewhat) journalism, and Ana Kasparian suddenly walked in and screamed at Jones, calling him a “fat fuck.”

Boom. Alex Jones instantly wins, at least in my opinion. No, I don’t agree with Alex Jones at all. I think he’s an unhinged though often entertaining psycho. Doesn’t matter.

Note that this is a woman who has numerous times decried how horrible fat shaming is on her show (for women that is; apparently it’s perfectly fine to fat shame men).

Alex Jones then called her some kind of Judy Jihad (I think) and she responded by saying “Shut the fuck up, bitch!”

A few minutes later, another of the Young Turks crew, Jimmy Dore, filled his mouth with tea and spit into Alex Jones’s face. You can see it at 4:12 in the second video. I used to like Jimmy Dore (despite the fact I disagreed with him on politics). No more.

Nice. This is what political debate has become today, folks. Insults and assaults instead of facts, points, and solutions.

Have fun continuing to support this shit show by voting for HillTrump in November.

Is it 2025 yet?

13 Comments on “Why Personal Attacks End the Conversation

  1. One of my favourite quotes is:

    When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

    Socrates.

  2. But BD, one of the things to realize, especially about politics, is that political positions are not held from a point of logical deduction but from a point of identity. A person doesn’t, generally speaking, think “I believe this and this and this, therefore I am a democrat” rather they thing “I am a democrat therefore I believe this and this and this” (I pick democrat here, but the same is true of Republicans too.)

    This is further compounded in the echo chamber of the Internet, which drives the memetics of the party into you by exercising the limbic system to generate a repeated emotional response. Which is to say, brainwashing.

    That that is true is plain from looking at the issues that cohabitate. Why is it that people who are opposed to gun control almost always believe that churches should be exempted from tax, or thing that gays should not be allowed to marry? Why is it that people who favor the most extreme forms of abortion almost always also oppose the death penalty for outrageous criminals, or favor the legalization of marijuana? These issues aren’t really logically linked but people tend to group them together and believe them as a package.

    And in truth there is a very good reason for this. In economics it is called rational ignorance. This principle states that when the cost of acquiring data is greater than the benefit of having that data it is rational to remain ignorant. In the case of politics and voting rational ignorance is the order of the day. The cost of fully understanding these issues is extremely large (for example there are hundreds of studies written on the effects of gun control, and thousands of papers on the meaning of the 2nd amendment). Yet the benefit (politically anyway) is minuscule. If you learn this information to inform your vote and effect change you are wasting your time because you vote is such a small component that it will have zero chance of effecting change.

    Often what happens when rational ignorance reigns is that we hire an expert to help us. So it is rationally ignorant for me to not learn the whole medical field, so instead I hire an expert to advise me, a doctor. In the case of politics we use as our expert a political party that we align with, for some reason or another. And consequently rational ignorance demands that we take on the whole package of issues much as we don’t pick apart our doctor’s recommendation when he is treating our cancer or heart disease.

    So to argue politics with most people is not a rational exercise, but rather an attack on their very identity. The purpose of such a discussion is not to advance in understanding but to defend their very own character. And the reason simply being that the views people hold on politics are not generally arrived at by logical deduction, but are given to them by their chosen expert. They are therefore ill equipped to defend them.

    Of course that is all ridiculous, but it is what is actually happening most of the time. So understanding it is helpful in dealing with people.

    (BTW, FWIW, people outside the main parties are far less likely to be like this because you don’t get to be a libertarian or a green except by transforming into one, which is generally done by arguments that resonate with your values. And let me also say for non American readers, the same no doubt applies in a similar way in your country too.)

  3. one of the things to realize, especially about politics, is that political positions are not held from a point of logical deduction but from a point of identity.

    I already realize it. This is the primary reason I stopped voting about 15 years ago. People weren’t motivated by the best paths to take regarding society, but rather to get back at the other “team.” I couldn’t get through to anyone after years of political activism. So I gave up and stopped trying, and refocused on myself and my own life instead. It was a very good decision.

    As you indicate, voting has become a purely emotional exercise, not a system by which people make things better. In this upcoming election, both people voting for the Lizard Queen and Trump are going to make the country worse by doing so, but they’re so angry at the other “team” they don’t care.

    people outside the main parties are far less likely to be like this because you don’t get to be a libertarian or a green except by transforming into one, which is generally done by arguments that resonate with your values

    Correct and good observation (though there are exceptions).

    When I was a young and dumb man, I was a Republican…until I started figuring out that Republicans loved big goverment just as much as Democrats. I slowly became a libertarian only through a lot of reading and research, not because I was emulating my friends or parents.

    Very good point.

  4. Good points made by everyone – will remember “rational ignorance” and the Socrates quote for future reference.

    In general, when there’s tense situations like this, I try to remain calm and slow down the pace of events. It’s not always possible, and even when it is, if someone in your “group” loses their head, you still have to remain calm but with more complicated bargaining position (like when that one guy spit on Alex, which was probably a good soundbite moment for sensational media).

    Cenk also had the added challenge of “defending his turf”. Alex came and said jokingly he wanted to sit in his lap, a slight jab of “invading” his personal space on multiple levels. This would be considered disrespectful and if Cenk doesn’t defend his image, he risks looking weak.

    It’s a complicated situation for him to politely ask Alex Jones to respect his personal space while keeping his cohorts calm, and getting it accomplished when coming out looking like he maintained his image and that people respect him. Not many people are that savvy and think that fast on their feet.

    Most people respond by upping the emotional drama. The trick, I believe, is to remain calm and collected. You’re basically in the middle of a semi-forced negotiation, and you want to find a win-win. I guess you have to figure out what a possible win-win would be. Maybe a better way for Cenk:

    Say – “Welcome to the show. We’re happy to have you as a guest. Let’s just take a short break while we get you chair. I’m excited to discuss the issues with you. I know both you and I want to discuss the facts as gentleman and not get caught up in all the silly mainstream media click bait drama. We’ll be back in a minute or two. Thanks everyone.” If Jones seems unreasonable, just go get some tea/coffee and postpone the show until he leaves.

  5. Boom. Alex Jones instantly wins, at least in my opinion. No, I don’t agree with Alex Jones at all. I think he’s an unhinged though often entertaining psycho.

    So did he just win again? This time against you?

  6. Cenk also had the added challenge of “defending his turf”. Alex came and said jokingly he wanted to sit in his lap, a slight jab of “invading” his personal space on multiple levels. This would be considered disrespectful and if Cenk doesn’t defend his image, he risks looking weak.

    I don’t have much of a problem with what Cenk did (although he did lose his cool towards the end). I would have done the same. My issue is with what Ana Kasparian and Jimmy Dore did.

    So did he just win again? This time against you?

    No, because I’m not having a one-on-one debate or argument with Alex Jones right now. Instead I’m insulting a very wealthy, nationally known public figure who will never read this blog.

    If I was debating something with Alex Jones directly in back-and-forth conversation, I would never call him any names nor insult him in any way no matter what happened. In debating things with people on the internet for about 18 years, I have never made a personal attack against anyone I was debating, and I never will. I don’t need to. My points speak for themselves.

  7. I’ve seen Cenk and Alex together before and they seemed to get along fine despite their political differences. It actually seems that Alex believes them to be friends when he approaches the set despite “crashing ” it. Although Jones does claims he was invited by someone in TYT’s camp.

    What Alex did though,was underestimate the bad blood that exists between Cenk and Roger Stone. If you watch carefully Cenk snaps at Stone first, becomes unglued and then turns on Jones afterwards. You can see that Jones is not expecting that reaction at all and is really taken aback. I agree with you that the worst behavior on display was by the other two on the stage though.

    “No, I don’t agree with Alex Jones at all. I think he’s an unhinged though often entertaining psycho.”

    As someone who follows both yours and Alex Jones’ work, I have to say that I find this remark amusing. You may be surprised to hear that you both have exactly the same libertarian political viewpoints. You also both seem to believe that another force controls both parties, so they’re BOTH bullshit. The only difference is that he says the “New World Order” and you say “Elites”.

    I also see you post Paul Joseph Watson videos on this blog and he’s Alex’s long time, right-hand Man and employee. Watson espouses Jones belief system.

    To see how Alex Jones is not really a Republican, you can watch him being arrested at a George Bush rally back in the day. He asked Bush about the CFR and the Federal Reserve. It’s pretty funny.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaQm_CFJTak

    He seems to be supporting Trump because he believes Trump had infiltrated them kind of like Ron Paul. Interestingly, there’s a clip of Newt Gingrich on Fox news saying that Trump has not been” initiated in the secret society”. Whatever that means?

  8. Can you write an article on Bernice’s speech at the Dnc?

    No. I’ve had enough of these stupid speeches. Both of these conventions are making me puke. I didn’t watch Trump’s speech either, just clips, which were more than enough for me to see.

    If you watch carefully Cenk snaps at Stone first, becomes unglued and then turns on Jones afterwards. You can see that Jones is not expecting that reaction at all and is really taken aback.

    Yeah, but when Cenk really loses it is when Alex makes the crack about Saudi Arabia. Then Cenk went crazy and Alex was crazy right along with him.

    That’s what Cenk and Alex have in common. They both have ridiculously huge tempers and zero emotional control. It’s pathetic. But like I said, this is what the left/right debate in this country has largely become.

    You may be surprised to hear that you both have exactly the same libertarian political viewpoints.

    I’m not surprised; I already know. I know Alex Jones is a libertarian.

    Just because someone shares my political views doesn’t mean he can’t be insane. Yeah, he’s a libertarian like me and he reports about 70-80% of the news accurately. He also believes that the elites want to kill 90% of the human race. He believes in FEMA death camps. He thinks the world is going to be destroyed by volcanoes under the Pacific Ocean. He has weird, screaming rants while not wearing a shirt and cries on camera regularly. He’s worse than Glenn Beck was. He’s unhinged. There’s something wrong with him.

    I also see you post Paul Joseph Watson videos on this blog and he’s Alex’s long time, right-hand Man and employee. Watson espouses Jones belief system.

    You keep telling me things I already know. Like Jones, Paul Joseph Watson provides some good info (usually), I enjoy some videos (though some of them are terrible) and I generally agree with his politics. He’s also way over the top and rants wayyyyyyyy too much about very minor points, and occasionally talks about Alex Jones-type things like hidden messages on the US dollar bill. He’s not nearly as bad as Alex Jones but he definitely ventures in to that zone from time to time.

  9. “That’s what Cenk and Alex have in common. They both have ridiculously huge tempers and zero emotional control. It’s pathetic. But like I said, this is what the left/right debate in this country has largely become”

    You’re right. They’re almost the same guy, just on the opposite side of the spectrum. It’s amazing how people can’t see that. People seem to want to adopt whatever belief system they discover and then scream it at each other until it becomes violent.

    No one can debate anything without taking it way too personally. It’s as if the core of their very being is being attacked.. To your credit, I think you’re one of the of people I’ve ever seen who doesn’t behave that way.

    Meanwhile, the people who really have the power, the “Elite” or whatever you want to call them, laugh at how stupid we all are, and how we can be so easily divided against each other while they get away with whatever they want.

    That’s probably why I don’t view the “Elite depopulation theory” to be as extreme as you do. I mean considering how we are, and with the rise of Robotics and AI, why wouldn’t they? What will they need their slaves for then?

  10. No one can debate anything without taking it way too personally. It’s as if the core of their very being is being attacked.. To your credit, I think you’re one of the of people I’ve ever seen who doesn’t behave that way.

    I have many flaws but I’m self-aware. I never take disagreements personally. Hell, I don’t even take insults personally (95% of the time they’re inaccurate anyway).

    Meanwhile, the people who really have the power, the “Elite” or whatever you want to call them, laugh at how stupid we all are, and how we can be so easily divided against each other while they get away with whatever they want.

    Precisely. The elites love this fighting between the left and right. While you’re furious at the other team, you’re not paying quite as close attention to how the elites are screwing you.

    That’s probably why I don’t view the “Elite depopulation theory” to be as extreme as you do. I mean considering how we are, and with the rise of Robotics and AI, why wouldn’t they? What will they need their slaves for then?

    If the elites really wanted to kill 90% of humanity, they have that power right now, and could do it within a few months at the most. They wouldn’t need to fart around with all these crazy, complicated, Alex Jones conspiracies.

  11. Bill Burr’s got a bit on arguing with your significant other where he touches on this. The moment she resorts to personal attacks, that means you won.

    My typical tactic with this (in any arena) is that once the insult has been thrown out, is to throw out a wry smile, look away from the person I was just debating with and then say “Yea, ok.” in a really dismissive tone. Then completely disengage.

    There’s no way the other person can look good or have a position of defense unless you also decide to stoop to that level.

  12. Bill Burr’s got a bit on arguing with your significant other where he touches on this. The moment she resorts to personal attacks, that means you won.

    He’s right on the philosophy, but whatever tactic he recommends I would take with a grain of salt. I love Bill Burr and he’s one of my favorite comedians, but he’s as Alpha Male 1.0 as they come, and he clearly has regular drama with his mono-wife, by choice.

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