New Term for Debate Avoidance

So one thing I’ve been noticing is that Authoritarians have have an ever increasing war against civil and open discourse and debates.

On the larger scale there are politicians holding “Town Hall Meetings” that are closed to the public. We also now have the new “Safe Space” culture that wants to ban words and honestly points of view, and is quick to blanket ANYTHING they don’t like with “Racist” or “Nazi”. And of course that cultural movement has the whole Antifa and Black Lives Matter who outright riot, so rather than debate they beat you to a pulp and burn your business down.

But on the individual level we have the long-standing abuse of Godwin’s Law. Godwin is actually an amusing observation that if an argument goes on long enough SOMEBODY is going to bring up Nazis. Funny, and really sort of irrelevant. But the abuse is that if in a debate if somebody brings up the Third Reich as an observation, rather than form a rebuttal a coward will say “Godwin’s Law, this debate is over!!!”.

I made this observation a number of years ago, that if a “Progressive” trolling a Conservative/Libertarian blog or discussion group, when they get any reasonable response they VANISH as to never need to concede a loss.

The new term in the title I hadn’t heard is called “Sealioning”. From Wikipedia

Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions. The harasser who uses this tactic also uses fake civility so as to discredit their target. The term arises from a 2014 edition of the webcomic Wondermark, where a character expresses a dislike of sea lions and a passing sea lion repeatedly asks the character to explain.

Now here’s the comic in question (decided not to grab the image because I need to display the whole comic and that’s pressing fair use) Go have a look.

Notice something? A person states that they don’t have an issue with marine mammals, but they don’t like sea lions. Then a sea lion shows up, and rightly takes offense, and continues to ask for an explanation of her hatred. At NO POINT does the women who admits to disliking sea lions actually give a reason for their dislike.

back to Wikipedia:

According to Claire Hardaker, a researcher and senior lecturer in linguistics at Lancaster University; the best way to deal with a suspected sea-lioning attack is not to engage them in the first place; but if you must, then to direct them towards third-party sources. If they are seriously curious individuals, they will be able to learn more without taking up time and resources.

So the 3rd party bit is actually a great tactic for any real-world debate, because #1 it keeps the division of labor clear, you can argue with some asshole for 2 hours only to have them say “Fuck you, you’re wrong!!!” and you’ve wasted a lot of efforts. I’ve had lots of debates where I suggested to somebody with an anti-gun view to seek out some 3rd party sources…the ignorant zealots NEVER do it, and the people who have sought out the data I’m going to cite, no matter how critical they are, they almost always convert because when facts are on your side, the open minded will quickly fall to your side.

But note the LEAD is “Not Engage”, but in this story she openly said she hated sea lions, and a sea lion wanted to know why….and NEVER got a response. Since this is a gun blog, and it’s what I do, I can’t help but think about the people who lead with “I’m fine with SPORTING guns, but those evil semi-autos need to be banned!!!”

I would of course ask what made them evil, and needing to be banned. And if you follow this blog, you know they generally delete my comments and ban me.

Now I’ve had discussions with people who just refuse to hear my rebuttals or talk past me, and if THAT was Sealioning, I get it, there are times when you just need to pull anchor and sail away, but every reference to this I’ve read really just boils down to “Never answer questions you don’t want to”.

If they’re on the right side, why do they avoid debate and discussion so much?

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One Response to New Term for Debate Avoidance

  1. Monique says:

    Yah i agree with you. Debates and discussions are great. They can help to solve any problems. I dont know why we can not do them freely.

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