Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test

Or is the con­ven­tion against dis­cussing poli­tics here silly?

I pro­pose a test. I’m go­ing to try to lay down some rules on vot­ing on com­ments for the test here (not that I can force any­body to abide by them):

1.) Top-level com­ments should in­tro­duce ar­gu­ments (or ridicule me and/​or this test); re­sponses should be re­sponses to those ar­gu­ments.

2.) Upvote and down­vote based on whether or not you find an ar­gu­ment con­vinc­ing in the con­text in which it was raised. This means if it’s a good ar­gu­ment against the ar­gu­ment it is re­spond­ing to, not whether or not there’s a good/​ob­vi­ous coun­ter­ar­gu­ment to it; if you have a good coun­ter­ar­gu­ment, raise it. If it’s a con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ment, and the coun­ter­ar­gu­ment is also con­vinc­ing, up­vote both. If both ar­gu­ments are un­con­vinc­ing, down­vote both.

3.) Try not to down­vote par­tic­u­lar com­ments ex­ces­sively, if they’re le­gi­t­i­mate lines of ar­gu­ment. A faulty line of ar­gu­ment pro­vides op­por­tu­nity for re­but­tal, and so for our test has value even then; that is, I want some faulty lines of ar­gu­ment here. If you dis­agree, please down­vote me, in­stead of the faulty com­ments, be­cause this post is what you want less of, not those com­ments. This nec­es­sar­ily im­plies, for bal­ance, that we not ex­ces­sively up­vote com­ments. I’d sug­gest fairly ar­bi­trary limits of 3/​-3?

Edit: 4.) A sin­gle ar­gu­ment per com­ment would be ideal; as MixedNuts points out here, it’s oth­er­wise hard to dis­t­in­guish be­tween one good and one bad ar­gu­ment, which makes the up­vot­ing/​down­vot­ing difficult to eval­u­ate. (My apolo­gies about miss­ing this, folks.)

I’m go­ing to try re­ally hard not to get per­son­ally in­volved, ex­cept to lay down a lead­ing com­ment pos­ing an ar­gu­ment against abor­tion, a po­si­tion I don’t hold, for the record. The core of the ar­gu­ment isn’t dis­in­gen­u­ous, and I hold that this ar­gu­ment is true, it just doesn’t lead to my op­pos­ing abor­tion. I do not hold the moral ax­iom by which I ex­tend the ba­sic ar­gu­ment to ar­gue against abor­tion, how­ever; I’m play­ing the devil’s ad­vo­cate to try to help me from get­ting sucked into the ar­gu­ment while pro­vid­ing an ini­tial point of dis­cus­sion.

Which leads me to the next point: If you see a hole in an ar­gu­ment, even if it’s an ar­gu­ment for a per­spec­tive you agree with, poke through it. The goal is to see whether we can have a con­struc­tive poli­ti­cal ar­gu­ment here.

The fact that this is a test, and known to be a test, means this isn’t a blind study. Uh, try to act as if you’re not be­ing tested?

After it’s gone on a lit­tle while, if this post hasn’t been hope­lessly down­voted and ridiculed (and thus the premise and test dis­carded as un­de­sir­able to be­gin with), we can put up a poll to see whether peo­ple found the poli­ti­cal de­bates helpful, not helpful, and so on.