Narrative #1

Nicholas Mocalis
Professor Bradford
                                                                  Narrative #1
                When I went to College I saw the political debate club where there were multiple different candidates debating on different ideas and topics that included discussions about life experiences and political opinions. The debate rules will be that members would have an opening statement, responses, and a closing statement. After the person speaks then the audience can respond to be respectful. I decided to join seeing that I had a grasp on certain political topics and I have always wanted to discuss the issues that affect everybody’s lives. As the topic was put on the front of the college school board I was immediately conflicted about it. The reason why was because the person I was debating was a Trump supporter named Frank Jones who is a white 20 year old man who wears farming overalls, a white shirt, jeans and a make America great again hat with the debate moderator Megan Williams who was a 25 year old who wears a Tuxedo suit and tie with black pants to make her look formal. However the question was interesting which was “How authority anger and society affect your life and political views?” Given that I was a moderate and this Trump supporter was mostly conservative I hesitated at first but my political ambition gave me a nudge forward towards debating the guy to see how the debate would play out. The debate would play out in an auditorium lined up with 100 gray chairs, air conditioning, and a circular area on the inside since the auditorium on the outside looks like a small circular stadium. As I walked around it was a packed room filled with a diverse crowd of both liberal and conservative students. Some of the liberal members were feminists, LGBT people, African Americans and young people from all races which is the usual demographic I have seen on the news. For the conservative members of the audience there were young white libertarians, older men, and some white women. I knew a few of these people but I wanted to focus on the debate and not pick a side. As I stepped on the podium with Frank Jones on the opposite end and Megan Williams in the middle being the moderator she presented herself and the candidates and offered me my opening statement with Frank Jones going second. My debate strategy is not to engage him directly but to solve the questions as best as I can. I then cleared my throat and spoke.
                “As I sat in my bedroom contemplating the existence of my economic situation I began questioning the idea of authority as a whole. The idea of humans becoming nationalistic and blindly obedient to any kind of authority because the people in power claim to be smart and have all the wisdom and power to justify their giftedness but is based on a flawed concept of knowing everything. Recently I was watching a video where one person on YouTube claims that he or she has heightened wisdom on a complicated and difficult subject to understand and they target a specific group or person as the “enemy”. This thought process is counterproductive to reason and logic because distorting truth and reason is about asking questions not finding enemies. Yet that Youtuber drones on what they think is best for an ideology without doing any intellectual research such as reading the entire source, checking to see if the source is not biased, making distinctions between sources etc. Despite all these flaws, the person is popular because the discord is so angry and biased to a point where the enemy is anybody that disagrees with your idea on what a country should be like. So from what I have experienced in my life why does the anger exist from authority and society that prevents us from being rational and looking with each other in the face without being disrespectful and starting a war of words?” Both liberal and conservative members in the audience were confused on why I made a question as the end of my opening statement but I will save that answer for late.  I left that as my opening statement and Frank Jones made his own opening statement by addressing his young life.
                “Growing up on a farm my father taught me that authority is absolute and should not be questioned because he taught me responsibility. Authority gives people a sense of direction in our lives, so questioning it, is disrespectful to the country. For example my father taught me how to raise animals on the farm like milking cows, riding horses, feeding chickens, and preparing meat when the animals become too old to live. Authority has the ability to have more experience and understanding of what life is based on how to practically apply certain circumstances to situations such as understanding economic growth based on trade, understanding that certain people are inefficient to growth, society must be kept in service of the people who worked hard and not lazy individuals etc. A reason why authority is popular is the insignificance of us as people and we do not know who we are most of the time because honestly I do not care about establishing myself as a person but being treated as a worker who works hard for the way things are. Authority should be respected because they are legitimate titles that ought to be respected and not disrespected because you do not succeed by not following them. The question is why should I question authority if I am just a citizen in the first place? The anger is caused not by me but the ones who question the way things are because they are rejecting the wisdom that guided people for all of history.” Personally I was conflicted about his response because while authority should be respected in some areas I was angry at the idea that he calls all humans’ insignificant beings who cannot achieve anything other than being practical. As predictable as ever the liberal members stayed silent while the conservative members clapped and applauded. Megan Williams then asked me the question about whether anger influences ones political views? I directly shared my past experiences in my neighborhood and my understanding of American history both past and present.
“One day I went outside, to see if I could give a sense of kindness to others that does appear day to day in my life over nonpolitical issues. Examples include people smiling and saying hello when riding my scooter or me trying to assist a person who may be struggling with their items in a car. You know ideas of basic humanity ideas that pervade social etiquette but when addressing political issues if you promote empathy on a political level, your opponent accuses you of Marxism. To what point can the application of basic human decency be compared to a failed experiment where authoritarian leaders controlled the workers basic human rights and resulted of millions of innocent deaths through starvation, execution and paranoia. Throughout America’s history do people view nonviolent civil rights protest, recognizing flaws within American society and having a different point of view or loving a different person as an assault on America’s freedoms? Just because you disagree with someone should not justify hatred on any level. So many people today want to hurt others when getting involved in politics and consider politics as a game and if one gets hurt or even killed because of it the reaction is “It is the other guys fault.” instead of looking at the person who struck the first blow.” The conservative women in the audience understood my goodwill towards people and clapped because of that while the liberals did the same. However the old men and libertarians just sat in their chairs with vacant expressions on their faces. I continued the argument by stating the reason why this anger may exist is the hyper promotion of competition or competitive values in our society.
“When I went back home and sat on the couch to watch the news, it is strange how mindlessly entertaining the news is, but also based on how competitive it is. Every day goes by without me listening to a heated argument between two people who share fundamentally different political values, and all sense of formal debate descends into a rhetorical mash pit. Upon reflection I recognize that this anger and competition does not just come from politics, but from the information that people project onto society as a whole.   Information through the internet and TV has heightened ourselves to be better through competition. Whether it be a movie making more money than its rivals, to the anger that follows from the public on how such a bad movie can make a ton of money by only talking about the problems but not addressing the solutions of the movie to make it better or sports anchors fiercely debating whether or not a tackle would end the game. Also I have experienced heated arguments on YouTube for the sake of attention and fame between two people or an individual having a controversial opinion just to create a circle jerk of fans who would defend that individual tooth and nail instead of having a discussion or debate about the topic. All of this is connected towards our desire to compete and anger with it is an effective emotion towards us starting an argument to shake things up but in an unproductive way.” The conservative members in the audience were confused as if to say “What is so wrong with being competitive?” and the liberal members in the audience especially the LGBT and African Americans nodded their heads in approval through being self-aware about the lack of empathy they receive from conservative members on social media.  Frank Jones shook his head indignantly, built up his anger and tried to get the conservative members on his side gave his own perspective on the issue of anger.
“Anger as an emotion is an effective way to get things done which is why we should value competition. By trying to pick apart problems that are nonexistent such as civil rights and liberal points of view have created dependencies that limit an individual’s potential. After my father passes away I will take his job as the head of the farm and to manage it requires practical strength and competition against other local farms which can be applied to America’s political issues. America needs raw strength through a leaders’ gut because it is in the nation’s interest that our nationalism and patriotism does not waver in the face of opposition. Anger gives Americans passion and accomplishments through raw grit and strength, such as the manifest destiny that created more states and more innovative inventions that created more security. By making my accusations that the other side is weak is based on the fact that they have ideas that avoid economic entrepreneurship in favor of dependent governments, they avoid winning elections, and all around avoid wanting to produce results that can happen quickly enough based on my demands as well as many other Americans. Our passion is based on our belief that we are right, and that outweighs whether we are right or not because it does not produce results fast enough to fix the situation. Instead of bashing anger as a negative emotion, we should embrace it as a way to get what we deserve and take the spoils of our success.” For me I thought what he said was obviously misleading and anti-intellectual in nature but it has worked in his favor. The libertarians and old men in the conservative audience approved of the rhetoric my opponent was saying by nodding their heads but the women viewed his anger in disgust and so did the liberals. Megan Williams despite how saddened she may felt about Frank Jones position had to move on to the idea about whether or not anger should dominate the discourse. As I thought about Frank Jones response I empathically tried to relate to his position.
 “I remember how angry I was at issues that affected other people negatively. I still see how the issues are worth fighting for, but in reality I had very few arguments to make on what I needed to do to help others. In my spare time, I go online and sign petitions or have principles that I am willing to defend. However upon reflection, I recognized that I am still a young adult and anger while good at addressing the problems, is not good at figuring out solutions, because anger in itself is a reactionary emotion that is based more on how you feel rather than giving specifics for improvement. Expressing how we feel is good when we show our ideas or perspectives of what our opinion is individually, but in order to debate and solve complex issues we need empathy and reason to ground those perspectives towards a discussion between two different viewpoints towards a compromise instead of an argument. For example I experienced relationships and dating through online articles and most of articles stated that the relationships were successful because they were able to express how they felt and managed to start a relationship by being honest with both partners. However in order to keep that relationship couples had to empathetically relate to each other by taking the relationship slowly and logically negotiate with each other when dealing with practical matters such as paying taxes to addressing both partners needs which is how I see how political issues should be handled.  Many people address this as political correctness as a way to not listen to liberal points of view, but that is an ignorant statement. Having empathy or using intellect to support the discussion has nothing to do with being liberal instead being human based on the capabilities of which we have.” The young liberal audience members shouted in approval of my position while the conservative women respected my opinion by giving a side thumbs up while the conservative old men and libertarians just gritted their teeth in frustration. Frank Jones then stated his perspective on what he prefers to use in order to solve problems.
“I would prefer anger because I am free to do so, and Americans like myself believe the idea of freedom is about the ability to express how we feel. Based on the idea of solving complex issues, using intellect is inefficient and not easy to do. By using easy solutions like deportations of illegal individuals it would reduce poverty in our country drastically, and using our resources like coal and oil at home would drastically increase jobs instead of experimenting with solar panels. Having power to control our own competition proves how inefficient empathy is because it is not productive to producing results such as a government program that saddles me with debt and threatens my middle class lifestyle. Conceptually the reason why I do not use empathy and intellect is based on the fact that I do not need it to complete my life, and my practical success speaks for itself. For example when I was leading my livestock over mountains overlooking the ocean so they could eat gave me a sense of accomplishment for practically achieving the goal gave me a sense of individual freedom that liberated my body. I did not need a government truck or plane that could help me get up that mountain because I did it myself. While yes, we are capable of both, it is not ideal to get the kind of progress we need in a capitalistic society nor for discussing ideas with other people because who cares about what other people think or feel.” In the libertarian crowd they clapped enthusiastically and shouted Liberty as their slogan while the Liberal members in the audience just shook their heads in disapproval. I respected Frank Jones position but I could tell that his arguments were not factual at all. Megan Williams then asks the question whether anger goes too far or if it has consequences from both the liberal and conservative perspective. I then realized that my individual experience ironically happened after my first experience so I decided to use that argument.
“As I turned off the TV and went into my room I started looking at information from different political views. When I was looking online I found an interesting individual argument from a YouTube video that caught my eye. It was the idea that his pro feminist side had differences in opinion and some of them were ugly; for example, some feminists were racist or transphobic highlighting the fact that people even with beliefs in equality for women can still have close minded ideas. Consequently, from the liberal perspective it is not just the idea that they have “bad apples” in one of their movements but it also shatters the simplistic nature that conservative commentators describe feminists as being people who accuse white men of being racist and sexist and that they all agree with each other. On its foundations of equality for all, liberals think that humans are rational beings. As a consequence, they do not recognize that some people are not rational at all and have heightened anger induced opinions, which both sides can have, but from different perspectives. When anger dominates the liberal discourse they can end up pushing for a massive government program or a utopian change in our economic system that is either too expensive or impractical to achieve just for the sake of helping others. This may cause either too much debt or bankruptcy. This would have to force liberals to be conciliatory and compromising in the United States because too many Americans oppose taxation based on the historical ideas of the American Revolution and economic limitations from capitalism which are not as accepting of these policies”. For my personal views on liberalism I feel sympathetic to the liberal ideas of equality, justice, and fairness but I decided to become moderate when I understood that there are flaws within liberalism itself when it comes to the execution of those ideas. While I got that thought out of the way when I paused after giving a critique of the liberal side I moved on to the conservative critique.
“However once anger dominates the conservative discourse it can lead to blatantly racist and narrow minded solutions that are counterproductive to American ideas that all men are created equal such as a white ethno state, tax cuts for wealthy individuals who do not use the money to create jobs, mass deportations for both legal and illegal immigrants, religious interference in our state causing a lack of toleration of homosexuals, lack of gun control causing mass shootings, constant spending on weaponry for police instead of training programs for police, etc. From these extremes I understood the dominating forces of anger that drive peoples’ wants from the political perspectives. For liberals the anger for the desire to help others would result in over idealistic solutions that avoid the practical application of those ideas while for conservatives the anger leads to the fear of anything that is new or different resulting in racism, bigotry and intolerance for the other. This means that on a purely political perspective both sides can see simple solutions but from emotional states that results in completely different solutions.” While the conservative members in the audience did not like my criticism of their side as much as the liberal side both sides clapped for recognizing their concerns. Immediately Frank Jones identified his political beliefs in order to react to my statement.
“First off conservative ideas have little flaws based on the ideas of the free market and individual liberty. Corporations take their interest in profit to increase the nation’s wealth based on the idea that success would naturally put more investment in their company’s money to the workers. As I stated previously competition allows the ability to produce a better product than before that appeals to everybody. Look at the movie industry where such competition creates American movies that can make 1 billion dollars a time. If that doesn’t mean massive growth and success to the nation then I do not know what is. For me I experienced economic growth through locally selling my pig fat, bacon, cheese, chicken, cow meat, or honey. In order to outcompete against the nearby farm I had to ask other people about what they liked when eating food and I had to practically prepare the food to meet their demands such as adding more fat to the bacon so it sells better, selling more chicken breasts instead of legs, sell more cheddar than Swiss cheese, and sell more sirloin instead of brisket. As for guns I recognize the tragedy but that is America as the way it is. The price of freedom is the mass shootings and our second amendment guarantees the ability to own firearms which is one of the reasons the manifest destiny was successful in claiming our territory with guns. When it comes to liberalism and feminism, that movement got corrupted with misandry to a point where it is not worthy of a discussion and worthy to say that it is not credible as a movement anymore because those rights were already achieved. Liberalism suffers from indecision about what to do with life as a concept, and it is feeble because it tries to justify an existence that should happen without meaning and purpose on a practical level. This is my main critique of liberalism.” For the conservative members in the audience they applauded his defense of competition but the libertarian wing were pumping their fists in the air with the most enthusiasm while the liberals stayed silent but the feminists got up and booed Frank Jones. It became clear that the noise was getting distracting that Megan Williams shouted in her microphone to calm the audience down. After Megan Williams calmed the audience down she took a deep breath and asked how a position of authority works into this type of behavior and why is it so popular. With the debate auditorium going silent and recognizing that the debate is on the line to help give the audience some knowledge I removed all nervousness from my body and responded “I am glad you asked. I confidently said with a smug face”.
“As I continued to search online I came across another video discussing the Dunning Kruger effect which discussed how the skills and abilities of a person is lower on the subject matter than what they are discussing but they are confident enough to think they know everything. It is where I made a discovery that political ideologies have used this today based on what our culture values are. People who value competition especially in the United States value confidence, and if you think you know what you are talking about people will agree regardless if the person is right or not. This is not exclusive to the right wing because any political ideology in its most extreme form would use it to gain political points from an audience who agrees with them already. It is also an attitude that plays on the satisfactions of feeling dominant, and that your position was the right one instead of engaging with another viewpoint, which as a result causes the discussion of one side to not be about issues but about how much you can fling accusations, whether true or not onto your opponent. On YouTube I have experienced this multiple times with virtue signaling of ‘SJW’, ‘Marxist’, ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘fake news’, ‘cuck’ etc. All of these phrases shut down debates like accusing someone as being 100% Adolf Hitler. The amount of close minded stupidity from these accusations sometimes make me angry to a point where I wonder why politics in the United States is becoming something that is not for the benefit of the country, but for the interests of mental nutcases who cannot control themselves. What made politics so interesting for me in the first place was the idea to serve, help your country, and find leaders who would set a good example and not be an authority figure whose sole purpose is to pledge loyalty for only their point of view or side. Leaders who may not agree with their own point of view at times but recognize what needs to be done for the benefit of the country as a necessity would see political compromise as a sign of strength and not weakness.” These arguments raises to the second part of the question on what authority figures do once they get approval or popularity despite moral and logical flaws in their arguments?
“For authority the center piece of what makes them appreciated is the delusion that they are doing a great service to their community/country, or that they are just selfish individuals who do not care about the consequences of saying ignorant things. There is no problem with authority figures practically applying things but there is a problem when authority figures who often lack moral or logical reasoning in their mindset have arguments that are either based on the insecure feeling of being wanted or accepted for what they do without taking into consideration that a part of growing up as a person should require intellectual and moral growth. By gaining people who say yes or ok all the time authority figures end up being intellectually and morally lazy because they do not challenge themselves to be better people but instead stick to the same mindset they had before. When I searched what was going on in the news I could find one example of that happening. An example includes a group setting where a health care executive decides to charge drug medication for hundreds of dollars per medication and the workers willfully agree to it despite the moral implications of the patients not receiving the meds because it is too expensive. It is also intellectually lazy because they would not make a profit at all because most people would avoid buying it. It is understandable that the health executive is out to make a profit, which is to them a great service to their company, but it is not a moral and smart decision.  For selfish individuals who do not care, the only thing that is important to them is that they have their insecure biases reaffirmed by people so that they can bully anybody they disagree with. On Youtube I have experienced people who deliberately bully people just for their political preferences and weight. An example includes a bully who makes video after video calling people the insults that I just mentioned previously because she is a fat feminist and many people are okay with that behavior. The main reason why authority is popular is out of fear for their angry reaction of not agreeing with their opinion about how a situation should be handled, and employees get fired like my dad’s job where workers are in a constant state of fear for mentioning the many flaws in the workplace. Another way authority figures get popular is through bystander effect which I learned in psychology class where if the group does not help the person everybody decides not to intervene to stop the bully and worse promote that kind of behavior the bully uses. All of this leads to a behavior regardless of politics is just rude and fundamentally wrong because if we want to be authority figures we should all inspire ourselves to do better.” Libertarian members in the audience just shrugged their shoulders in disagreement, and the old men understood my position from living in the baby boom era and having to not question authority clapped for my position because I understood their problems on a psychological level. The women, and the liberals also agreed with my position and cheered because I understood what they have experienced when it came to mean spirited behavior. Frank Jones immediately understood my position and the many holes in his argument that he could not respond so he decided not to respond and left the closing argument entirely to me basically accepting defeat. Megan Williams then gave me the closing statement on the question on what to do about our dysfunction and avoid being dominated by authority figures who promote ignorant biases or behaviors?
“After reflecting on this issue I came to the conclusion that formal and rational debates, even if the audience is still hyper partisan, can have a very positive effect for the people who are new to politics, sports or any topic. Any individual who is not driven by competition or has no opinion but on listens to others’ points of view can create a sense of understanding on why people think the way they do without the mindless accusations leveled against the opposing viewpoint or having both sides of authority questioning each other’s positions. This in turn can create a critical decision making process on whether or not to support one side more but not to a point of extremism. On top of that the person can still be fascinated by the way people think and decide to pick no side at all. Authority, regardless of perspective, is not the “end all be all “approach to making a country great again but the rational productivity of our citizens who have biases to understand our positions and making compromises with the other side of any discussion. So if you were to ask me how to solve our dysfunction, I would say get younger individuals into debates and have them watch the debates between different points of view, who take the issues and not their rhetoric seriously. Keep finding those debates even if you sometimes find ones that are not formal and rational at all, because this country needs informed leaders who can solve complex issues and not people who rant just because they do not like the other side.” With the debate concluding both me and Frank Jones shook hands formally ending the debate and Megan Williams saying “I thank you all for participating”. As soon as the debate closed out everybody stood up and cheered for the debate and how engaging it was and on how their opinions were validated. However as soon as people walked out of the auditorium most of the liberals and even some of the conservative members discussed how knowledgeable I was about both sides and how self-aware I was about the political climate. At least some of them have been planted a seed of knowledge where they can understand how to use the mind in a productive way even if they had fundamental disagreements with some of my positions. When I got back to my car Frank Jones came up to me as if he wanted to talk.

I told him why are you following me and he said “I wanted to thank you for giving me a new perspective on dealing with authority and I want to ask you about something”. “Oh so what can I help you with” I responded with a half-smile. Frank Jones explained to me that he is looking for a way to use knowledge when he becomes an authority figure later in life if he has a wife and kids without giving up his beliefs. In a simple but understandable fashion I replied by saying “The key to gaining knowledge as a person of authority is to understand something that you may disagree with but hold on to the things that you enjoy on a personal level. The reason why is if you are interested in being respectful then you can tolerate different points of view while still holding onto the individual aspects that make your life enjoyable. This will give everybody freedom and not just yourself”. Feeling inspired Frank Jones thanked me with that comment and said that he will try but it is going to take a while since his past beliefs have been passed down since childhood which makes it difficult to make any change in perspectives. “Go at your own pace and see if you can set your mind free” I said as he was walking away from me. I then got into my car and drove to the nearest bar to get a drink after such a long debate.


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