Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Which poster went wrong and where?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (27391points) May 7th, 2015

Here is the following transcript from a thread on another site. Some of the messages have been reposted in in a logical sense as it was a fast and furious exchange, but the statements are direct quotes. :

OP: (Photo of a young male holding a burning American flag with the attached message): “Burning the American flag doesn’t make you a protester IT MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE.

Person A: What if it is being burned because it is worn out?

OP: That’s a good point but that’s not what this guy is doing

Person A: (OP), I realize that. Until the US First Amendment specifies that national flag-burning is illegal, then it is what it is. Name-calling does nothing but knock the person doing it down the respectability level a notch or two. There are more important battles to fight right now in the US.

Person B: People burning out of malice our lack of respect, should be hung by an American flag!

OP: I agree! (Person B) for president

Person A: (Person B), That would be a violation of the American national flag code, not to mention a plethora of other issues.

OP: Simmer down now

I’m Person A. I honestly tried to keep the conversation objective, but obviously failed miserably. How could this have better been addressed?

Be honest based upon your experience. Would you have just let this go if a good friend was the OP? Possibly addressed it privately instead of publicly?

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12 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

Is there any background story behind this conversation or has the conversation told everything?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There is no background story behind the image posted of the young man holding a burning American flag. In fact, I can’t find the same image on an internet search.

There is little to nothing behind the conversation. Person B and I (Person A) do not know each other. The OP was a next-door neighbor since she was born. She is certified to be a lawyer and gave up this career path to become a medical doctor. I only offer this to prove that she is far more intelligent than I am, as well as more knowledgeable in US law.

dappled_leaves's avatar

“I honestly tried to keep the conversation objective, but obviously failed miserably.”

I don’t think this was in your power to do, and so I don’t think this was your failure at all.

“Would you have just let this go if a good friend was the OP? ”

Honestly, it’s inconceivable to me that a person who behaved this way (regarding both the original post and the reaction to your comments) would be my good friend. I would probably have as many comments as you did (because these are important points), but wouldn’t continue after that. There doesn’t seem to be anything constructive left to add.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@dappled_leaves Thank you for sharing your opinion. It is a topic that is important to me as well. The thread died with my last post. I would like to think that they have no logical response, but who knows.

The good friend (the OP) and I have a long history of growing up next door to each other where circumstances beyond our control intertwine. We have bonded over that. This is why it is so important to me to call her out when I feel that she is off-target and praise her when she deserves it from my perspective, which is more often than not.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

You were approaching the topic from a position of logic and they were both coming from an emotional stance and they were closed to any discussion that did not support their perspective that the person should be strung up from a flagpole. This appears to be one of those situations when ‘don’t argue on the internet’ is your best response.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit is right. You were more objective and thought about more possibilities. They only stuck to one assumption and were too agressive.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You both are right. In hindsight, I probably hoped that the friend would show some sense. She has a degree in law and even passed the bar. Then she ditched it and went back to school and is now a medical doctor.

janbb's avatar

You didn’t say anything to inflame the other two posters. They were ready to get hot about the topic and wanted to vent.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
—H.L. Mencken


“Burning the American flag doesn’t make you a protester IT MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE.”

False dilemma fallacy. One can be both a protester and an asshole.

Until the US First Amendment specifies that national flag-burning is illegal, then it is what it is.”

This is not something that would be specified by the First Amendment. What we would need is an entirely new amendment, and we’re unlikely to get it.

“People burning out of malice or lack of respect, should be hung by an American flag!”

Leaving aside the fact that there is no good case for making flag-burning a capital crime, notice the chilling effect this could have on free speech (one of those values that the flag is supposed to represent). Which flag-burners are doing it out of malice or lack of respect, and which are doing it out of despair and love of country?

“Simmer down now.”

One has to get to boiling point before one can simmer down, and nothing said so far comes close to that.

“I honestly tried to keep the conversation objective, but obviously failed miserably.”

It is not possible to keep a conversation objective. One can only keep one’s own contributions objective and encourage others to do the same. The rest is in the hands of your conversational partners. And I agree with the others that this was not a case where it was within your power to positively influence the rationality of your interlocutors.

“Be honest based upon your experience. Would you have just let this go if a good friend was the OP? Possibly addressed it privately instead of publicly?”

I’m not known for letting things go, and I tend to have the conversation in the place that it started (unless specifically asked to move it somewhere else). If a debate starts on Facebook, I’ll carry it out on Facebook. And if starts in private, I’ll carry it out in private. Since this started out as a public post, I would have had the conversation right there in public.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks all, and especially @SavoirFaire, for taking the time write the detailed and insightful response.

ragingloli's avatar

You should have told them that
“Burning a flag is a political statement and thus protected by freedom of speech.
Anyone who advocates banning flag burning or punishing its practitioners in any way is an enemy of freedom. Why do you hate freedom?

ucme's avatar

I’d have flagged that shit…ahahahahahaha…hahahaha…ahahaha <hiccup>

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