As I am reading many of the responses on the Patch to bloggers, I have seen a pattern that is somewhat disturbing. In an age of communicating and sparring between conservatives and liberals, we see the use of dirty accusational words, dismissive statements and many other unjustified claims.
For example, the claim that we shouldn't listen to those radical liberals in Madison is a claim that they are simply not worth listening to because they are radical. Their radicalism isn't really proven through some sort of justification. It's a fallacy called loaded words, which is a form of unjustified criticism.
Let's say a conservative is talking about a liberal minority group that has made discriminatory slurs against white people. The conservative makes no racist comments but keeps their conservative view. Some people will turn around and say to the conservative that the comments they are making are nothing more than racist and stupid. This fallacy is known as ad hominem (against the person). It "consists in rejecting a claim or an argument by offering as grounds some personal characteristic of the person supporting it." (Munson and Black)
My question is how to address such issues on the Patch and whether or not we should point them out in order to shut these people down. I understand that hate speech is allowed under the first amendment to certain conditions that are defined by the government; however, as a social people, perhaps we should monitor ourselves a little more in order to reduce the need to use up the government's money, because of our ignorance. Or is it the case that we should allow the government to stop us and allow us to push the limits of hate speech so that we can focus on other issues more important to our personal interests.
I'm curious to hear what you all have to say.