It all started with some things I’ve learned about myself on Internet discussion boards and Facebook.
I love discussing topics that I’m passionate about. I do not like shouting matches and name calling over topics I’m passionate about.
I love to discuss these topics with people who have different opinions from mine. I do not like discussing them with closed-minded people who prefer to talk in the latest media sound bites and talking points than in reasoned positions. (And I do not even like discussing these things with argumentative people who agree with my conclusions.)
I love to be challenged in my lines of reasoning and clarity of expression. I do not like ad hominem attacks.
When my opponents follow sound reasoning, I am willing to concede when they make logical points…but this does not necessarily mean that I have come around to agreeing with their conclusions. And that means I believe the same thing about you. If you agree with one limited point that am making, I won’t try to extrapolate from that and push you into a corner.
And I have discovered that there are not very many places on the Internet where I can have discussions with people under these conditions. Time constraints are one issue for me. Because I’m pretty busy, like most of us, I don’t usually have time to type out well-rounded replies, so I tend to post short replies. What happens more often than not is that my short reply is misinterpreted because of background info the reader did not have, or because the reader would attribute a motive to me that was simply not true. I once posted something that was critical of some new government policy, and a reader accused me of being a bleeding-heart liberal. Wow.
Even if I do manage to have a reasonable, profitable conversation with one person, some well-intentioned but ill-mannered bull in a china shop inevitably butts in and derails the entire conversation.
I decided that I was simply going to have to have my own little corner of the Internet where I could attempt to control the chaos. So…welcome to The Grinning Dwarf Pub! I hope to provide a place where divergent viewpoints can be discussed civilly. Yes…I expect to talk about politics and religion! (I thought about naming the place Oil & Water!) Help me prove that we can talk about controversial topics with civility and grace. And since anybody who knows me also knows I can never be serious about anything for too long, expect a smorgasbord of topics…not just politics and religion. (Baseball season is right around the corner. And music/book/movie/TV show discussions are always on-topic here!)
The next two or three blog entries will be giving some background about me. This will be important later. Most of you who have been invited here know me from way back and there will be nothing new there. On the other hand, some of you who knew me 20 or 30 years ago might find something new in the way I see things now. Some of you who only know me from the Internet might benefit from this. And in the future, if others decide to join in, they can be directed back to them to see just where I am coming from.
I intend to keep these entries relatively short, maybe 500-600 words each. Some topics will be broken down into several posts to adequately cover.
I intend for reader’s comments to be an important part of The Pub. In fact, I would expect to ask some of you to contribute regular blog entries before long. More on that to follow.