Political neophytes Dave Winer and Robert Scoble have been once again inflicting their beliefs upon the public. This is not particularly new stuff from them. Ever since the primary campaigns, Dave and Robert have been showing the world why they should stick to pontificating on technology rather than politics.
Dave Winer’s post was entitled “I Am Not a Liberal
,” and revolved around the mistaken concept that ‘Obama is a conservative, and so is Dave.’ Robert Scoble, never one to pass up an opportunity to alienate anyone with an ounce of conservatism, takes the “concept a step further” and proudly declares that he is “Not an American
Judging by the responses in their comment section, both Dave and Robert have already alienated everyone from his audience who could have a different opinion than him.
If you read both of the blog posts and don’t understand what’s wrong with what they said, then this post isn’t for you. Go read a couple of books on political ideology, maybe a history book or two, and come back and perhaps we can talk.
For the rest of you that barely made it through Dave’s post and then halfway through Robert’s post and were either laughing or crying from stream of pseudo-facts and straight up ignorant beliefs and statements, you know what I mean.
Need more insight as to what I mean? Robert’s post is sentence fragment after sentence fragment, each followed by the refrain “I am not an American.” Most of what he says are straw men arguements. No one has alleged that marrying a Muslim woman doesn’t make you American.
I mean seriously: Robert doesn’t understand the difference between Fascism and Socialism, despite the fact that he drops his holocaust credentials every chance he gets (for those of you playing the game at home, President Bush’s nationalized banking is a positive move for Fascism, Senator Obama’s plan for socialised medicine and socialized insurance is a positive move for Socialism).
On the spectrum of human political ideals, socialism is a left ideology. That isn’t some sort of uninformed, uneducated opinion… that’s a simple fact. I didn’t make it up, and you can find a number of scholars and informed opinions that agree with me.
So when Dave Winer tries to tell me that because I consider his plans for socialized medicine “liberal,” I must be ignorant, I have to wonder what planet he’s hailing from. I furthermore resent the implication that I need to change my opinion of Obama, get on board for the big win and vote for him, or I’m somehow not playing on the side of “Team America.”
Rob Diana wrote an excellent article for Mashable a couple weeks ago, and it was entitled: “Are Politics Damaging Your Brand?
” I didn’t chime in on it because I very obviously participate in political discussions, but I can’t deny the effect that political opinions have on my regard of social media pundits.
I think that, two weeks of pondering, I’ve finally arrived at an opinion, and if you think about it, I’m sure you’ll agree:
Political opinions don’t necessarily damage your brand. Everything you say on a big enough stage will attract passionate detractors. When you very obviously will have problems passing Economic 101 and Intro to American Political Opinion, then you proceed to opine to thousands of Americans on politics and the economy, you very rightly deserve to have your brand damaged.
Robert Scoble and Dave Winer have been venturing forth into political punditry for a while now (Dave much longer than Robert). I almost never agree with either one of them, but as they’ve spent more time illustrating the nature and sources of their beliefs, it’s become glaringly obvious that they only have a very knee-jerk and superficial understanding of the principles they espouse. Thus, I don’t respect their opinions, and think a lot less of the rest of their opinion.
If they can’t be bothered to understand what they’re talking about when it comes to politics and the economy (and feel no remorse for propagating flawed opinions to the masses), why should I respect their opinions on the rest of their established domain of expertise?
What’s the lesson here?
If you can’t speak intelligently about something, and everything you write on your blog is read by thousands of people, it may be best to keep your opinions to yourself.
It isn’t because your opinions aren’t valid. Heck, even the numbnuts who were at that Sarah Palin rally a couple weeks ago who called for the death of Senator Obama had valid opinions (and this is America, where every opinion, no matter how stupid or offensive it may be, is valid).
You will, however, undermine your credibility if you speak on topics as if you were an expert when you very clearly aren’t.