Who you calling shouty?

This morning the Cat got mentioned in despatches – well, actually the Australian. Former editor in chief Chris Mitchell was writing about the social media pile on, good journalism, free speech, and academic freedom.  He raised the issue of Clive Hamilton and Chinese investment into Australia.

The right-wing Catallaxy Files blog has criticised such concerns as conspiracy theories, proving the shouty culture of social media is not limited to the left. ­Indeed, media consumers often seem to want no more than confirmation bias from their news sources.

Well, yes. I am underwhelmed by arguments that I should sacrifice freedoms and money because I am about to be murdered in my bed and/or overrun by communists.  In my youth the propaganda was so much better – try phrases like “total onslaught” or even better “the total psychological onslaught”. Nowadays the commies want to buy housing stock, invest in local businesses, and grow the economy. Mind you, not the homegrown commies, just those ones from China.

The more important point, however, is that Chris Mitchell is quite wrong to conflate the shoutyness of the Cat with left-wing social media. We shout at each other more than we shout at the outside world. As I wrote at Quadrant a few years ago:

Blogging is very much an intellectual adventure. If the conversation is Oakeshottian, the adventure is Hayekian. Friedrich von Hayek has gained a certain notoriety in Australia – being Kevin Rudd’s neo-liberal whipping boy. Hayek suggests that knowledge is not concentrated or integrated but rather exists ‘as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all individuals possess’. Prices and markets serve to coordinate those bits of dispersed knowledge in our economic lives, but it is conversation that ‘distinguishes the human being from the animal and the civilised man from the barbarian’ (Oakeshott). 

Some readers might baulk at my lofty descriptions of blogging vis-à-vis the rudeness, sarcasm and indecency that they may observe in the blogosphere. Indeed Catallaxyfiles where I blog is often singled out as being particularly nasty. Many of those making that claim, however, are social democrats who are simply not used to being challenged by articulate, educated and intelligent individuals. They live in world where disagreement with their ideals can only be due to corruption or stupidity. 

To be fair, that isn’t the entire explanation. Blogging may be a conversation but it is not genteel. It is robust; it is frank. Just as markets can be a bazaar so a conversation can be a cacophony. It is well documented that individuals can be more aggressive online than in real life; but, on the flip side, they can also be more considered, more eloquent – and, with the ability to link to other sites on the web, they can back up their arguments with evidence. 

So to reject the legitimacy of conversation on the basis of tone is to place form above substance. 

That aside, let me recommend Chris Mitchell’s articles to you – he has a Monday column in The Australian – which remains one of the best newspapers in the world so get a subscription if you don’t already have one (it comes bundled with a subscription to the Wall Street Journal).

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41 Responses to Who you calling shouty?

  1. Rebel with cause

    Is there any difference between social media and traditional media? Facebook is all ads now and twatter is scummy lefties talking among themselves.

  2. Roger

    Nowadays the commies want to buy housing stock, invest in local businesses, and grow the economy. Mind you, not the homegrown commies, just those ones from China.

    Yes, but only after you have first pledged your soul to the party.

  3. Boris

    Robust debate ? Sorry as far as comments are concerned it is 90 per cent abuse and insults and 10% substantive debate (robust or otherwise).

    There are sometimes interesting and insightful thoughts but the signal to (pure) noise ratio is very low.

  4. JohnA

    Old School Conservative #2640552, posted on February 19, 2018, at 10:20 am

    All publicity is good publicity.

    Just make sure they spell the name correctly, which these days should become “make sure they get the link right”.

  5. Tom

    The Australian … remains one of the best newspapers in the world.

    Wrong adjective: the Paywallian is Australia’s least worst newspaper and less worse than 90% of the world’s newspapers that no longer abide by their code of ethics, which was designed to protect them from themselves, because most journalists, who are lefties, have decided that campaigning for the causes they are determined to foist on the world is more important than the public interest.

    Sorry as far as comments are concerned it is 90 per cent abuse and insults and 10% substantive debate …

    An excellent insight into your lefty hive mind, Boris.

    JC once described the Cat as a “gentlemen’s fight club”. If you’re going to bring infantile, collectivist leftist ideology to Australia’s only large-scale non-leftist blog, of course you’re going to get a fight, Boris. The Cat is not for cry-babies.

  6. Sinclair Davidson

    … the signal to (pure) noise ratio is very low.

    … and this is uniquely different from other forms of human communication?

  7. struth

    Robust debate ? Sorry as far as comments are concerned it is 90 per cent abuse and insults and 10% substantive debate (robust or otherwise).

    There are sometimes interesting and insightful thoughts but the signal to (pure) noise ratio is very low.

    GET FUCKED.

    (it’s a joke)

    If Chwissy doesn’t like shouty on the internet, turn the sound down.

    I’ve always found it quite sad to think that people can’t work out when it’s real world and when it’s words written on a screen.

    The Chinese investment we at the Cat find appalling, is the investment in our corrupt politicians.
    Their investment in corrupting and closing our industries and farms to import their shit, [rest of sentence edited. Sinc]
    Not buying a home in Australia and renting it out.
    Let them suffer the bubble’s burst when it happens as well.
    Not enough homes to invest in? Well, build one.
    It should be that easy, therefore the market value would be less attractive to the Chinese anyway.
    The Bubble’s big bang won’t be caused by them, but by our own government regulation on Land release, costs of production and massive invasion of breeding sand monkeys as dictated by the global socialist U.N. when there is no work to be had (see above) and who don’t come here to work , anyway.

    This was all said in whispered tones.

  8. Boris

    … and this is uniquely different from other forms of human communication?

    Not uniquely but in blogs it is much lower than in print media. But because of the volume and CAT’s near-complete freedom , the chances of truly insightful comments are probably higher. If you can filter it. Despite the ratio.

  9. manalive

    The Australian – which remains one of the best newspapers in the world …

    I buy the paper edition occasionally it’s generally worth the three dollars, the online edition often looks like New Idea.

  10. feelthebern

    No one has every raised their voice at the Cat.
    No one has ever lied at the Cat.
    It’s a blog that resembles a 19th century London gentlemens club.

  11. Boris

    JC once described the Cat as a “gentlemen’s fight club”. If you’re going to bring infantile, collectivist leftist ideology to Australia’s only large-scale non-leftist blog, of course you’re going to get a fight, Boris. The Cat is not for cry-babies.

    I don’t mind abuse and obscenity, but they are clearly indications of the lack of rational arguments. Basically when someone uses abuse instead of logic, it shows they do not have any logical arguments. It’s noise. Noise I do mind. Robust debate? Give me a break.

    And while we are here, I have never seen even once any insults or abuse from intelligent people like sinc for example. I wonder why is that ?

    But you see I am still here.

  12. struth

    I don’t mind abuse and obscenity, but they are clearly indications of the lack of rational arguments.

    Look above, dickwad, and you’ll see your pompous analysis for the wankery it is.

    They need not be mutually exclusive.
    And with the behaviour of the left, we find your hypocrisy here, disgraceful.

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    ­Indeed, media consumers often seem to want no more than confirmation bias from their news sources.

    I think Chris is conflating the tribal belief issue which is so prevalent in the left with the healthy scepticism of the right. The lefty MSM is full of stuff which is very easy to refute with data, logic and argument. For example climate propaganda – whenever the establishment wheels out a Chicken Little climate type in a debate they lose to an independent righty with no resources except actual data and analysis. I can’t remember a single debate where the lefty won. So much so that lefties now flee rather than debate righties on the subject. Yet lefties tribally believe this stuff, and if any of them break ranks by even the slightest amount they get anathemized.

    The great social phenomenon of our time is the coalescence of lefty dogmas into a full-on religion. That has been apparent in the last 10 to 15 years. You can even measure it:

    America’s Extreme Social Fragmentation Exposed In 3 Simple Charts

    You can see from the three graphs the Left has been rapidly moving further left. At first the right followed, so in the second graph the median right position lines up with the median left position of ten years before. But now with the Left going into Bernie Sanders Jeremy Corbyn territory the Right has started to split into a diminishing residual progressive Turnbullesque rump and a true conservative majority.

    My view is that through the independence of blogs, like Catallaxy, those who have ears get a chance to hear past the resounding echoes coming from the MSM. They then look at the merits of each argument and find their way to the conservative right through an understanding of the merits of each social, economic and scientific argument – none of which get explored in the MSM anymore (with the partial exception of The Australian).

  14. Rebel with cause

    If you can filter it

    Most of us can. Those that can’t are idiots.

  15. Warty

    Any serious investigation tends to reveal the level of debate, both on the Left and the Right, but particularly the Left. Just put aside blogging for the moment and check out interviews and live debate, and the ‘winning’ technique is to talk over the top of an opponent, and both sides do this.
    Peter Hitchen’s technique, for instance is to use his decades of journalistic experience as a foundation, followed by an ability to ‘switch off his listening’, and to then to put across his arguments regardless of vigorous interruptions. Fair enough. Hard to beat.
    Others, like NBC’s Megan Kelly (on the Left), will simply turn up the volume and tempo and obliterate anyone attempting to get a word in edgewise. Technique-wise there is a difference: Kelly uses the ‘screech’ form of offensive, and she is indeed offensive.
    Malcolm Turnbull will simply send you to sleep.
    Chris Mitchell is very much an establishment figure, not unlike his friend and The Australian colleague Paul Kelly. Both have years of experience. Neither pay any heed to the response of those who read their columns (unlike the wonderful Jennifer Oriel, or Janet Albrechtsen, for instance) and hold the sort of centrist line, ‘sort of’ because there is enormous disdain there for the unwashed masses who tend to hold anti establishment positions.
    As they say, ‘it’s all good’ bar the fact society is becoming increasingly more divided, and moving inexorably towards the progressive side of things.

  16. C.L.

    China is the enemy. We didn’t let Hermann Göring buy properties on Sydney Harbour during WWII.

  17. Rebel with cause

    There’s a five letter word beginning with T that renders lefties utterly incapable of a single sensible thought.

  18. struth

    China is the enemy. We didn’t let Hermann Göring buy properties on Sydney Harbour during WWII.

    I agree C.L.

    The point I make is we shouldn’t be dealing with them at all, until they become a democracy.
    No one should.
    It would solve a lot of the worlds problems.
    But our Housing market is a ticking time bomb, and would be without the Chinese buying into it, and it wasn’t in world war 2.
    They shouldn’t be allowed to invest anywhere in this country in my opinion, as they are like mussies, totally unnecessary for us to be successful and more a drag downward.
    But our own commos have stuffed the housing scene and I thinks it’s only fair we do to the Chinese what we did to the Japs in the nineties.
    Let them in on it.
    There are more than just one way to fight a war.
    Let them taste Australian failure.

  19. Tezza

    Nice (re) post. But “who you calling shouty?” should be in caps.

  20. manalive

    China is the enemy. We didn’t let Hermann Göring buy properties on Sydney Harbour during WWII …

    Crikey I missed it, when was war declared?

  21. woolfe

    I commented on the article, lets see if it gets published.

  22. egg_

    Is there shoutyness re-education training at Camp Tolerance?
    Or just “medication” (blue pills)?

  23. egg_

    I don’t mind abuse and obscenity, but they are clearly indications of the lack of rational arguments. Basically when someone uses abuse instead of logic, it shows they do not have any logical arguments.

    Deliberately trolling a blog is abuse.
    The house rules on trolling are at the top of the blog.
    Trying to shift the goalposts, Comrade?

  24. egg_

    the ‘winning’ technique is to talk over the top of an opponent

    If that doesn’t work, the female cry bullies turn on the water works and claim victimhood, hence Peterson’s style is the way forward, unless you wish to appear chivalrous and lose – Abbott’s losing appeasement strategy once in power.

  25. egg_

    Peter Hitchen’s technique, for instance is to use his decades of journalistic experience as a foundation, followed by an ability to ‘switch off his listening’, and to then to put across his arguments regardless of vigorous interruptions.

    Nailed it.
    If you’ve done your homework, you know their talking points and just focus on your own delivery with distraction.

  26. egg_

    distraction

    The aim of the troll.

  27. Boris

    Ok I am just saying Cat is actually shorty. Very accurate description. I am not saying it is good or bad. Some clearly love it. But it is. No question about it.

  28. mh

    …The Australian – which remains one of the best newspapers in the world

    No. The Australian is a globalist newspaper, which follows globalist doctrine. Every one of it’s foreign affairs journalists have drunk the globalist Kool-Aid.

  29. egg_

    The MSM daily talking points being fed by TheirABC and rabbited by the lazy j’ismist at Nein et al, and a Leftoid wonders why Right Wing blogs may get a little shouty on occasion?
    Who openly challenges CAGW in the MSM, given “hide the decline” et al ClimateGate?
    Crickets?

  30. struth

    Which newspaper is the softest on your freckle?

    They’re all useless and will be gone within 10 years if not sooner.
    They have hastened their own inevitable demise.

    People will say, remember when people thought they were getting news from a credible source because it was written on paper?!

    Remember when the ABC at least pretended to be journalists and people believed them?!!!!!!!!!

    While there is an ABC/SBS we don’t have a government serious about debt.

  31. H B Bear

    All publicity is good publicity.

    Tell that to Baaanaby.

  32. PoliticoNT

    Sinc – I read the Oz six days a week and this latest piece of middling waffle from Mitchell won’t change my habits. But on Mitchell I’d put him in the company of individuals like Arthur Sinodinos and Cameron Stewart; decent people with high profiles and good reputations.

    Though none of them can think or write to save themselves.

  33. overburdened

    Tthe neurocognitive element of actions that create the pathways of new learning should be considered when the issue of cognitive dissonance is raised.
    When I take a contract I deal with people who have never known life before google and mobile phones.
    Due to lack of reinforcement these ostensibly well qualified people have the memories of goldfish.
    I hear, ‘I’ll google it’ when I ask them a question they should know the answer to in the first place.
    Because the sometimes inaccurate and occasionally wrong data they tap up is simply obtained on demand there is no need for study or scholarship which leads to intellectual flexibility.
    Naturally in around a week’s time the same question is posed, they have to look it up again.

  34. Zatara

    Crikey I missed it, when was war declared?

    25 Nov 1950?

  35. cynical1

    Clive Hamilton was quite open to suspending democracy to prevent climate change.

    Same sort. Different cause.

  36. None

    The Cat isn’t shouty. Nowhere close. Half the petals who write here would die in the twittersphere. The other half are too grown up to bother. The Cat commenters are on the whole just wickedly funny. The Australian is a rag. Not worth a sub.

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