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> What I've Learned and How My Views Have Changed
Jaime
post Jun 4 2006, 05:43 AM
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As part of the Year in Review, we like to have a place for you to reflect on the past year of ad.gif . What have you learned? Have your views on any issues changed? Have you become more or less politically involved?

Please share your thoughts.

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Victoria Silverw...
post Jun 4 2006, 09:34 AM
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I suppose I have learned that the struggle with Islamic extremism in Europe may be the most important issue of our times. I have not changed my mind on any particular issue. I suppose coming to ad.gif has made me a little more interested in public policy in general.
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Renger
post Jun 4 2006, 10:03 AM
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What I have learned ??? Did I learn anything? laugh.gif
One of the things I learned is to step away from any political discussion that revolves around Democrats v.s. Republicans ..... mudslinging, spin and character assasination are omnipresent in those discussions, making it really hard for an outsider like me to participate or to form an objective opinion. smile.gif

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Wertz
post Jun 14 2006, 06:38 AM
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I can't pinpoint anything specific, but I learn the most (and have my views most frequently modulated) by those with opposing views - which, I guess, stands to reason. The names that would loom largest here would be DTOM, Hobbes, and my evil twin AMLord. I've also learned, largely through people like Eeyore and Quarkhead, that one can make one's points clearly and convincingly without being as sardonic as I often am. In a related area, I've found that it is true that many Americans have no sense of irony whatsoever.

On the other hand, I have learned, to my regret, that there is no way on God's earth to get through to idolators. For some, if certain figures say black's white, no amount of India ink will convince them otherwise. In these cases, I've learned that the only possible reason to respond to their posts is to refute their arguments for the sake of others that may come across similarly blinkered opinions elsewhere.
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VDemosthenes
post Jun 15 2006, 07:12 PM
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Hmm. Haven't learned much, though I may have learned some of it better. thumbsup.gif

My extreme moderate libertarian views have only increased and I find myself more and more doubting that competent or capable government can ever truly exist in a republic-like nation.

I've been totally stream-lined away from my community's view on same-sex marriage and now am indifferent to who you wish to marry.

Probably the most important lesson I learned was to let pundits for either party speak their minds until they forget what the topic was and go in for the kill. devil.gif
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aevans176
post Jun 15 2006, 10:12 PM
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I've learned...

-that there are times when people will argue regardless of how right/wrong they are. Myself included.

-that people often times will never admit that they are guilty of the same problems that they accuse others of.

-that topics regarding right to life, constitutional rights, and race are generally going to turn into personal attacks, regardless of how level-headed your debate may be.

-that even though this is called "America's debate", there are a seemingly endless number of foreigners that have an opinion on a country that they may have never lived in. Funny enough, Americans seem to rarely have an opinion on other countries.

-that partisan politics and semantics carry as much weight as factual information, and that people often seem to have picked sides at the point at which they read the headline.

-that the busy season at work keeps me from posting as much... and that probably makes some people happy!!!
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entspeak
post Jun 15 2006, 10:17 PM
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Have my views changed? Not so much. Although, I haven't had an opportunity to engage in much of the debates that occur on this site. As regards the topics I have engaged in, my views have solidified and been strengthened by the research required to respond to the challenges to my views. I'd have to say this is definitely true with my views on same-sex marriage.

I have definitely become more politically active since I showed up on ad.gif. I actually watch C-SPAN sometimes – something I never did before in my life. smile.gif
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moif
post Jun 15 2006, 11:24 PM
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Well, yes, indeed... I think, unlike most of the posters here, I have changed quite a lot since this time last year. 12 months ago I was practically a socialist... well, a 'middle grounder' with socialist leanings perhaps. flowers.gif

Now I'm practically a right-winger with nationalist tendencies. mad.gif

I've written about this before in the beginning of the Mo'toons thread since I was well aware of my political metamorphosis as it happened. It began with the gradual understanding (as opposed to knowledge) of my girl friend's pregnancy and the birth of my daughter in August last year and finally developed into what it has become now as a direct consequence of the Mohammed cartoons affair (the reverberations of which are still taking place in Denmark).

By the time the Mo'toons affair reached the international arena I had already undergone this change and any chance of 'redeption' vanished the day I saw the Danish flag being burned as a consequnce of a few drawings. That myself, and every other Dane should be so held responsible for an action, that I cannot consider a crime, by this stinking mob of religious fanatics burned away the last shreds of fellow feeling and empathy I had.
That hatred, so often expressed and so often forgiven, finally reached my heart and I reacted accordingly. I will not sit idly by and watch religion destroy my nation or threaten me or my family. Never. Not in a million years will I ever accept being told what I can or cannot say by religion. I have always hated religion for being an expression of fear and in my mind, religion is merely a psychological reflex against the fear of oblivion that lies beyond death.

At the same time as this process was taking place I became more critical of the left. I kept stumbling over what I perceived to be an intolerable bias. An attitude that speaks of equality and fraternity, but which is expressed in hatred and violent anger. In Denmark, we have anti nazi demonstrations by radical leftist groups called the autonome. These people regularly take the law into their own hands in order to 'strike back' against the neo nazi's, regardless of the fact that the neo nazi's of Denmark are a laughing stock with no political power what so ever.

It seems to me, that the socialist extremists use the neo nazi's as a means to an end, since during these 'anti nazi' demonstratuions, it is not unusal for elected politicians to be targetted, American owned shops and restaurants to be trashed and even, on the odd occaision fire bombed. In Sweden the problem is even worse with similar socialist groups attacking democratically elected political groups with clubs and knives because they 'disaprove of their unwanted political ideology' (nationalism). Such tactics, so obviously echoing Hitlers brown shirts demonstrate the hypocrisy of the socialists for these attacks are not only ignored, but in some cases are even supported by elected socialist politicians. Its also worth noting that Sweden has been ruled by the Social democrats for 60 years now and there is every indication that the welfare state is breaking down there. Some people have put forward analysis that shows Sweden is spending 60% of its income on problems that relate to immigrants. I don't know if this is true, but if it is I find it amazing that such a thing is tolerated by the Swedes given that Sweden has some 25% unemployment now.

At the same time, Scandinavia is witnessing an influx of immigration so heavy that it is now a direct threat to the majority rule of Scandinavians. At the same time crime rates have sky rocketed and Sweden has already been witness to a racist rape epedemic that has seen hundreds of Swedish girls and women targetted and raped by Islamic immigrants, of all ages. According to the Swedish media, 85% of all rapes in sweden are carried out by immigrants.
Sweden is a mere 9 million people but is letting in 100,000 immigrants per year now.
In Copenhagen, over 60% of inmates in prison speak Arabic.
All over Denmark ghetto's have sprung up ad are growing as immigrants, the ast majority of whom ar Muslims, simply refuse to intergrate.

My brother has plans to move from Germany to Sweden. He wishes to live in Malmø which is just across the water from Copenhagen. Malmø is set to become the first western European city to reach a Muslim majority within a decade. Many of its suburbs are already off limits to police and emergency services and Islamic law has already been used in a 'secular' Swedish court room.
Bruxelles and several other EU city's are set to follow.

Sweden has a standing army of about 6,000 men.

The EU is now 'opening the door' to Turkey and its population of 60 million Muslims.

Enough is enough!

And so I have changed. Dramatically. I cannot ignore all this and shrug it off. Violence and religion have no place in the political arena and when Danish politicians admit to self censorship in order to avoid Islamic death thtreats then the threshold has clearly been passed and my civic duty is to defend my family and my country.

Quite how I do this is not quite as clear, but unless something changes soon I may be forced to do the unthinkable and, like more and more Danes, vote for the Danish People's Party and become a full blown nationalist.

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Wertz
post Jun 24 2006, 12:59 AM
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I've also learned that this Year in Review thing is a very frustrating process. Looking into nominations, I keep coming across loads of great threads to which I never got to make contributions - and the urge to start reviving them all is way too tempting. blush.gif
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Paladin Elspeth
post Jun 24 2006, 07:08 AM
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I have learned that there are some threads where, if you take a certain position, your credibility is going to suffer. But I also believe that it is important to explore all kinds of questions, especially awkward ones that call into question "official" explanations that are short on supportive data. It's amazing how some of the data has finally managed to make it to the media once public pressure was brought to bear upon our elected and appointed officials.

There is a usefulness to such pesky things as conspiracy theories which cause ordinary people to persist in asking probing questions. We have a right to know. I believe we must continue to question authority and not allow officials to count on our credulity to keep them secure in their positions.

This post has been edited by Paladin Elspeth: Jun 24 2006, 07:22 AM
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nighttimer
post Jul 9 2006, 05:31 AM
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What I've learned:

It's more important to me to be honest and risk ticking people off than to lie and be liked.

It's more important to question authority than obey authority.

It's doesn't matter if you find the answers. Keep asking the questions.

Everyone has an opinion. Not everyone expresses it well.

My respect for true conservatives has increased immeasurably. They have distinguished themselves by standing head and shoulders above the mere ideologues who only regurgitate the thoughts and words of others.

You have to have get your facts straight on this board or someone will get them straight for you.

Getting emotional is not the same thing as being right.

Nobody ever "wins" a debate. Maybe the Moderators.

There aren't enough people of color on this board and that bothers me.

How my views have changed:

I used to think that it was only Black people that disliked George W. Bush, but there are even more White people who can't stand him either.

There is a belief that conservatives believe in groupthink. This belief is wrong.

It isn't as embarassing to be a liberal as it once was. It's becoming less so every day this current group of conservatives are in power.

Stuff you can get away with on other boards will not fly on America's Debate. It took a while for that to sink in but the fact that I haven't been banned yet leads me to believe that I CAN engage others in debate without four-letter words, personal attacks or threats of physical violence if I ever meet them on the street.

I used to think there were more bad people in the world than good people. That's no longer the case. It's more of a situation that too many bad people are in positions where they can do bad things.

Being a Moderator or Administrator is a thankless job. I never realized how much before this place.

ad.gif

This post has been edited by nighttimer: Jul 9 2006, 05:34 AM
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DaffyGrl
post Jul 9 2006, 11:27 PM
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The biggest change in my views is that I've reverted to being resigned that all politicians are crooks and liars; it's only a matter of in which arena they are crooked or lie. I've gotten so disgusted with the dumbing down of American politics, it hardly seems worth the effort to debate about it.

Republican politicians call to mind spoiled, entitled, snotty trust fund kids who crave power and money above all else.

Democratic politicians are the whiny little dweebs crying about how misunderstood they are and can't seem to grow a spine to fight the power-hungry Republicans.

And nothing will change. Whether the Democrats or the Republicans are in power makes no difference. People are so complacent and/or afraid, an uprising to fight the status quo seems impossible. I cannot fathom what the final straw would have to be to snap the average joe out of that complacency.

It's frustrating that a third party can't get a toehold when the current two parties are so pathetic.

All in all, I guess I've learned that frustration can only reach a certain level before one just doesn't give a damn anymore.
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Jaime
post Aug 5 2006, 11:47 PM
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Boy oh boy, I feel like I’ve been going non-stop for months now. This place is growing so much. I want to take a minute to thank you all for being there with us for this ride. And truly, I want to try and thank you all for all I’ve learned and shared over the years.

First off, there are a huge handful of members who have come and gone and I am left wondering where they went. So does anyone know what ever happened to: Pau Goat, Robin Scotland, kevinsbailey, devEcon, skap711, debatequeen5320, GodlessUSSoldier, AJE, bayside, ikeaboy69, kathaksung – almost an internet legend, PudriK, LoraX, Nu Marx, Oyaji, jaellon, erratic energy, Mr. Rural Midwest, BringIt, cyclone, Hercules, Brunie, catquas, PrismPaul, rebelkate, njs6, Corvus, drmarcs, Limpubus – hello?? do you ever come back to Savannah? stotty203, Ataal, UGA Boy, Rickmanx, pheeler, JonBon, PennDerek, sisters Piper Plexed and Dream Piper, Ptarmigan, ralou, redliner1989, Juber3, Digital Patriot, Unabomber, Alan Wood, johnlocke, logophage, Madtown, amf, Abs Like Jesus, and Danya?

We have gotten lucky over the years and had a few members reappear after an absence. If I recall right you guys are: greekee, Blackstone, and Stefan Fargus. And Stefan, Stefan, Stefan...what can I say about a guy who works his way into my circle, then completely disappears off the face of the earth, only to reappear stronger and wittier than ever? It sure is good you came back. It’s sure good you all came back.

Of course, there are a few members who disappeared and I wish they’d resurface soon – especially Ouroboros and Aquilla – the door’s still open, guys.

Now what would ad.gif be without our Lurkers? There are a whole bunch of you who may not post much but you make sure to stop in now and again. You deserve a nod too -Reepicheep, La Herring Rouge, Dadzilla, Ringwraith, BornInZion, smileystar333, TheBoneyKingofNowhere, BaphometsAdvocate, 4gold, Janabrute, drewyorktimes I love your member name, srobert, Lek, Hamburger, fontbleau, IndigoFlavours, Juan Speeder, Young at heart I still love your avatar, vsrenard, ChargedDust, bigfish, mule, London2LA, slowtime9, LyricalReckoner, Yogurt, deerjerkydave, Azure Citizen, Looms, AgiantBean, otseng, Cadman, phaedrus, and macura.

We also have some members who have posted here steadily over the years, but just not enough. These folks always leave me wanting more – Mustang, Dingo an old school ADer (ie pre-rules), Izdaari, hayleyanne, and of course the gracious and lovely, Beladonna.

ad.gif is also fortunate enough to have some AMAZING young adults - Typhon08, Nebuchadnezzar where’d you go, btw?, deathalive one of my few MySpace friends, TennesseeLeftWinger it’s been far too long since we’ve chatted over Coast to Coast AM, A left Handed person, VDemosthenes, Grayson, Rancid Uncle… or should I call you Mister Ambassador?, lederuvdapac, and Conservpat. Most of the time I can’t believe you guys are as young as you are. You give me hope for the future laugh.gif

Another cool thing I’ve learned is that some ad.gif members are in the same family. We had the long lost Piper sisters, and we still have brothers, Devils Advocate and BecomingHuman. There is also the overland family and the Wertz & Padraig Pearce family. And of course, Curmudgeon, Paladin Elspeth, and shego – a very special family that I have had the honor of meeting in person. There is so much love there. I am fortunate to have made friends like you. Families that debate together, stay together!

Extra special love to our International members. It’s got to take some nerve to come into a mostly American forum and debate us. And you guys can sure hold your own –Julian, Delvy, giftzahn, mule, London2LA sometimes!,Carlsen, Fma, Genesisblade, Schoolboy I know you’re still lurking around here! Renger, Horyok – it’s been too long, how’s the US treating you? and the ever passionate, moif Learning about life where you guys are helps me understand this world just a little bit better.

ad.gif also has a few members that define the phrase passionate debate - jleavy, inventor, TruthMarch, KivrotHaTaavah – seriously, how do you find the time? , O| Sarge, RedCedar, lordhelmet, Bikerdad, Ted, Artemise and Cruising Ram.

I’ve also come to appreciate the steady, quality input from our regulars - RobertB, Goldblum, Vibiana not posting as much these days, though, skeeterses – I find you post a lot of useful links in your debates, smorpheus, kimpossible, FargoUT, Argonaut, Rev DelFuego, English Horn, TedN5, loreng59, Gray Seal – you are so old school AD. Thanks for all the kitty advice over the years, Lesly, popeye47, entspeak, aevans176, DaffyGrl, Vermillion, BoF, DaytonRocker, AuthorMusician – DR & AM are also old school AD!, MasterDebater, Jobius, Syfir, niftydrifty, slim, doomed planet, and carlitoswhey.

And special love to:
Padraig Pearce – in the real world, Sean. Wertz’s Sean. Sean the Ambassador of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sean the genius behind the sinfully delicious Savannah. Sean, my friend.
Trouble – someone I can count on to chat with most radio shows and chat nights. Your research skills are highly underrated.
Kisov – Premiere, report for duty.
kmsouthern – mmm, cookies. You’re among a handful of posters who have helped me gain a new perspective on something at ad.gif
psychlist – or is it Chuck Norris? Or maybe NeoConZionist?
jenreiautter – I think I keep in touch with you more through blogs these days than AD. I love your creative approach to green living.
Just Leave me Alone – always there for a chat and usually a good laugh. Twins keeping you busy?
crashfourit – our most regular caller to America’s Debate Radio. You crack me up, crash.
turnea – it’s been too long since you posted. You are truly a stellar individual. Thanks for remaining one of our longest running regular posters.
Momof3 – yes, my real mom. It’s been too long, old lady. C’mon back.
SuzySteamboat – I’ve had the privilege of meeting Ms Suzy. A delightful young woman she is. I can’t wait to hear from you again.
Fife and Drum – why is it every time we’re in the chatroom we talk about food? Blueberries, bruschetta, garden delights…mmmm... I’m getting hungry again.
nemov – another person I feel like I’ve gotten to know better though blogs. After reviewing the nominations for this year, I found you’re one of our favorite topic starters. Good job.
droop224 – Vote DROOP! &^BLEEP@ ! Call into AD Radio again soon. It’s always a blast talking with you
Doclotus – truly one of my friends. I know I can count on you Doc. I can’t even think of the right words to thank you for all you’ve taught me and done for ad.gif
Titus – what’s crackalackin? I am so glad I’ve met you. You always manage to get me to smile
NiteGuy – I will forever associate you with Elvis now, you know that, right?
christopher – it’s not hot. They don’t know what they’re complaining about.
Sleeper – you’ve been through a lot in the last year. Stay strong.
bucket – another person I’ve befriended via chats, AD radio, and blogs. If I’m ever up your way, promise me you’ll cook me a meal. I drool every time you blog these days.
Victoria Silverwolf – you have such a calming influence. I so appreciate that and what you bring to ad.gif
overlandsailor – you’re everywhere and nowhere all at once. Do you ever sleep?
nebraska29 – long ashes to you, sir!
nighttimer – you have taught me a lot, especially in regards to race issues. Thanks for lending out your shoes for a bit. You are truly one of AD’s most articulate contributors.

And then there’s the staff of ad.gif This place would not function if it were not for these folks. Their help is invaluable and I am forever grateful to every one of them.

Cyan, my sweet Cyan. We don’t chat enough anymore. You were one of the first waves of members to ever sign up here. Considering you did before we had any rules or real structure, we are beyond lucky you stuck around. You were integral in helping us take our initial shape and I am indebted to you.

Julian – what I wouldn’t give to spend a few nights pubbing with you around Swindon. You have a way with words that I completely envy. You’re articulate, funny, and damned smart. Plus, I know you had a hand in bringing over a number of others who were looking for a civil corner on the net to debate. You’re quite the ambassador.

Hobbes - ad.gif’s underestimated genius. It’s not often you post where I can even disagree with you. You’re that good. You’re also quite the detective, Sherlock Hobbes... detective.gif

quarkhead – the pied piper of ad.gif Play your tunes and I’ll follow you anywhere. Thanks for hardwork with AD Radio and in moderating here. Count yourself among the handful who has actually helped change my mind on a debate issue. It’s hard to argue with sound logic, right?

Ultimatejoe – the ultimate in so many ways. Thank you for the hours and hours we’ve spent chatting over the years, blog posts, and chat nights. I love that we have always been able to give each other a hard time and laugh about it later. You’re one whom I know will always shoot me straight and tell me when I’m full of it. I need that...more often than I care to admit!

Eeyore – I have always admired your positive attitude. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get short or be rude with anyone. That probably comes from your years of being a dad, teaching, and coaching. We’re graced to have you bring that experience to ad.gif

DTOM – you da man. You are the exact reason we need a high-power cloning machine. I’d make a million of you to defend this nation and maybe keep a few for ad.gif to mod around here. Now when are you making that run for the presidency?

Wertz – oh Wertz. I adore you. I love your passion, I love your sarcasm, I love your wit. I have had some of the most fun times in Savannah ever when you come to visit. We so owe you a few trips. I could gush on but it would probably start to get sappy and I’m trying not to go there.

Cube Jockey – if we could auction off one ounce of his motivation it would fetch a fortune. Do any of you know what a powerhouse Cube is outside of ad.gif? Keep an eye on him, he’s a rockstar.

MrsP – you are one of the smartest women I know. Your posts come with some of the most unique and incredibly well supported ideas I’ve ever come across. There have been so many times I have finished reading one of your posts and said, ‘Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?’ I want to be like MrsP when I grow up.

Amlord – how did we ever luck out and have you find ad.gif ? You are truly an incredible moderator. You’re a natural. Your level-headedness and drive for justice have made me come to rely on you for sound advice over the years. An ad.gif diplomat if there ever was one.

And of course, Mike. I won't even try to begin detailing all you do. I could never cover it properly. You are the heart and soul of this place.

Ok, that should cover everyone. If I missed you, mucho apologies (PM me, I’ll get you in here!)

Everyone, it’s been an amazing four years. Let’s make a few more together, shall we? heart.gif
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lederuvdapac
post Aug 19 2006, 03:45 AM
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Jeeze Jaime, thanks for pulling a JFK and raising the bar for everyone that follows flowers.gif

I've learned so much from my time here at ad.gif i hardly know where to begin. My interest in politics and foreign affairs heightened following 9/11 being both a New Yorker and a kid with a lot of time on his hands. I joined my school student congress team junior year and did pretty well for myself. Upon looking for research for one my various speeches, I stumbled across this site and was immediately hooked. I took pride in being so young and debating people twice my age. I quickly learned that all of my knowledge was a fraction of what many on this site had. And it inspired me. I wanted to be a lot like the others on this board who knew so much but were not pretentious about it and tried to debate civily with others. I was in a funk i think for a while here at ad.gif . I wasn't debating to the calibur of many others and that got me mad. I even had a very interesting comment made about me by our very favorite Mr.Wertz. But it was all a part of my development. I think i have finally reached a point where I can earn some respect with my debating ability and not appear to be just a ranting wacko.

I started out here a hard nose conservative Republican. Right now I like to consider myself a libertarian conservative, a classical liberal, or simply Hayekian. This change had a lot to do with my increased reading of various political literature and philosophy...but that resulted directly from my experiences here at ad.gif . I've learned a lot about people in my time here and about all the different ideologies that people adhere to. I've learned to analyze events and policies from its very core and try to disregard personal biases and ideology in order to come to my own conclusion about things. And i think thats most important.

I don't want to go on and on about what i've learned here because I simply do not have the time. But all i know is that there is a great group of people here on ad.gif and I'm happy to be an accepted part of the community.
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CruisingRam
post Aug 19 2006, 04:12 AM
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Party affiliation: Other



I find myself more educated about specific issues, and much more likely to find original sources instead of media quotes- I think one of the largest eye opening experiances was my readings of Noam Chomsky. I had always been led to believe by media, of any type, that this man was a socialist, or an extreme america self hating liberal- but, due to the challenges of debates here, I found myself actually reading some of his works in thier entirety- and then studying and doing papers on them.

He is far more libertarian than I would have guessed, and it seems he loves the idea of freedom and what American ideals were founded upon. His critisisms of America are based on his wish for positive change.

That was a major issue- and there are several other things that I held as "common knowledge" - such as our "defeat of communism" and such statement are false to the point of "where and the heck did I learn this as some kind of gospel".

So AD basically made me do more self study, chasing sources, and doing more and more research over an issue, rather than regurgitate what the talking heads say.
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