My attacker will probably be pleased that his words still disturb me a fair bit. So for the record I've voted both Labour and Liberal (I even voted Green when I was 18). But I regard myself as a passionate centrist who sees good intentions in most policies coming out of the main centre-left and centre-right parties. While I don't see much I agree with in policies from Right / Nationalist parties like One Nation or Left parties like the Greens, I'll still defend their right to exist AND to get a fair hearing, free from gratuitous nastiness.
But I've been disturbed by the sheer level of "partisan aggression" of some people on this site. There are two sorts:
- Vicious personal attacks on posters here because they dare to think differently.
- Attacks on the reputation of politicians and lobbyists. For example, one otherwise amiable poster takes every opportunity to slag off the character of state premiers who were in office 20 years ago and even 50 years ago. Another case is the "hate threads" that are created to malign the character of public figures.
So my questions are:
- Is attacking someone's character an easy way of maintaining face when we are too lazy to work out the failings of their views and policies?
- To what level should we attack people who have thoughts on policy that differ from our own? How much should we challenge their views and debate them rationally rather than just attack their character?