Friday, 27 April 2018

The Devil's Advocate

So. I had this big long post saved that I've been picking away at, but I have had a stressful day and it would be just like today to see someone get offended and start coming at me for posting it. Not today.

Today I'm going to talk briefly about the term devil's advocate, and how most assholes online are doing it wrong.

Okay. So a devil's advocate (DA), in layman's terms, is someone who takes the position in a "debate" that they do not necessarily agree with, but they argue it's merits for the sake of debate and discussion. It used be the title of the dude that had to come up with all the shitty reasons why someone shouldn't be canonized into sainthood, poke holes in all their claims, and basically find an excuse not to celebrate someone for their miracles. Or whatever. Both of those definitions don't exist anymore.

In modern parlance, the person claiming devil's advocate status is the person who is simply looking to stir the pot. Most often they are not arguing a term they do not agree with - they see it as simply presenting another point that they see valid in a discussion to weigh all sides.

Sounds okay right?

Yeah, so you'd be wrong.

Most of the time, the DA claims to be arguing the point of the oppressed, or the point least represented. In fact, the vast majority of the time, you see it being used to reinforce flawed cultural norms and to create fear, confusion, and to disarm their opponent. For example, you're debating the benefits of gender neutral washrooms so that all gender identities feel comfortable. The DA sneers 'but have you considered/what if/what about if the trans people invade the bathrooms and rape the women?!'

That is a viewpoint shared by a number of very ignorant people. It's not right, but they are playing on that fear and confusion.

Devil's Advocacy is a tool used frequently by members of the far right to express their vile opinions under the guise of 'free speech' (which, motherfuckers, is not a thing in Canada and in the US only protects you from retaliation for criticizing the government) and actively try to either engage in some kind of bullshit posturing or outright attack.

Look, I understand the concept of reviewing other's viewpoints, especially those you don't agree with. I think it's important to do, both to try and understand the machinations of that side of humanity and to self audit our own beliefs. I don't, however, require someone to attempt to convert me or bait me. It won't work. I don't need to subscribe to or agree with those views to understand them, same as I don't need to put my hand in a bonfire to see if it's hot. I can see it just fine, thanks. Jumping into the fire won't show me anything different.

It is pointless to argue on these matters. Most of the time it won't make a lick of difference. Generally if someone breaks out the 'I'm just playing 'devil's advocate' statement I tune them out because if they actually and truly wanted to argue a point they don't agree with for the sake of discussion, they'd be arguing mine.

Basically, my post is simple: devil's advocacy does not exist. It's just arguing, plain and simple. Let's just call it as it is and be honest.