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This website is a place for people who want to move past shady thinking and test their ideas in a
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Why are you called The Motte?
A motte is a stone keep on a raised earthwork common in early medieval fortifications. More pertinently,
it's an element in a rhetorical move called a "Motte-and-Bailey",
originally identified by
philosopher Nicholas Shackel. It describes the tendency in discourse for people to move from a controversial
but high value claim to a defensible but less exciting one upon any resistance to the former. He likens
this to the medieval fortification, where a desirable land (the bailey) is abandoned when in danger for
the more easily defended motte. In Shackel's words, "The Motte represents the defensible but undesired
propositions to which one retreats when hard pressed."
On The Motte, always attempt to remain inside your defensible territory, even if you are not being pressed.
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I just can't sympathize with the complaints in this vein:
This just sounds like someone who belongs to the dominant ideology and has never experienced people unapologetically stating non-mainstream views before. As a reactionary conservative Catholic for the last 20 years, the overwhelming majority of opinions I've read have been counter to my beliefs, to put it mildly. There are people on this site who think I'm a net negative to the human race. And that's just fine. I'm hear to read what they say because it's interesting and because I can handle it. If it's standard prog/transhumanist/libertarian argument #2,547 I might skim it, but there's still a good number of novel (to me) ideas in the posts here.
I really think this describes the majority of the left wing burnouts. "It's too hostile! Everyone's always pushing back on what I say!" Maybe that's because your own ideas are soft because your rarely receive pushback. No, your Thanksgiving dinner table argument with your redneck dad doesn't count even though it probably made you feel like Rosa Parks. The right wingers here are more tenacious and educated then average, so their criticisms and argument sting more. Welcome to The Motte, that's what this place is for.
To be clear, I'm not trying to dump on those folks. I'm sure it's a legitimately challenging and shocking experience. And I want to give special thanks to the left of center folks who stick around on The Motte. Without y'all this place wouldn't work, and I hope you stick around to keep the right wingers on their toes.
(Also one of the other posts successfully guilted me into resuming janny duty. Forgive me Zorba for I have sinned.)
It's made harder I think, by the reversed polarity of the mainstream/counter culture that happened during the noughts. Because before that it was the other way around - leftists had strong arguments that made rightists feel uncomfortable. But it's really hard to notice that you don't have to fight as hard as you used to, especially if you have been trying to improve yourself - maybe you have just gotten better at arguing!
Incidentally, that's part of why I credit the posts in that thread that mention that we have moved further rightward since leaving reddit. Although I also think the move bonded us as a community more, which has also tempered things.
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