And of course, this just bootstraps all the Benghazi rumors, spread on websites that are no different in function and form that the "Hop up Your Accord" or "Become a Jihadist" or "Become a Mass Murderer" or "Hydronic Home Heating is Great!" - circle-jerks of people telling each other what they want to hear and reinforcing each other's beliefs. The crazy shit the Benghazi people tell each other is legion - and of course, all suppressed by the Liberal Main Stream Media, such as Fox News. No really, they think this.
So why all the negativity? Why can't people address arguments on their face? Why do people make personal attacks instead?
You are a threat to their world-view, plain and simple. They guy who covered his truck with "I Hate Obama" stickers has invested a lot of personal energy in making Obama a talisman for everything that went wrong in his personal life. He doesn't want to hear that maybe everything he believes in (well at least a lot of what he believes in) might be wrong.
The kid with the 1999 Accord with Lamborghini doors doesn't want to hear that the car is still a plebeian grocery-getter and by the way, he's blown his credit rating over nothing. And the guy who just spend $15,000 on a home heating plant that should have cost $5000, doesn't want to hear that maybe "warm floors" isn't enough of an excuse to create a home leak-fest and money pit. He literally has a lot invested in this.
And this is why online discussion groups are not a good place to hang out - and one reason I don't have comments on this blog. I don't want a discussion group. No circle-jerking here. Get your information from a variety of sources. I have the right to be wrong about a lot of things. Of course, hydronic heating isn't one of them..... gotcha.
The reason I know all this about "investment" is that I've fallen into the trap myself - again and again - over time, and probably still do. I've been on the discussion groups and rah-rahed for the car, boat, or whatever it was that people were convincing themselves was the greatest thing in the universe.
But as an Engineer, however, I have to have one foot in reality. I had a Russian sidecar motorcycle for a while, and while it was a lot of fun, it was made in Russia, with everything that implied. Parts, such as carburetors, literally fell off as you drove it (I got home once by literally holding the carburetor against the cylinder head with one hand, while steering with the other). When you point out to people that hey, these are fun and all, but they are Russian-made pieces of crap, well, you get shouted down.
Similarly, on BMW sites, people will say what great cars BMWs are - and they are. But they don't fly through the air, and in fact, historically they have not been high-performance cars, just well-made sedans than handle well. Well, don't say that to the guy who is trying to make a dragster out of an old 3-series. You will get shouted down.
The same is true with houses. We are trying to sell an inherited house and one problem is that the family members, over the years, have led themselves to believe the place is priceless (after all, this is Mom and Dad's house!). More circle-jerk thinking. They reinforce their beliefs by quoting prices paid in 2007 for nicer houses, but neglecting lower prices of more recent sales of comparable homes. And this happens all the time, which is one reason why many estates end up abandoned when no one can agree on a realistic price for the house. "I not just giving it away!" one heir cries. So they pay taxes for a decade while the house is vandalized and degraded.
And this is true with most houses - which Real Estate Agents call "homes" as that sounds more emotional. People whine about "losing their home" as if it were the family estate and they are the Joads being forced from the farm. But in reality it is a tract home they bought four years ago, and could never afford in the first place. They cash in their 401(k) to "keep the home" when getting rid of the nightmare is probably a better option. And sadly, politicians pander to this emotional thinking - convincing us all that mortgages are only obligations if you can afford to pay them.
With politics, it is the same way. I used to follow the "party line" as a Democrat coming from a family of wishy-washy Liberals. But over time, you realize that a lot of what the Democratic party stands for is nonsense. Once you join the Teamsters, you realize that Unionism sucks. And while much of what the GOP stands for (what is it they stand for again?) is nonsense, they are not necessarily the minions of Satan himself.
Try telling that to the party "faithful" on either side of the debate. They will both eviscerate you. But a funny thing - a majority of Americans don't feel "faithful" to either party. So maybe people are smarter than they look. Some of them, at least.
So what is the point of all this? Well, in a way, it is a telltale sign - a miner's canary - that when you start defending yourself because you've invested yourself in a car, boat, Jihad, the GOP or whatever. It is, like the Sacred Cows in our lives. When you mark off one area of your life as inviolable, chances are, that one area of your life is what is giving you the most trouble.
Think about it. Religious types, for example, have marked off this huge area of their life as "off limits" to discussion, debate, or criticism or analysis. They tithe 10% of their income to their church and wonder why they can't pay down the credit card debt. They spend inordinate amounts of energy and time devoting themselves to what are really political issues guised in the form of religion. They obsess with what will happen in the afterlife, while ignoring what is happening to them in this life. They complain and whine and moan about how awful their lives are - and how they want to change it. But the one thing dragging them down is not up for discussion. And if you mention it, you will be attacked.
The same is true for the Biker dude. "Live to Ride, Ride to Live!" - he has it tattooed on his arm. That and "Never Sell Your Bike!" are the mantras repeated on the online discussion groups, at the bike meets, and in the biker bars (BTDT!). But then he ends up in credit card debt troubles. He doesn't ride the bike much anymore, but sell it? Never! And to suggest otherwise is heresy.
I had a number of sacred cows like that, that I was invested in at one time in my life or another. I am happy to say, I have far fewer today. I don't feel that anything is "off limits" anymore. Everything is up for discussion. And yes, I was "invested in" hydronic heating, and it was only when one expensive repair after another piled up that I started to realize that fancy heating systems are fine and all, but not really worth the cost delta.
Cars, boats, houses, politics. They all went by the wayside. Today I am not "invested" in much. I have no car that I feel I "have to keep" or house that I believe "I always will live in". Things come and go in your life - they have their uses in our lives, but should not dominate them. When I start to feel "invested" in something, maybe it is time to re-examine why. It is a warning sign that I am not applying logic, but instead relying on emotion.