I recently had a brief exchange with regular commenter Sam Vega vaguely connected with Marxism. It left me wondering how long it is since I read much Marx and I soon realised I don't know - decades possibly. A similar example for me is Chomsky who is cited quite regularly across the web. Not surprisingly, Google searches for Marx and Chomsky give millions of results :-
So both men are important in terms of past and current thinking, yet at different times in my life I have dismissed Marx and Chomsky as not worth the effort - or to be more accurate, not worth much effort. Because if certain ideas don't float my boat, then on the whole I veer away from them after a brief but disappointing dalliance, not wishing to spend more time on them than necessary.
It has to be like that though, doesn't it? We can't make an exhaustive study of ideas we are not really attuned to because there isn't time. The ideas we get on with take long enough. The trouble is, particularly when browsing the web, there are controversies that interest me, but they involve thinkers whose ideas I have already rejected, possibly years ago. So it isn't always easy to join the debate without a certain amount of superficiality creeping in.
In my experience this problem isn't something we usually admit though. We use tactics such as emphasising the stuff with which we are familiar, steering the debate away from shaky ground, skewing the discussion perhaps. Not a huge sin of course, but an issue I think.