Perhaps William Shakespeare said it best;
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” [Macbeth]
Yeah, that’s blogging sometimes. And sometimes the players are so pleased with their own lines, that they simply pay no heed to what is being told to them, or simply construe it in whatever form they are pleased to hear. That might explain how a modest attempt at some personal philosophy with a bit of religious motivation, turned into yet another occasion for some puerile bickering and nastiness for some of our readers/commentators. And I find that some substantial changes might occur as a result of the fracas. So I am writing this morning with a mind to clarifying certain points, confirming my own opinion on certain issues, and making a few personal observations. As always, these are my own thoughts and do not presume to carry the weight or imprimatur of anyone with real authority.
First, to the question of banning posters. The strength of the Wizbang! sites has always included the wide range of opinions offered here, and the broad freedom allowed to express opinion. That hardly means ‘anything goes’, and certain hard lines must exist or we would lose readers simply because of disgust at certain behaviors. I am frankly glad that I don’t have to make those kinds of decisions here, so on that point I defer to management, with thanks for their support, discretion, and diligence. If it were my decision, in this specific case I do not think I would be banning the posters just for what they wrote on the “Laws of Grace” thread, although there are a couple comments which would deserve editing/deletion, with a word to the poster by e-mail about propriety. The problem there, is that it’s a bit of work, and the sort of people who would post an improper comment are not likely to consider a suggestion that they have acted uncivilly; they would be frankly incapable of that level of personal honor. I rather like the idea of calling someone out in a post, though there again you have to be very careful that you keep your own standards high.
Looking at the sort of comments left by our considered miscreants, I am left with the impression that they quite simply want attention. The deliberate provocations, out-of-context interpretation from other articles, and juvenile tone all seem to me to indicate an emotional motive rather than an argument based on rational analysis or ethical consideration. I quickly add that this does not mean – at all – that Liberals do not make logical or reasonable arguments, or even that these particular individuals are always incapable of higher-order discussions. They simply chose, in this case, the low road.
I would like to stop here and share a secret with the readers. A sincere apology always raises a person’s honor as seen by the community, in part because a true apology is rare and requires personal courage; the modern age seems quick to threaten anyone willing to admit they said or did something wrong, for which they are now willing to repent and redress. And when someone is clearly wrong, but who refuses to admit it and instead attempts to attack where they clearly should atone, they only diminish and damage themselves. The good or bad of the matter is always self-performed.
I would also like to address my medical condition, in regard to blogging. It has no moral bearing on the virtue or fault of my opinions. Certainly having cancer colors my thoughts and perspectives, and I will doubtless have to be careful about the ‘too much information’ syndrome, but my readers have no obligation to be nice to me simply because a few tumors would like to do me in. Anyone is well within their right to disagree with me, or call me out for error, or even to engage in the now-traditional insult-fest when they cannot debate on the facts or compose an effective rhetorical argument; it’s actually a nice thing from my perspective, to see the jackals treat me as they always have done. It’s a grudging sort of respect, though I doubt they would admit they respect me. While I am on the ‘cancer’ thing, I also think I need to clear up a lie tossed out by Barney and his buddies about my piece on Molly Ivins; I compared the tactics used in her columns and arguments to the Klan, not the woman herself. It appears Barney was unable to make that contextual cognition, so I am saying it plainly here. It also appears to me that Barney failed to read any further in the article, as he has never acknowledged the other things I said about Ms. Ivins, in the following quotes:
“Ivins, for all my disapproval of her politics and rhetorical tactics, was a fighter, no shrinking violet, and she would hardly sit still and let it beat her.”
“No one deserves cancer, and I am impressed with anyone who is not turned into a blobbering case of self-pity when they realize what they are facing. And those who stand up and fight the disease with all they have, cannot help but earn my admiration. Ivins fought hard, every step of the way, and while she died from cancer, it did not beat her.
May God grant you rest and peace, Ms. Ivins, and may all who knew and loved you find solace and know that you won that battle which mattered most.”
I am no fan of Ms. Ivins’ politics and tactics, but Barney’s claim that I was attacking her personally is simply, plainly, false.
I am pretty sure that Barney, nogo, and the rest of their gang never paid much attention to the ‘Grace’ article beyond choosing how to attack it. Too bad, really. My point in that article was that we each live by a standard, and we reflect that standard in our conduct. You either try to hurt, or you try to help. You either do what benefits you in the moment, or you think about the long term and about other people. You either complain about the things you did not get to enjoy, or you are thankful for what you have received. You stand for values which change according to your mood, or you stand for values which do not change. I have never met a person who was absolutely true to either polar extreme, but everyone picks a side, often unconsciously at first. And that makes a lot of difference. Banned or not, people who cannot conduct themselves honorably must live with that fact, and people who understand ideals beyond the façade live a deeper life than others can ever hope to understand.