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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.

Comments (39)

I trust that once the purge... (Below threshold)
Matt Drudge's boyfriend Ken Mehlman:

I trust that once the purges commence, Rob in LA and jhow66 will be first against the wall, right? When was the last time they contributed anything "rational" to a dialogue?

DJ, well said.Too ba... (Below threshold)

DJ, well said.
Too bad a sock coward was the first to sound off.
Perhaps not, as the sock illustrates your points.
Taking words out of context: Check
Twisting the facts to make a non-sequitor rebuttal: Check
Taking the low road: Check
Refusing to address the issue at hand: Check

Using the language of Stali... (Below threshold)

Using the language of Stalin's tactics to discuss commenting on blogs: Check

I'll have to admit that I h... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

I'll have to admit that I have recently cut back on participating at Wizbang for precisely the reasons that DJ cites. The level of off-topic, apropros-of-nothing personal insulting and sock puppetry here recently has reached a critical mass where any actual discussion is no longer possible. The hecklers have successfully invoked their veto.

Very well done, DJ.... (Below threshold)

Very well done, DJ.

Good post, DJ. Our best fri... (Below threshold)

Good post, DJ. Our best friend is going through the same thing (liver and bowel).

She was about 85 pounds dripping wet back when she was healthy, but 84 pounds of it is pure gumption. After two years of most everything the healthcare system can throw at her, I've never heard her complain or surrender an inch.

Just talked to her over the weekend - the chemo finally got her hair. She told me she just shaved the rest of it off - because it pissed her off - and then she moved on the the next subject one sentence later. So it's baseball hats for a while, and where do you want to have dinner when you come down in March? Not an ounce of self-pity in her.

I don't honestly know where it comes from, but what a classy lady. From your comments, you sound like the same personality type, and good for you. Stay tough.

lol, mantis.... (Below threshold)

lol, mantis.

It not the Christian's job ... (Below threshold)

It not the Christian's job to convince anyone of anything. They are directed only to show the love of Christ, to love their neighbor as themselves.

Well said DJ. I will be praying for you, that God be glorified in your illness. Remember Amy Carmichael.

As I don't believe I've act... (Below threshold)

As I don't believe I've actually said it before, DJ, I wish you the best.

Let's set a bipartisan exam... (Below threshold)

Let's set a bipartisan example of cooperation -- something that seems to still be sadly lacking in Washington.

I suggest a couple of liberals and a couple of conservatives form a committee to hammer out some sort of "standards of conduct" for comments on Wizbang.

Kevin could put a checkbox on the comment submission form that the commenter has to agree to the conduct terms, and if someone violates the terms as determined by a review of the committee, then they get banned.

I nominate mantis and wavemaker.

Me, hall monitor? <p... (Below threshold)

Me, hall monitor?

No thanks. ;)

Not a bad idea, Lee.... (Below threshold)

Not a bad idea, Lee.

Oh come on, mantis, the job... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Oh come on, mantis, the job comes with a sweet sash, a flurorescent orange hard hat and a big, red'"Stop" sign, who wouldn't want that look--not to mention the power!


I must be missing something... (Below threshold)

I must be missing something here. Why does Wizbang! need a standards of conduct committee? Whatever happened to using the Golden Rule?

I can use a history lesson ... (Below threshold)

I can use a history lesson Mantis, exactly what are the Stalinist tactics you are refering to and why are they Stalinist?

Kevin is talking about a sy... (Below threshold)

Kevin is talking about a system not far from what Lee describes, although he will make the ultimate decision about standards and TOS for the site.

Tom ~ the Golden Rule works pretty well with Christians. Apparently the lions paid less attention in Sunday School, though.

Why does Wizbang! need a... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Why does Wizbang! need a standards of conduct committee? Whatever happened to using the Golden Rule?

What!? And ask people to take personal responsibility and have some accountability for the things they say!? The nerve of you, Tom!


You do realize how Orwellian your idea is, right? ;-)

"Kevin is talking about ... (Below threshold)

"Kevin is talking about a system not far from what Lee describes, although he will make the ultimate decision about standards and TOS for the site."

That makes sense, and after posting my suggestion I realized that there should be some oversight by Kevin, and I figured if he wanted that he'd say so.... good to hear.

standards of conduct... (Below threshold)

standards of conduct: Check

Lee with a good idea for the checkbox: Check

Spellcheck: Check

I can use a history less... (Below threshold)

I can use a history lesson Mantis, exactly what are the Stalinist tactics you are refering to and why are they Stalinist?

Mystery puppet up above referred to "the purges" and the "first against the wall". The "purge" in this case references the Great Purge or Great Terror, where Stalin cleared out the Party, killing hundreds of thousands and imprisoning many more. I'm not sure of the origin of the phrase "You'll be first up against the wall, come the revolution," but in this context of "purges,", and considering that the communists were "revolutionaries," the connection seemed apt.

Whatever happened to Jay Te... (Below threshold)

Whatever happened to Jay Tea's idea of giving individuals from the group in question the onus of initiating a post instead of the ongoing luxury of waiting around to pounce whatever discussion someone else has initiated?

Thank God for Google, eh ma... (Below threshold)

Thank God for Google, eh mantis?


I do believe Wizbang posts ... (Below threshold)

I do believe Wizbang posts lean right. I check in to Wizbang several times a day, less lately, so I can see what is happening especially on the conservative side. This is what I expect. The lefties know this also. Why they continue to expect left leaning posts are beyond me. I think they comment only to incite, not enlight. I would prefer very stringent rules for lefties. Mainly, stay on topic and no name calling. ww

Let me get this staight, I ... (Below threshold)

Let me get this staight, I have a no shoes in the house rule for my home. I invite some guests and one of them knowing I this rule comes in in muddy boots. I kick him out for good. This makes me a Stalinist?

A blog is somebody's house, they get to set the house rules. You disobey the rules, your comments are deleted and you are denied access. You are comparing this to the Great Purge where, in the end 10 of millions died. My goodness. Why don't you take up this line of analysis with Markos.

By the way, I believe Markos has the right to run his site how he wishes and if he bans me I will go gracefully.

I do believe Wizbang pos... (Below threshold)

I do believe Wizbang posts lean right.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Why they continue to expect left leaning posts are beyond me.

Who expects that? We know where to find left-leaning blogs.

I would prefer very stringent rules for lefties. Mainly, stay on topic and no name calling.

Just for lefties though, right?

Let me get this staight,... (Below threshold)

Let me get this staight, I have a no shoes in the house rule for my home. I invite some guests and one of them knowing I this rule comes in in muddy boots. I kick him out for good. This makes me a Stalinist?

I'm not sure if your comment is directed towards the first commenter or me. In case it is directed towards me, he was the one implicitly comparing the banning of blog commenters to the purge. I was ridiculing this comparison.

I have a similar feeling no... (Below threshold)

I have a similar feeling now to that when the Dorm Master at summer camp came out of his lair in the middle of the night and snaps on the lights to catch us all in a massive wedgie battle.

Lee, your gesture is magnanimous, but I have to confess that I am uncomfortable in the role of arbiter of any standards of conduct -- delightful as it would be to work alongside mantis.

I have pretty much said all... (Below threshold)

I have pretty much said all that I care to on this subject (see my comments in Jay's post on the subject) but since DJ has taken the time to express himself, I think that I owe DJ a response.

I lost a lot of respect for DJ when I read his Ivins post. I greatly admired her, and if more people would have read her, we may not be in the situation we are in today.

DJ doesn't see anything wrong with his comments. I guess it is ok to insult some ones identity/person as long as you say something nice at the end, and yes I did read the entire post. As a sidebar, Jay wrote a post about Molly's passing as well and with a lot more class and dignity.

If you (DJ) can honestly say that you would feel comfortable reciting your comments as part of an eulogy in front of her family and friends, than I will accept it and move on.

I am assuming the "miscreant" and "apology" references were directly at me and to the others (again with the insults). Well, I am not going to apologies. Nothing I wrote was over the top. Even the Clinton-Murder-God comment was just a variation of the: "Why does God allow good thing to happen to bad people, and bad things to good people?" theme. As I stated before, the "Iraq" comment was a commentary on how all posts eventual devolve to the subject of Iraq.

I do promise to:
-keep to the subject.
-comment only when I have something to say that will advance the debate
-and continue to leave insults and profanity out of my comments.

delightful as it would b... (Below threshold)

delightful as it would be to work alongside mantis.

Don't bite down when your tongue's in your cheek like that. It hurts.

HEY!Word, b... (Below threshold)


Word, brother.

BarneyG2000, you are such a... (Below threshold)

BarneyG2000, you are such a phony. You were full of a lot of bile over at Blogs for Bush

Well, I am not going to ... (Below threshold)

Well, I am not going to apologies.

Well, did anybody see that coming? I'm shocked.

BTW, good post, DJ.... (Below threshold)

BTW, good post, DJ.

Sometimes, mantis I have tr... (Below threshold)

Sometimes, mantis I have trouble figuring you out, are you being sarcastic or straight. You use both pretty equally. But I think the purging of commenters is sometimes helpful for civil discussion, so to the earlier comment, tough toenails buddy.

Sometimes, mantis I have... (Below threshold)

Sometimes, mantis I have trouble figuring you out, are you being sarcastic or straight.

Sometimes I don't even know myself. Just kidding.

But I think the purging of commenters is sometimes helpful for civil discussion, so to the earlier comment, tough toenails buddy.

Hey, I don't care about purging commenters. It ain't my blog.

The tough toenails was deci... (Below threshold)

The tough toenails was decidely not for you mantis. We have to have a new start, Hi my name is David.

Doh. Yeah, hi, I'm a manti... (Below threshold)

Doh. Yeah, hi, I'm a mantis.

Mr. Drummond, you define cl... (Below threshold)

Mr. Drummond, you define class. Best wishes to you.

1) I believe Kevin has del... (Below threshold)

1) I believe Kevin has delegated authority to JT. He wields the Hammer.

2) I think we should be careful about purging. Commentors or otherwise. The next thing you know commentors that purge will look like skeletal models on a virtual catwalk. Now a good Spring cleaning one a year isn't necessarily a bad tradition. But regular purging is bad for your health.

3) Hammering, on the other hand, seems quite healthy to me.

4) So I vote for Hammering and vote against Purging. And JT holds the Hammer. Do your best not to look like the head of a nail.






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Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

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