“Why do you allow commenters like “Dog Gone” to do their “Poop and run” commenting, leaving big, easily-debunked comments and never sticking around to defend their mendacity?” I’ve been blogging almost 14 years, and had a comment section most of that time. The goal of that comment section has always been to give readers a place to discuss what they think about what I’ve written. In that time, my policy has always been to never ban anyone, unless
- They write something that’ll get me in legal trouble
- Their entire reason for being on the blog is to personally bash me. Not an article, or my reasoning, but me, personally, over and over and over.
Between the two, I’ve probably actually banned half a dozen people in 14 years. Many of you can probably name them.
I’ve always figured it was more important to have a discussion than an echo chamber – a sentiment the left doesn’t largely subscribe to, by the way – so I let most of it go. On my show, in fact, liberal callers get on first. It’s policy.
I do this because I still cling to the notion that discussion is a dying art in this country.
Am I getting tired of the “poop and run” style of commenting? Sure. It’s intellectually dishonest; using someone else’s discussion space to dump an argument that one never intends to (and, usually, can’t) defend is basically spam.
“Why do you oppose switching to the metric system?” I don’t. I oppose another extended, expensive government program to try to force the general public to use metric in their daily lives.
You ever notice how almost everyone in the Netherlands can communicate in German and English? How most everyone in Belgium can do a sort of French and Dutch, and usually English to boot? How Germans very often speak excellent English and decent French, and how Swiss are functionally trilingual? And how often liberals sniff down their noses and say this is evidence of American provincialism?
It’s not; it’s because European “nations” are the size of US states – and these days, they have about the same barriers between them. Can you imagine if Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Iowa all spoke different languages than Minnesota? You’d have a lot of quadrilingual Minnesotans! Fact is, Europeans need to get around in several languages – so they do.
It works the same with measurement systems. Just as Belgium and Canada have two languages, America operates, unofficially, with two systems of measurement; one for scientists, engineers, a few people in foreign trade and the military, and one for the rest of us. Any American who needs to be fluent in metric, is – and translates between the two, if not fluently, then functionally; three kilometers is two miles, a kilogram is 2.2 pounds, a liter is 1.1 quarts, 2.5 acres to a Hectare, an inch is 2.5 centimeters, a meter is 1.1 yards, a foot is 304 mm – it’s just not that hard, and for those translations that are too hard, Siri and Google can calculate even if doing it on a calculator or spreadsheet is too complicated.
There. I just saved the taxpayer millions of dollars.
“A Good Guy with a Gun is teh falesy!”: Well, no – it‘s not.
“You are teh Christeean. You hate teh SCIENCE cuz you believe teh Earth is 4,000 years old!”: Well, no. The notion that the Genesis story is literal fact on par with empirical observation is very, very new; its’ only been accepted by parts of Christendom for less than 200 years. The idea that the earth literally formed in seven days and that the listing of generations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy is, literally, a family tree that more or less precisely dates the universe would have seemed bizarre to Augustine and Aquinas.
There is, literally, nothing about an allegorical reading of the Genesis creation story that is at odds in any significant way with science.
Which is why critics like the ones I “quote” above – who are largely from the “lapsed Catholic with daddy issues” school of militant atheism – spend so much time bashing the “literalist” straw man. It invalidates the one little thread they connecting them to that feeling of superiority they crave.
“Often, you seem to come across as arrogant and condescending”: Toots, if I did bother wasting my precious time being arrogant to you, you’d be the last to figure it out.
“You say you’re a libertarian conservative – but there is no such thing! You must pick one or the other!”: No, I mustn’t.
American conservatism is built around several important ideas – including the idea that “new ideas have to pass a fairly stern burden of proof”.
Two of the ideas that American conservatives believe have passed that burden:
- Individual liberty is an intrinsically good thing.
- Without order, freedom is impossible
It’s one of those things that makes true intellectual conservatism so difficult; those are contradictory. True conservatives recognize the conundrum that exists between the two, and fight constantly to navigate it as unobtrusively as possible.
Without liberty, order is just tyranny. Without order, liberty is impossible – because to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the moral arc of history bends is long, but it bends toward barbarism.
That truism – and the conundrum – are the theme of a certain book that is on the market even as we speak!