Rescued from the drafts folder - I'm not sure I actually need an explicit policy, but what the heck; here it is anyhow. I wrote this in reaction to Glenn Greenwald's essay about right wing bloggers pouncing upon stupid commenters on Liberal blogs as "proof" of how vile the liberal bloggers are.
The smoke had barely cleared from the suicide bombing in Afghanistan this morning, near a base where Dick Cheney was located, when right-wing pundits -- whose sole expertise seems to be in exploiting terrorism-related issues for political gain -- began their attempt to politically exploit the attack on or near Cheney. Seemingly in unison, they all went digging deep into the comment sections of various liberal blogs, found inappropriate and hateful comments, and then began insisting that these isolated comments proved something.He goes on at some length to illustrate the obvious point that what a commenter on a blog post says may have little or correlation with what the blogger themselves were saying.
As indicated, comments can offer limited meaning and insight if an attempt is made to demonstrate that they are in some way connected to, or representative of, the content or principal viewpoints of the blog (e.g., a sentiment that is consistent with the blogger's views and expressed on a daily basis by a large portion of commenters in a moderated comments section). But what happened here -- trolling for the most shocking comments without any attempt to show they were representative of anything other than those commenters -- is a worthless exercise which, as Kevin's Law holds, enables one to do nothing other than "make exactly the opposite point" of the one sought to be proven.Of course, one has to distinguish between foolish and outright stupid. If one is Glenn Grenwald.
Pretty much any political speech involves arguing with fools. Whatever the party, the context or the topic. But then, that's why I'm not a political activist. I forgive you if you thought I was, but I'm an ethics blogger and a truth-teller. On a good day, when politics is going as it ideally should, I should offend everyone about equally. The fact that I simply don't have time to offend the left as much as the right does not mean anything other than the obvious; you don't worry about termites while the house is on fire.
One problem in our nation is that Democrats and other Liberals are still acting as if the current situation in the United States were a political issue, one that arose due to politics and one that can be addressed in that manner. I'm afraid Glenn believes that as well. It's not. It's about cheats, liars and outright traitors in office and in positions of influence who are willing to do and say anything to achieve their ends.
This attitude - supposedly expressed by Newt Gingrich, as told to Bill Clinton as "But if we didn't cheat, we couldn't win" is cancerous. If you have to cheat to win, you don't deserve it and you aren't qualified to have it. All around us we see the results of what happens when cheaters lie and steal their way into power. Aside from the ethics, aside from the illegalities, aside from whatever possibly treasonous and certainly contemptible alliances with offshore oil interests there may be - they have no qualifications other than a lifetime spent lying, cheating and stealing.These qualities are fit only for ruling a fantasy-land of self-delusion. they not apply well to real situations with real concerns. For instance, while you can lie yourself into a war, you cannot cheat your way to a victorious resolution. You can say "we are winning' every day, but the truth will speak louder than you. You can assert that "things are getting better in New Orleans, but a quick email to anyone there will put the lie to it.
Republicans - and by this I specifically include most of all their basement dwelling, Pajamas Media funded cheerleaders - are like the barking dog chasing the car. We now see what happens when the fool dog catches it.
And so does everyone else who takes three minutes to reality-check their stupidities.
I moderate my comments with two rules in mind: "No Spam and No Stupid Comments." I have a fine and unbiased approach to both; if you want me to write about something, email me and I probably will. Don't spam my threads with irrelevant comments. "Stupid" is a judgment call, of course, but it's like pornography; impossible to define but pretty easy to recognize.
Baseless assertions, appallingly bad grammar and spelling, uncritical acceptance of some authority as "truth," such as citing the Bible to "prove" that Global Warming isn't happening - these are things that will get your comment tossed. What will NOT get it tossed is an intelligent dissent from my point or the point maid by another commenter. I'm particularly impressed by facts, evidence and the ability to reason from first principles, no matter where it takes you, but I don't do stupid.