Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I should have known better 

I have to agree with Benjamin: "what a sad devolution". I knew posting this would lead to some trolling and counter-trolling, but the volume and vitriol are amazing. I'd invite those commenters to re-read this symposium from the Center for the American Experiment. A taste:
One explanation was offered by journalist Michael Barone at an American Experiment forum in 1998, when he argued that �politics more often splits Americans on cultural than on economic lines.� As a prime example, he pointed to abortion. Moral issues of this sort, he went on to say, �engage and mobilize people and keep them fighting.� This, in turn, �has led to a politics in which people defend their niches fiercely against people whom they know little. . . . In the process, we get fierce attacks on politicians. People feel justified because they believe the moral stakes are high.�
You folks write things to each other you could never say to one's face. I've met at least two of the vitriolic commenters, and they are not the people you think they are from the comments. Yet they persist in this behavior. Why? Is it just the impersonality of the web, or is it because we just have decided to have a meaner politics in this decade?

In passing, a very short answer to Eric: where would we stop if we started to call on every person who says a cross word about someone else to repent and turn away? Would it be fair for me to take some incendiary post on DKos and then demand that Sen. Clark denounce it because she posts a diary there? It's a false and illogical argument you make. It's a tired game that no thinking person would play. "I'll take that as a no," I can hear you saying. Yes, it is. What you decide to do with that no says much more about you than me.

Let's end on a humorous note. Call it your knucklehead declaration:

You may post only once in comments, and your only comment may be "I have been a turrible knucklehead." All other comments will be deleted.