Dispatches from the Creation Wars

In a response to my post on his ridiculous equation of private and public forums, mynym has taken his own already-established absurdity and raised it to a whole new level. In response to my statement that “The Constitution’s free speech provision applies to governments….”, he replies, “But a principle that the law is based on applies to all.” But he is obviously wrong. If someone came into your home and called your wife a whore, and you threw him out of your house, would you say that you have violated the principle of free speech? Of course not. If someone stood up in the middle of a restaurant and began screaming out a political speech and disturbing the other diners who are just there to eat their lunch, would the restaurant owner be violating the principle of free speech by removing the offending person from his restaurant? Again, of course not. If someone stood up in the middle of a church service and began to call the people there stupid and ignorant because of their religious beliefs, would the church be violating the principle of free speech by having him removed for disrupting a church service? Again the answer is, of course not. Because all sane people – a group my intrepid troll appears not to belong to – recognize that there is no principle of free speech that applies in someone else’s home or business or privately owned forum. They own it, and if you choose to go there, you implicitly agree to abide by their rules. If you choose not to do so, they have every right to remove you from their property and in doing so they do not violate any rational principle of free speech whatsoever. He then says:

Why even bother having a section for comments or dialogue if one only wants a monologue? He has his little yes men, that is certain. Left2Right does the same thing, and so does the Panda’s Thumb, all these Leftist blogs seem to censor.

Now here’s what is so funny about this. We have in fact banned very few people from commenting on PT, the latest being Great White Wonder. He is, in fact, on the same side of the evolution issue that we are at the Panda’s Thumb. So does the evidence really suggest that PT bans everyone but “yes men”? Quite the contrary. We have allowed numerous people to comment who are in fact quite obnoxious and quite opposed to us on the issues. If anything, we’ve shown far more leeway to the likes of Dave Springer, Salvador Cordova and even to mynym himself specifically because we don’t want to allow our disagreements with them to color our judgement. He continues:

The position that social Leftists come to is the exact opposite of the Founders. They seek to protect non-speech like pornography and do away with free political speech through the latest “reforms” in campaign finance and so on.

See, this is a perfect illustration of the absurdity of the argumentum ad labelum. He has labelled me a “leftist” and therefore assumed that I would support the violation of free speech through the recent campaign finance reforms. But in fact I have strongly opposed those reforms as unconstitutional in numerous posts on this blog over the last year and a half. I should also point out that even if his assumption was not completely false, it would still be a ridiculous thing to label those reforms as “leftist” given that Bush went to court during the campaign to go even further than the BCFRA did and also try to ban all soft money organizations from buying ads. But such facts are completely lost upon people like mynym, who simply are incapable of thinking beyond this simple left vs. right dichotomy. They just can’t go any deeper than argument by label.

It’s the social Leftists of the universities and the blogs Left2Right, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Panda’s Thumb, etc. It is a pattern right in the university itself, thanks to its Leftward tilt.

Isn’t it amusing that while responding to a post I made criticizing the leftward tilt in universities that results in hate speech codes, which I regard as completely unconstitutional, he still insists on grouping me in with the very people I oppose? Just a textbook example of how the mediocre mind gets trapped inside these false dichotomies and is incapable of extricating itself to see beyond the label.

This is of course a very common tactic among those who simply cannot help but portray themselves as persecuted martyrs. They act obnoxiously until someone finally tires of their antics and throws them out, then they dishonestly claim that they’ve been censored when in fact they’ve only been shown the door of a private forum as a justified response to their behavior.

On my own blog, I have banned very few people from commenting, while I have also engaged in long and drawn out discussions in both posts and comments with dozens of people with whom I disagree. And even while banning my last two trollers, Robert O’Brien and Mynym, I have also provided links to their blogs, wherein they exercise their constitutional right to speak their mind and call me names and the like. They have every right to do so, of course, and I would fight for that right. But that doesn’t mean I have to let them do it here, especially when someone is dropping dozens of messages in short periods of time to overwhelm the conversation. You have your own blog and I want very much for you to keep exercizing your right to free speech in your own forum because it provides me with a great deal of amusement. In the meantime, I will naturally continue to exercize my own right to free speech by mocking the shit out of you as you display your irrationality for all to see.

Comments

  1. #1 mist
    February 28, 2005

    YES!

    ^ ^

  2. #2 Red Right Hand
    February 28, 2005

    Actually Ed, I think there has been an occasional ban of IDists (?) over at Pandas Thumb. Remember Jerry, whose delusional posts on SLOT were so amusing (to some of us, at any rate). It was the unintended humor in those posts that make me wish the ban would be rescinded. God help me, I miss the crazy crank bastard!

  3. #3 Ed Brayton
    February 28, 2005

    Actually Ed, I think there has been an occasional ban of IDists (?) over at Pandas Thumb. Remember Jerry, whose delusional posts on SLOT were so amusing (to some of us, at any rate). It was the unintended humor in those posts that make me wish the ban would be rescinded. God help me, I miss the crazy crank bastard!

    I don’t recall this person or their banning. The point, though, is that we allow people to fill up the comments on PT with contrary points of view, in contrast to the DI blog, which doesn’t allow any comments at all. So the sheer irony of mynym claiming that “leftists” (though he actually hasn’t a clue what the political leanings of most of the PT contributors are, nor do I except in a few specific cases) always censor and want only yes men around.

  4. #4 J
    February 28, 2005

    So the sheer irony of mynym claiming that “leftists”…

    Shouldn’t that be “Leftists?”

    For some reason, capitalization of the Other and “scare quotes” are required among the professionally victimized.

  5. #5 Wesley R. Elsberry
    March 1, 2005

    The ISCID site went to a completely closed discussion board about ten months ago, with pretty much ISCID members being the folks allowed to post on it. The ARN discussion board has long pursued a heavy-handed “moderation” policy that has edited or removed inconvenient posts and banned a plethora of critics outright.

    PT, by contrast, applies remedies like banning sparingly.

  6. #6 raj
    March 1, 2005

    I understand that bloggers might not want to ban commenters too precipitously, but on some sites I have seen people obviously deliberately take over a thread and divert the attention from the subject of the post. Ad nauseum. I go to PandasThumb primarily for the science discussions, but almost invariably the comment threads become diverted by a couple of commenters away from science towards creationism. And the science-types respond to the diversion, and it snow-balls from there. It ruins the science discussion.

  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    March 1, 2005

    The ISCID site went to a completely closed discussion board about ten months ago, with pretty much ISCID members being the folks allowed to post on it. The ARN discussion board has long pursued a heavy-handed “moderation” policy that has edited or removed inconvenient posts and banned a plethora of critics outright.

    Damn leftist radical egalitarians!

  8. #8 David Velleman
    March 1, 2005

    mynym was indeed banned from Left2Right, because he became profane and abusive — not because of his political views. He is one of only two people who have ever been banned. The commenters on our site are most conservatives or libertarians who are sharply critical of the authors. Anyone who is willing to stick to the topic and respect the others is welcome to participate. The idea that we restrict anyone’s freedom of speech is absurd.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    March 2, 2005

    mynym was indeed banned from Left2Right, because he became profane and abusive — not because of his political views. He is one of only two people who have ever been banned. The commenters on our site are most conservatives or libertarians who are sharply critical of the authors. Anyone who is willing to stick to the topic and respect the others is welcome to participate. The idea that we restrict anyone’s freedom of speech is absurd.

    I don’t doubt that for a moment. Mynym is what the old usenet people would have called a “tar baby”. He’s strictly looking for attention by dropping volumes of obnoxious material in a forum. He wants to get banned so he can crow about it and display his martyr complex. There’s really only one way to handle a tar baby – ban them and mock them. Trying to actually engage them in a conversation is like trying to teach a card trick to a dog.