Archive for January 24th, 2009

Go Ahead…Make My Day…Again…Again…

| January 24, 2009 | 1 Reply
Go Ahead…Make My Day…Again…Again…

It’s like Clint Eastwood has come to town and all the bad guys are hiding under the tables or in closets. President Obama is striking down one stupid rule after another his predecessor left behind. It’s a martial arts level kung fu pen-fest, signing (or consigning) the detritus of ignorance from the last eight years into the dustbin of…

Well, he’s overturned the international gag rule concerning abortion information. He’s undoing the restrictions on stem cell research. He has ordered Gitmo shut down within a year and a panel to look into what to do with the detainees.

Before the vacillations of moral outrage erupt over the gag rule overturn, it should be considered how absurd and cowardly a ban on talking about something actually is. And I don’t mean from a national security perspective. Clearly, some information is sensitive in that sense and should not be publicly disseminated. But in the case of the gag rule, we’re talking about something that is, for all intents and purposes, Public Knowledge. If you know what to look for, anyone can find this information and not be arrested for having it. Yet grown men and women have been constrained from talking about it in the performance of their duties as doctors and nurses.

What part of “choice” do the enemies of choice not understand?

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Comments that sour conversation: free speech versus censorship

| January 24, 2009 | 4 Replies
Comments that sour conversation: free speech versus censorship

Most of us seek a mutual exchange of ideas in our conversations, but not all of us. Most of us are open to the possibility of intellectual change, but not all of us.

We get many comments at this site, most of them thoughtful, many of them really challenging to my pre-conceived beliefs. I revel in those challenging comments.

In the past few months, though, I have struggled with how much leash to give to several visitors to this blog even though they tried to A) monopolize the conversation, B) preach, C) impose their favorite two issues upon every post, and D) ignore clearly-stated bona fide points made by others. In addition to using these ignorant and aggressive tactics many of these comments clearly have their facts wrong (some claimed that Obama is a terrorist; others claimed that God Himself wrote the Bible in King James English).

When these sorts of people join in-person real-time conversations, almost all of us employ similar strategies. We extricate ourselves from those conversations so that we can join some other conversation. We also take steps to avoid spending time in the same room with those sorts of people on future occasions.

A blog is not exactly a conversation, but it is a lot LIKE a conversation. What, then, should a moderator do when conversation-killers attempt to roost at a blog? For many months, I’ve struggled with this question.

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