Friday, January 04, 2008


means generally to disagree: to disagree with a widely held or majority opinion.

More specifically, it is applied to a refusal to support religious practices, to refuse to conform to the authority, doctrines, or practices of an established church, or its more modern stepbrother, ideology.

It always takes me by surprise how fragile is the confidence that some people have in their beliefs. So much so that they cannot tolerate any dissenting views with any show of equanimity or even lip-service to Democratic exchange.

I have ventured into some dens of Beyond-Utopia Lefties, only to be asked pointedly and insultingly to leave. They have a very short fuse there for anyone who has a kind word to say about Israel, or does not accept their racist, tortured definitions of antisemitism.

I thought I would keep a record of these encounters:

1. Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and Fascism: Challenges for Anti-Capitalists

I have better things to do than engage in conversation with people who express no solidarity with me or my ideas. (Mike)

2. Dr Hirsh sings Come all ye faithful!

Anyway, for all your complaints about my mindset, my avoidance of your "points" which themselves are avoidances of mine and other people's, I have given you far more time and space than you deserve so unless you address some specifics I have raised or that Ernie has raised then I'm done with you now. (Mark Elf)

3. Eurovision scandal

I did surmise that you believe the propaganda about what Ahmedinejad said about ‘wiping Israel off the map’ which I’ve addressed elsewhere, and about Hamas and Hizballah, which also wish to see the end of the Jewish state. I surmised that you accept the profoundly antisemitic doctrine that any attack on Israel is a mortal threat to the Jewish people.

It was from points 4 and 5, along with your reference to the Honest Reporting site that I understood your views to be extreme.

I’m definitely not going to reiterate stuff about why the two state ‘solution’ is racist and solves nothing. I probably shouldn’t be responding to you at all, as your posts are likely to suffer the fate of other trollery.

I'll update the list as I remember other incidents. Note how the tolerance of any position that does not accept the premises of these blogs is deemed trollery, extremism, etc.

Mike, of The sojourner, was the most honest in explicitly refusing to engage with me because I do not share his dogma. The others pretend that theirs is a model for civilized, knowledgeable, open discussion.

Malign ideologies have to insulate themselves completely. Any exchange with a representative of an opposing view is regarded as contamination, with all the contempt that accrues to this condition.

In his article "The Polarization of Extremes", CASS R. SUNSTEIN makes the case that:

The Internet makes it easy for people to create separate communities and niches, and in a free society, much can be said on behalf of both. They can make life a lot more fun; they can reduce loneliness and spur creativity. They can even promote democratic self-government, because enclaves are indispensable for incubating new ideas and perspectives that can strengthen public debate. But it is important to understand that countless editions of the Daily Me can also produce serious problems of mutual suspicion, unjustified rage, and social fragmentation — and that these problems will result from the reliable logic of social interactions.

The difference between the first, benign state of affairs and the latter, malignant one, is the type of participants, and the degree of free thinking that they enjoy. When a free discussion takes place, ideas constantly challenged and genuinely discussed, the circle of amity grows and strengthens democracy. The idea is to pull more people into the circle, in order to keep the flow of fresh thinking, unusual linguistic formulations, different types of knowledge. The opposite, which Sunstein warns against, are the kinds of discursive communities I listed above, which draw their energy from a limited number of like-minds, who get entrenched in fear and dogmatic thinking, resulting in the isolationism of a Utopian community wit all the evils that this kind of inbreeding can yield: When practiced repeatedly, it often leads to a reduction in diversity and democratic bonhomie.


At 4:44 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments to Mike are amazing! Made my dad.

At 4:45 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make that day, not dad. =)


Post a Comment

<< Home