And in This Corner…

BoxersLast Saturday’s post featuring Westerner’s prescription for what to do about Islam caused some real contention in the comments. Within twenty-four hours the thread had turned into a real knock-down drag-out fight, which has continued up to today.

In a recent comment on the post, latté island deplored the situation, and asked me to mediate. Below is a slightly revised version of my reply:

I can’t mediate with people who don’t want mediation. Medication might be better than mediation.

And before any specific person takes offense, I was not referring to you in that last joke. It was just supposed to be funny. We could use some humor around here right now.

The problem with mediating this scuffle is this: we have laid down four basic rules about discourse here at Gates of Vienna, and if people adhere to them, then I’m honor bound to allow the discussion to continue.

Admittedly, commenters on this thread have tiptoed up to the boundary and poked their fingers across it, but I’d rather let it slide and see where the discussion goes than derail it by deleting comments and admonishing the perpetrators.

My position has been, and remains, that infighting amongst people who are basically on the same side is a terrible mistake and does us grievous harm. The energy expended on it could be more usefully invested in the task at hand.

And I’m not talking about simple disagreement — I thrive on disagreement. I’m referring to a series of pointless activities, including:

– – – – – – – –

1.   Denigrating one another’s intelligence.
2.   Applying loaded labels — liberal, PC, etc. — to one another.
3.   Mind-reading — presuming to know the secret motives for another person’s position.
4.   Being thin-skinned — insisting on taking offense at others who may only be disagreeing with you using a less-than-optimum amount of tact.
5.   Arguing the inarguable — failing to see that not all disagreements can be resolved, and that we will have to either live with the tension of disagreement or splinter into subgroups. A prominent example is the existence or non-existence of God. You can argue one side or the other for a thousand years — and people have — but the issue cannot be settled by argument. Many of our issues here are the same: they are not logically demonstrable, and their resolution cannot be determined by reason.

Unfortunately, every time I make the above points in a post, it causes commenters to jump into the pit and start punching each other in the snoot.

Why? I don’t know. I presume there are some people who just love a fight.

And, based on our recent traffic, there are evidently thousands of people who don’t want to join a fight, but love to watch one.

As a result, I’m of two minds. This is all ugly and unpleasant, but it seems to be good for business.

So — I’m ready to hand out more boxing gloves. Here, take a pair.

14 thoughts on “And in This Corner…

  1. Uh oh. You say:

    And, based on our recent traffic, there are evidently thousands of people who don’t want to join a fight, but love to watch one.

    As a result, I’m of two minds. This is all ugly and unpleasant, but it seems to be good for business.

    Trolls gonna be after you for being a traffic prostitute. Silent trolls (on-lookers) gonna snicker (I can still use “snicker”, at least until the candy company makes me quit. It’s “snigger” that is no longer allowed. So I won’t use “snigger).

    Just so you know you in a heapa trouble, boy.

  2. To me the endless personal arguments are completely boring and useless. I wonder if there is some way to have a “aggressive posters” side and a “thoughful posters” side. I’m genuinely interested in many of the topics discussed here but find that the interesting comments are drowned under a deluge of teh same ‘usual suspects’ who insist on shouting, arguing and carrying on like drunks in a bar at 1:00 AM.

    At some point it appears to me the real desire of these posters is to hijack an otherwise interesting thread and turn it into something All About Me. “Conservative Swede” is particularly guilty of this, as are several others.

    Couldn’t you just give them their own seperate thread after posting a topic and direct them there? Kind of like the difference between the bar and the restaurant when you go out.

    I think the lots of lurkers is due to people not wanting to venture into the angry, personal, off-topic discussions – it’s not a good sign.

  3. I’ll cross-post my comment from the “What Can We Do” thread.

    The problem with mediating this scuffle is that we have laid down four basic rules about discourse at our blog, and if people adhere to them, then I’m honor bound to allow the discussion to continue.

    And you deserve nothing but the highest praise for it. Few other sites permit such freedom of expression, especially with respect to Politically Incorrect thought. You perform an invaluable service in that even the most radical—or, in some cases, ill-thought-out—ideas can undergo scrutiny and evaluation.

    Thus, you help stimulate thinking processes that otherwise might never occur for some individuals. Additionally, certain significant issues and concepts are given a chance to incubate that is often denied them at less scholarly or fair-minded sites.

    One superb example of this was how a discussion of Europe’s relatively unarmed population inspired some American gun owners to establish channels whereby individuals from the Continent could travel here in order to receive arms handling and live-fire training.

    Just that one active anti-jihad effort could save numerous lives if Europe devolves into a violent civil war. In an analogous vein, your site also provides bandoliers of mental ammunition for those who agitate against Islam’s colonization of the West.

    I have nothing but admiration for your work. Let the show go on.

    (Note: The foregoing in no way seeks to dismiss Dymphna‘s own valuable contributions at this splendid site.)

    Dymphna: It’s “snigger” that is no longer allowed. So I won’t use “snigger

    The new, Politically Correct, term is “snigroe”.

  4. I have followed the comment discussions very carefully and really have not been offended by any of the positions adopted by the “sides” . This has been one of the best examples of the freedom of speech that is allowed on this site . Long may the Baron host such an intellectually stimulating site , and thank you for not mediating .

  5. I find the arguments interesting on the first day. But then it just drags on and on day after day point after counterpoint. It begins to resemble a dog chasing his tail until the boxers fall from exhuastion and it is called a draw.

    Sometimes I wish these warriors would take their battles to a video conference so at least I could watch with a bucket of popcorn. I guess it is just the Roman in me.

  6. Baron,

    Within twenty-four hours the thread had turned into a real knock-down drag-out fight, which has continued up to today.

    I completely disagree with this description. Instead this has been one of the best discussion threads ever at this site. It’s virtually been a mini-conference of anti-jihadist around the West. And many important points and conclusions have been made. And the first 72 hours there was no fighting whatsoever.

    Surely there has been one person who has derailed from the good debate. And he dragged far too much attention with him about it. Remove him from the equation and it has been the most splendid debate imaginable. So I second what The Doctor just said above.

    Your sweeping broadside at the commenters of that thread with your five points becomes a gross mischaracterization of what happened in that thread. It would be more fair if you came up with concrete examples for each of the five points, and it will become clear that it was just a tiny minority who engaged in such things.

  7. Swede —

    A couple of things.

    First of all, “a knock-down drag-out fight” and “one of the best discussion threads ever” are not mutually exclusive descriptions of the same set of comments. I actually like the big arguments, at least when I’m watching from a ringside seat, as opposed to hanging off the ropes bleeding from both nostrils.

    It’s only the pointless parts — the 5 points I mentioned — that bother me.

    And as for who derailed the thread, or acted childishly, or grossly mischaracterized — do you think it would be useful to me to be specific? By naming one or more perops, would I achieve anything other than to ignite another round of flame wars?

    I prize the work done by most of the commenters on these threads, and I’ll wager that all of those included know who I mean when I say that.

  8. Baron:

    ” I actually like the big arguments, at least when I’m watching from a ringside seat, as opposed to hanging off the ropes bleeding from both nostrils.”

    Yeah…that can suck. Much better to hide behind the bar and help yourself to some free samples.
    (And keep the donnybrook going by tossing a few full beer bottles into the midst of the melee occasionally…remember that Fuzz won’t arrest the fellows passed out drunk on the floor behind the bar).

    I found it interesting that the discussion got within hailing distance of St.Paul, but no-one apparently docked at the thing that Paul was indisputably most succesful at:
    Proselytization and evangelization
    as a response to the Islamic challenge.

  9. I haven’t read the comments on the topic under discussion here, so I’ll keep to generalities on blog/forum arguments. Other’s may disagree with my take, or offer corrections.

    1. This blog deals with an issue that is, in a very real sense, a survival issue. Most that comment here understand that, at least at the sub-emotional (gut) level.

    Such issues that directly, or indirectly, impact on a persons’/culture/society/nations’ survival tend to be hard issues to discuss with intellectual dispassion. Such dispassion is, ultimately dishonest, anyway, in such issues. Survival matters. Survival is a passionate issue.

    2. In written communications, there is no ability to see or hear what the other is saying. You can only read his/her words. Verbal intensity/intonation and visual cues that are a huge part of face to face communications are not available. This leads to written communications becoming more linear and hyperbolic as arguments and/or passionate discussions progress.

    Vocal intensity/intonation and body language become replaced by words and phrases used to get the “hear what I’m saying” “can’t you see what I mean?” messages across that are not present in communications limited to only writing.

    3. Long term exposure to aggressive leftist propaganda efforts have lead many of us to near the brink of capitulation due to argument fatigue. This is a natural process for “reasonable people” to go through and is the foundation of long term hostile propaganda successes. It is a process of submission by slow degree with either an eventual full capitulation or simple surrender of the field of contest by withdrawal.

    Reactions to this tend toward the more jingoistic as a defensive measure. That is also a natural response. The closer a person gets to the point of failure by argument fatigue on an issue of considerable importance to that person, the more aggressively simplified his/her arguments will become. Short phrases and declarations of purpose with little to no consideration for minor points of difference is as natural a fall-back for the worn and tired, as is a fortified position for a soldier in a similar situation.

    For some, this is only a temporary refuge condition. Used only while they “rearm and reequip” for the continued fight. For others, it is a last stand prior to surrender or full retreat from the field.

    4. Many of us involved in this battle have, at least temporarily, been beaten down by argument fatigue. It is natural for such persons, to adopt a much less tolerant attitude toward the small concessions that were noticed by him/herself during his/her retreat phase. Equivocation is the first step along the road to capitulation. This is an understanding that is often developed by those who recover from a retreat or withdrawal.

    While such aggressiveness can serve as a support for the flagging and tattered that are nearing their own point of fatigue, it can also serve as an overly rigid demand for a set doctrine that is not flexible enough to meet and successfully oppose the enemies own evolutions and adjustments.

    5. When the issue is of the deepest psychological/emotional importance as is survival, many discussions devoid of verbal conflict are either deceitful or disingenuous. It is extremely rare in such issues for everyone to be sufficiently “on the same page” in all things to avoid some heated and aggressive communications. This is true even in face to face communications.

  10. Zeke,

    At some point it appears to me the real desire of these posters is to hijack an otherwise interesting thread and turn it into something All About Me. “Conservative Swede” is particularly guilty of this, as are several others.

    It’s unclear what you mean by hijacking, can you explain? What I did was to engage at the center of the debate and at the center of its theme. How’s that possibly hijacking?

    “He hijacked the debate, he was completely on-topic!”

    “He hijacked the debate, he contributed with his own arguments and conclusions. Very bad!”

    “He hijacked the debate, he had constructive exchanges with several other parties and even managed to convince them about some of his points.”

    How do you mean exactly?

    And “All About Me”? C’mon, that’s ridiculous. Where in that thread did I write about me at all?

    Zeke, when you make these sort of claims and there is no backing for it, the only message that goes through is your dislike of the person.

  11. This will fix Islam in the US anyway-

    Thursday, February 08, 2007
    A Proposed Constitutional Amendment
    Background and justification to Amendment 28

    Whereas Religion is defined as an institution dedicated to improving social conscience and promoting individual and societal spiritual growth in a way that is harmless to others not participating in or practicing the same;

    Whereas the United States of America was founded on the ideals of individual rights, including the individual right to practice one’s religion of choice, or no religion, and that there would be no compulsion of religion, nor state sanctioned religion, nor a “religious test” for participation in the body politic;

    Whereas Islam includes a complete political and social structure, encompassed by its religious law, Sharia, that supersedes any civil law and that Islam mandates that no secular or democratic institutions are to be superior to Islamic law;

    Whereas Islam preaches that it and it alone is the true religion and that Islam will dominate the world and supplant all other religions and democratic institutions;

    Whereas Saudi Arabia, the spiritual home of Islam does not permit the practice of any other religion on its soil and even “moderate” Muslims states such as Turkey and Malaysia actively suppress other religions;

    Whereas Islam includes as its basic tenet the spread of the faith by any and all means necessary, including violent conquest of non-believers, and demands of its followers that they implement violent jihad (holy war) against those un-willing to convert or submit to Islam, including by deception and subversion of existing institutions;

    Whereas on 9/11/2001 19 Muslim hijackers acting in the name of Islam killed 3,000 Americans, and numerous other acts of terrorism have been directed at the American people around the world;

    Whereas representatives of Islam around the world including Osama Bin Laden (architect of 9/11), the government of Iran including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, HAMAS, Hezbollah, and other Islamic groups have declared jihad (war) on America, and regularly declare that America should cease to exist;

    Whereas there is no organized Islamic opposition to violent proponents of Islam;

    Therefore: Islam is not a religion, but a political ideology more akin to Fascism and totally in opposition to the ideals of freedom as described in the United States Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights.

    Be it resolved that the following Amendment to the Constitution be adopted:

    Article I

    The social/political/ideological system known around the world as Islam is not recognized in the United States as a religion.

    The practice of Islam is therefore not protected under the 1st Amendment as to freedom of religion and speech.

    Article II

    As representatives of Islam around the world have declared war, and committed acts of war, against the United States and its democratic allies around the world, Islam is hereby declared an enemy of the United States and its practice within the United States is now prohibited.

    Article III

    Immediately upon passage of this Amendment all Mosques, schools and Muslim places of worship and religious training are to be closed, converted to other uses, or destroyed. Proceeds from sales of such properties may be distributed to congregations of said places but full disclosure of all proceeds shall be made to an appropriate agency as determined by Congress. No compensation is to be offered by Federal or State agencies for losses on such properties however Federal funding is to be available for the demolishing of said structures if other disposition cannot be made.

    The preaching of Islam in Mosques, Schools, and other venues is prohibited. The subject of Islam may be taught in a post high school academic environment provided that instruction include discussion of Islam’s history of violence, conquest, and its ongoing war on democratic and other non-Islamic values.

    The preaching or advocating of Islamic ideals of world domination, destruction of America and democratic institutions, jihad against Judaism, Christianity and other religions, and advocating the implementation of Sharia law shall in all cases be punishable by fines, imprisonment, deportation, and death as prescribed by Congress. Violent expressions of these and other Muslim goals, or the material support of those both in the United States and around the world who seek to advance these Islamic goals shall be punishable by death.

    Muslims will be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States.

    Article IV

    Nothing in this amendment shall be construed as authorizing the discrimination against, of violence upon, nor repudiation of the individual rights of those Americans professing to be Muslim. The individual right of conscience is sacrosanct and the practice of Islam within the privacy of home and self is strictly protected to the extent that such individuals do not violate the prohibitions described in Article III.

    Originally posted at –

  12. I think it most interesting that the 2 most contentious topics at GoV in the past year involved other blogs (LGF and VFR) and that each of those blogs have such drastically different commenting policies in contrast to commenting policy here at GoV. Both CJ and Auster’s policies limit who posts and what is said by readers. These limitations restrict discussion at the respective sites so when either site, or their owners’, become a topic of discussion, the volume and intensity of the comments increase at GoV.

    BTW- I didn’t realize Saturday’s Post was still active after it fell off the main page on Thursday. I just added the 187th comment.

  13. UsorThem: I just added the 187th comment.

    Does anyone else find it remarkable that—like other similarly themed posts—this latest exercise in “Thinking the Unthinkable” has one of the highest (non-troll driven), comment counts?

    Note: Please refrain from any hair-splitting about what constitutes a “troll”.

    I’ll repeat, it is to this site’s everlasting credit that such topics are given a thorough airing. I’ve seen few other fora that have the mettle for such grueling exchanges.

  14. I went and re-read the entire thread. I agree my comments about your role were off base. I apologize for saying you hijacked the thread. It was poster Tannsafal who first hijacked the thread from being about Islam to a recitation of his exceedingly typical anti-semetic rant, and a personal attack on Lawrence Auster. (You at least took your personal attack on Lawrence Auster to it’s own link. Well done.)

    To me that is a classic hijack. And I am sure every problem needs to have “the Jewish problem” inserted into it in the mind of Tanstaafl. It was the arrival of grotesque anti-semitism on the thread that mostly drove me off.

    I would say you dominated the discussion, but as you point out your posts were on topic and didn’t involve ad-hominem attacks.

    Of the 194 posts on that thread 45 are yours, by my rough count.

    I don’t dislike you, as I don’t know you. I have only read your posts here and they have not been of the type to make me dislike you.

    I did not post my comment out of some pre-conceived dislike of Conservative Swede, but rather because you were the loudest, tallest kid involved in the fracas, so you stood out.


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