Last 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.