"" Running Rabbit: Pushing Back Against Those Threatened By Anonymous Commentators

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pushing Back Against Those Threatened By Anonymous Commentators

I spoke on this subject recently. My opinion has not changed.

Today I found a call for eliminating anonymity from a letter writer and a blogger in my local newspaper.  I had to respond.

The posting I found was in response to, and in sympathy with, a recent letter to the editor.  I left a comment at the responder's posting, she has since told me she agrees with me, now, completely. A rare concession, and one I much appreciate.

Here is what I said to Annette:

OP writes:
If you can't see the problems possible to posters if they must use their real names then your sight is short. And, while no sensible person appreciates the awful comments you complain about, letting them speak is the price we pay for free speech in this country. It is our duty to discern between the appropriate commentators and those who foment with inappropriate language/conduct just as we must discern the honesty and value of everything we are presented. Just as you must discern whether my opinion on this matter has merit.
Whereas requiring all commentators to be identified can lead to an opportunity to challenge the offender directly, it does not filter who undertakes the challenging. And it does not guarantee that the same loony goofballs who make the senseless comments you abhor will not take offense and revenge upon a sensible poster with whom they disagree. Further, the sensible poster will know that their comments could put them in peril from persons both known and unknown and would then self-censor their speech for fear of awkward encounters with associates and family, employer retaliation, stranger danger, and so on, thereby suppressing free speech among the good, by the good. And we all lose when that happens.
I say allow people their screen identities. And, ignore those who insist on being jerks.
I didn't stop there though, and a visit to the site where the thread originated lead me to completely blow my top.

Here is what I told the letter writer who calls herself  Norma Henning:

OP writes:
Norma, your post is so filled with the buzz words of the politically correct that I found it offensive in itself. I have not read, nor will I now read, the comments or the article you cite, but based on my reading of your mindset it wouldn't surprise me that you would continue to rail against those you accuse even if proof that their positions and characterizations were correct.
Anyone still using the phrase "hate speech" is today suspect. Suspected of being a lemming for the feel good. That is to say that what is really important to you is that you take positions which make you feel you are correct so that you can feel good about yourself. If you act disturbed by some string of language everyone must also be disturbed so that you feel good, and you belong.
You concern yourself with the insensitivity of unflattering metaphors and ignore the real issue at discussion. And, there is a metaphor for such people, it is said that they can't see the forest for the trees! The trees is the rhetoric you attach to as the foe you must banish in order to feel good about yourself. The forest is the greater issue which inspired the rhetoric and requires thought. For instance, you worry about what people call illegal immigrants but you don't worry about, or think toward, a solution for stemming illegal immigration. Do you?
You latch fast to terms like "hate speech", "victims", and "language" as though they have specific and universal meaning, when deep inside you know they are flexible and at your disposal as weapons in your quest to be important, even if your usage is not consistent, even if their usage is unavailable to those who do not believe as you do. (If Loves BS or Junkyarddog now accuses you of hate speech against them would you even listen to their reasoning? I doubt it. I, on the other hand, would reason through their position before judging it one way or the other.)
You accuse the NDN of allowing presentation of your favorite foe, (of the moment), for what reasons? Profit, you wonder. Collusion, you wonder. Irresponsibility you charge! And, your solution?
Your solution is to discover the identity of those who say the supposedly offending words so that... so that what? What then? Will you go after them? Your proxies will reproach them? How do you figure that it will go?
Let me tell you what I think will happen when anonymity is abolished; free speech will be stifled. People who think instead of feel their way through life will be at risk from the feel gooders. Those who think, those who behave well, will be afraid to express many of their correct thinking for fear that the feel gooders in their lives will take revenge. And, all the while, the feel gooders will be self-affirming how just and good they are even as they destroy the best of our society. Quit your vengeance, let people speak!
Grow a thicker skin, look beyond your present limits, quit running other's lives, and have a Merry Christmas.
 I was most harsh, was I not? Well, if I am guilty of being mean, so be it. She appears determined to be nice, and sometimes mean is the best antidote for the ambition of niceness. 

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