Regrettably over the last few months the tone of the debate in my favorite blog the Belmont Club has markedly deteriorated. It still has some of the best commentary around but it has also proved fertile grounds for those who engage in hateful speech of the kind that might be expected to come from agents provocateurs seeking to discredit the forum and prevent the kind of thorough and critical analysis of controversial topics that made the blog so influential. I have sent several messages to the blog owner, Richard Fernandez regarding my concerns but the problem only gets worse. Today I sent him the following;
Richard,How did this happen? It began with what seemed like a harmless tendency of some commentators late at night on old threads to start trading war stories and then to begin discussing firearms and weaponry. Over the Summer it became increasingly to dominate some of the conversation along with what can only be described as militia sentiment. One frequent commentator engaged in periodic confrontational behavior with anyone who questioned his conclusions, based on prior service in the Marines and the CIA. This rose to a level of bullying that made female participants feel uncomfortable and stop participating. Several of the other prominent commentators, notably physicians, who had brought professional level skills to the discussion also drifted away. At the same time another commentator was forcing every problem into a narrow frame of study based on his theory of Western female infatuation with authoritarian Islamic Black or Socialist culture. Still the level of discussion generally remained high. I was concerned that we may be subjected to manipulation by either an overt Kremlin apologist FSB 'minder' or Serb apologists eager to advocate violence. On several occasions though wretchard (Richard Fernandez) closed a thread to discourage some people from advocating violence. Without clear statements as to why the thread had closed though they remained undiscouraged.
The blog is completely out of control. I came to a place where a man from the Philippines had created a place where Blacks Whites and Asians cooperated in doing very sophisticated analysis. Now most of those people are gone and we have one person with wild mood swings calling for the extermination of over a billion human beings, and calling any interest in a more focused approach as "cowardly," and another openly stating that white people's 'national socialism' is OK. That last in response to not some left wing apologia but rather a rather daring analysis of the way that racist socialism can prove a trojan horse for Islamism and the dangers of current immigration policy. This gets no rebuke from the commentators or the blog owner. It wounds me deeply because I have poured much of my time effort and creativity into the Club. As it is now these people are simply a quotes mine for anyone from the far left seeking to discredit and demonize us. Everything I know about you and what you believe in tells me that you are better than this.
Write me when it isn't a support group for hate speech.
In the last few weeks the problems have accelerated. Some of this comes from people eager for an existential confrontation between America and Islam, some for people not so much calculating how to survive a systemic collapse as eager to see a post-apocalyptic America in which politicians are hung from streetlights. Their tone became shrill as they counseled despair before the confluence of domestic subversion, Russian intrigue and rising Islam. This was used to disparage all formal analysis and denigrate anyone attempting such analysis, in favor of calls for existential confrontation and the elimination of all enemies and their host communities, both foreign and domestic. Two days ago I sent wretchard the following;
Richard I am getting depressed. We are at a critical juncture. It is my hope that our efforts in the Belmont Club get read and make a difference. I do not want to throw in the towel. The accelerating domination of the blog by people steeped in self pity and defeatism is driving out many of the old commentators who brought a higher level of discourse to the forum. The claims of inevitable disaster are a mutually reinforcing chorus of panic used to shout down critical analysis and then justify calls for genocidal gotterdamerung. Theirs is not an exploration of a policy alternative but an abandonment of all analysis in a flight into an emotional tantrum. We should not need to fear a knock on the door because we have contributed to a blog in which one prominent contributor swings between fawning apologies and blood curdling calls for mass murder. If the problem was being instigated by intruders from the far left seeking to discredit us it would be easier to deal with.It is a tragedy if the hard work that Richard Fernandez has put into what for my nickel has been the best community supported political blog around is compromised by a few racists and violence fetishists. His vision of free people from all backgrounds learning to appreciate the gifts of liberty and the fruits of Western civilization is one that I support. It is my belief that despite many dark days ahead, days that may even include the necessity of regretfully resorting to some actions that a few want to resort to preemptively, the most creative and tolerant culture and economic system in human history will survive and triumph over the forces of fear and ignorance.
You once speculated about creating a second site off of PJM for people to discuss practical matters. Perhaps if you did and then ruled that all discussions of personal weapons and calls for their use will be moved to there it might help. That would not eliminate the problem of calls to use nuclear weapons to exterminate over a billion human beings.
In some distress,
Over the last two years the Little Green Footballs blog, which was always more of a popular chat room then a place for serious analysis, crumbled into a left wing front. The compromising of the Belmont Club by socialists of the right would be far more intellectually serious.