Monday, May 03, 2010

Capping a Flame

(fm the BC thread "Give My Regards to Broadway")

Just a quick comment that I think the Club is doing itself proud here. Even for those of us who have gotten frustrated with each other for wandering into the dead ends of blaming groups rather than behaviors I see a general desire to refocus. Marie Claude in her comment on the need to protect the cities and the different expectations the French had coming out of Algeria as compared to the more insular Americans offers what could be a good thread topic that brings us together. Youknowwho, and yes we do, is drawing a line between race, which is both undefined and immutable, and culture, which is learned and changeable. Yes he should have taken advantage of my proffered distinction between a defined expectation of support for some forms of pressure and undefined and open ended statements offering support to any 3rd parties acts in the name of pressure rather than resorting to personal criticism. That was especially true given a prior evocation of Baruch Goldstein that had prompted the issue. However it is best that we "Move on" and civilly debate how we can restore the great engine of cultural assimilation that did absorb millions of Chinese, Filipinos, Irish, Eastern and Southern Europeans. None of them would have been considered as "white" as the English, Scots and Germans who came to America. Also while I have I believe justifiably criticized peterike for defending a racial identifier, that is I think inimical to what most of us believe in, his current position @102 is even if one I disagree with expressed in terms that can be debated.

Finally 2x4 I am certainly open to criticism. My "flame on" was prompted by what I saw as an effort to hijack the blog for a racial perspective by an evocation of violence, the Goldstein reference, that is not only reprehensible on its face but which also could subject all of us to criticism and hurt our ability to effect the kinds of inquiry and change we desire. A gentleman should not be unintentionally rude but I thought the effort was justified in this case. That decision is of course debatable. The subsequent efforts by yourself, RWE, Bob and others are what I was hoping for.

Youknowwho ,
The parsing of the term "No one does harm ..," which is not a personal attack by me against you, is something that can be done to craft responses that serve all of our purposes. We all need editors in life. My original reaction to mac evoking Goldstein is also something that can be considered and either supported or criticized without disparaging my intent in raising the issue. We all communicate for a purpose. If the speech is likely to have results that are not desired then we need to shape the message better. If your goal is, as I believe in fairness to you it is, to raise in the public mind the idea that certain practices and beliefs are inimical to the free tolerant and creative culture that we cherish then it is very important that message be delivered in a way that does not result in those who have been raised in the majority culture and subject to decades of manipulation by the Left through the media and educational systems rejecting the message. This requires what I admittedly often lack in my own speech, precision and clarity.

We are I think much better off if someone reacts to a phrase that can be used to marginalize this community in the public mind by raising a flag and then debating the merits of doing so rather than ignoring it and waiting to see if some troll from LGF or Kos Kiddie etc either planted the offensive item or simply spots it and then goes elsewhere and begins using it to discredit us to the larger community. Now the worst that can happen if someone sees the phrases that set me off is they find a following debate about what a reference to Baruch Goldstein or the words "No one" means. That will bore most, reassure a couple who may choose to read further, and will probably do us no harm.

When I was a grad student we had a couple of ongoing workshops in International Relations theory. Famous visiting senior academics, as well as eager junior faculty on Job Talks and graduate students, would offer first drafts of their work. We snotty students would destroy them. It was like being part of the piranha pool. After a withering 40 minutes of being asked "What did you mean by ...?" and "Have you considered the work of ... that seems to contradict you?" our guests would always say one thing, "Thank you." Then we would retire to wine and cheese. Obama reacts to criticism by doubling down and attacking the critic. He is not only a poor POTUS but a lousy academic. We should I think see the Belmont Club as a place to fine tune our arguments.

Amazing that the Meno does translate into lucid English when so much written in English to start with resists explication. Those with a philological background might be able to provide a technical explanation. For the record I am all in favor of shoving little old ladies away from the path of oncoming buses, when needed.

Do you really expect me to take the time to read my stuff twice and rewrite it? I am providing fodder for everyone to riff off of. If I was an overweight Chinese peasant with a penchant for very young girls, mass murder, and mangled prose, I would get a huge public portrait and millions of devoted if befuddled acolytes.

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