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Thursday: May 18, 2006

Crooked Timber, Missing Comment

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:24 PM UTC

Over the last year or two, I’ve wasted far too many hours arguing in the comment sections of other blogs when I should be posting here. For instance, for the last couple of days I have tried to argue with the trolls infesting the comments in this thread at Crooked Timber, to little avail. Since my last comment there has been “in moderation” for over 24 hours now, I’m posting it here verbatim.

Please do not comment on it here unless you have actually read the entire thread over there: my comment is not so intemperate as it looks when read in context. And don’t miss the irony of comment 96, where someone calling himself ‘Space’ extols the “respect” I have been given to “air [my] opinions” (he means my arguments) on Crooked Timber, alleges (falsely) that I once banned him here for no good reason, and confidently asserts that I “would never tolerate a thread like this” on my blog. That can easily be tested. Please note that comments are moderated, so they may take up to 8 hours to appear (I have to sleep). I generally delete only for obscenity, rudeness, and bald-faced lies. Let’s see if ‘Space’ and his friends can meet that minimal standard. Here is what I tried to post last night: the “eight comments” in the first sentence are numbers 95-102:

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Another day, another eight comments. Let’s see how the monkeys are doing:

Lemuel Pitkin (101) “do[es]n’t wish harm on anyone serving in Iraq”, but does hope that the military “cracks up and melts”. That’s like not wishing anyone will lose his job while hoping that GM or MicroSoft or AT&T goes bankrupt. You can’t have one without the other, and your pious wish is obviously insincere. The fact is that the military will not and cannot “meltdown” or “crack” without losing the current war, which is to say without the deaths of thousands more soldiers and tens or hundreds of thousands more civilians (I mean the Iraqis that would be left to the mercies of Zarqawi and the Ba’athist holdouts).

PBG (95) asks “who decided that you wouldn’t go to Iraq? What branch of the military assigned you this duty?” That would be all of them. I’m 53, and was far over the age-limit for military service on 9/11/01. Not that I expect anyone here to apologize for calling me a ‘chickenhawk’. PBG might want to try rereading the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of comment 44: unless you have put your life on the line for something you believe in, you have no moral right to criticize anyone else for not doing so. Most of the left claims to have supported the liberation of Afghanistan. In October 2001 it looked like that would take hundreds of thousands of troops, 5+ years, and thousands of dead American soldiers to accomplish. (That’s certainly what the Russian experience suggested.) I was as surprised as everyone else at how quickly the Taliban collapsed. So how many lefties joined the service in October 2001? I believe the answer is zero.

Jade (100) doesn’t seem to realize that ‘neoconservative’ has more than one meaning, and that she can’t just pick the one that makes her look right and me look wrong. Just as ‘classical music’ sometimes covers only Haydn, Mozart, and their contemporaries, and sometimes includes everything from Monteverdi to John Adams, ‘neoconservatism’ sometimes refers to a small but influential group of former Trotskyists like Irving Kristol, and sometimes refers to what I like to call ‘paleoliberals’, the people who were called liberals back when today’s liberals were still called socialists, and who now comprise the bulk of the Republican party along with a Democrat or two. She insists on the broader meaning, though Bruce Baugh and Dr. Righteous clearly meant the narrower one. It’s easy to tell which is which: when people mention roots in the “Communist left” or use the adjective “Straussian”, they’re talking about the ex-Trotskyists, who, as I said, have nothing to do with this thread.

Space (96) claims that I banned him from my site for some inoffensive comments, though he can’t seem to recall whether there were one or two, what subject they were on, what year this happened, or anything at all about them. Perhaps he has me confused to with some other blogger. Or perhaps he is a liar. I’ve only banned a dozen commenters in all the years I’ve blogged, all but one for either repeated lies or gross obscenities. (The other one posted 16 pages of Chomsky blather as a single comment.) I don’t believe any of them called himself ‘space’.

Space also sneers at those who refuse to make any sacrifice for the war, giving as one example “buying smaller cars”, as if that were a devastating retort that I couldn’t possibly answer. I’ve only owned two cars in my life, an ’83 2-door Sentra with a manual transmission and no radio or a/c (not very pleasant for 6 1/2 years in Tuscaloosa), and a ’95 2-door Tercel, also manual, bought used in 1997 when the Sentra died. I think I’m doing my share on the mileage front, even if Space feels entitled to assume that anyone right of center must own multiple gas-guzzlers.

Finally, Space insists that Roger’s wish for an Army “meltdown” is extremely rare on the left. On this thread, the score is now three in favor (Roger, abb1, Lemuel Pitkin), two opposed (Nin and myself), one waffling (Jade), and a dozen or more abstentions. Not a bad score for such an “uncommon” viewpoint.

By the way, I’m curious if anyone here is even capable of admitting that I might be partially correct on even a single point of the dozens I’ve made. It’s not really possible for one person to be totally wrong on every detail of every issue as judged by a dozen people who don’t entirely agree with each other, so those who pretend that I am are obviously using something other than rational argument to reach their conveniently similar conclusions.

Anyway, keep trying, monkeys. I’ll check in tomorrow to see if your aim has improved. Now I have to go to the liquor store to spend the check Karl Rove just sent me.

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