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RE: RE: Chip (on the shoulder) Monks

by Ozymandias (Hermit)
on Jul 04, 2000 at 21:19 UTC ( #21040=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to RE: Chip (on the shoulder) Monks
in thread Chip (on the shoulder) Monks

First of all, tell the mystery monk to start posting. We need more like them. <G>

Second, the problem of censoring incivility is not a simple one. Personally, I judge a comment or a rant based not only on the ideas expressed, but on how that idea is presented; are there serious grammatical and spelling errors? Did the poster format their statement for readability; did they use profanity inappropriately? There are those who will say that I am wrong in this, for I should be judging the material solely on the quality of the ideas; but in point of fact, the presentation is at least as important as the ideas. The idea may tell you what the person was thinking; the presentation tells you if they were serious, and how carefully they thought things out.

Incivility and profanity are tools of presentation. You may not like them as tools, but they are tools regardless, and can in certain circumstances be effective tools. Rather than ban incivility or profanity, rather than police other people on their conduct, I prefer simply to judge them based on that conduct. I would rather defend someone unjustly targeted by such an attack - after being sure they WANT me to defend them, of course - than place restrictive rules in place to try and prevent the attack. For one thing, you can't sweep back the tide; the attacks will happen, regardless, and trying will only force the attacks underground, hidden below the surface. For another, you loose freedom of action in defending yourself. And finally and most important, it is easier to defend your right to speech when it is not abridged in any way than it is to say "this restriction is acceptable, and this one, but this is going too far."

The true measure of your willingness to defend freedom of speech is to defend the right of another to stand center stage and preach about that which makes your blood boil, to advocate that which you would willingly give your life to destroy. You have the right also to counter that speech; you have every right to use rhetoric as strong and as corrosive to the spirit in retaliation. I hope that this place stays free of such speech. But I hope even more than this place stays free of restrictions against such speech.

- Ozymandias

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