So, yesterday, seized by some weird desire to actually reach out and engage to the folks on the other side of the aisle, I ventured over to RedState.com and entered a comment or two on a post by Blogger Moe Lane. Lane was making a rather illogical if slightly humorous argument about the hypocrisy of protesting corporatism with cell phones, amongst other things.
Here's how it went: (I'm "illustrator" BTW)
"The Revolution was apparently to be stored on the cloud and downloaded whenever you needed it, apparently."
This is the same silly argument made by people who excuse corporate pollution causing climate disruption. By this twisted logic, Martin Luther King should not have been walking on public roads into Selma, or riding public buses because he should not be supporting a racist government. Demanding accountability and social justice from corporations is not the same as being a luddite. Just like wanting pollution dramatically curbed and public moneys spent subsidizing renewables is not the same as being totally against transportation.
Pretty weak. Try again, Moe.
Freely translated: "OW! OW! QUIT IT! QUIT IT! IT'S NOT FAIR! OW! OW!"
Usually you guys know better than to admit that you've been stung. Interesting. Well, not really. Bye!
I was then banned from the site.
I was pleasantly surprised that RedState let me post in the first place because this is not my first go-round with Erick Erickson's little empire. Several years ago, I went through an almost identical (and brief) exchange. I wound up getting banned with a full page picture of two cops carrying a Ronald McDonald statue accompanying my expulsion. I was, apparently, a "clown" for having dared to question the Red Ones.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, RedState's own rules for posting contain the following McCarthy-esque gems:
6. It is forbidden to promote or give any kind of support for parties other than the Republican Party, or candidates running against Republican primary, caucus, and/or convention nominees. Exceptions to this rule are granted when announced prominently on the front page of the site.
13. The dissemination of talking points from the Democrat Party, or its politicians and allies, is not allowed.
Which brings me to the topic at hand: fragility. The act of censoring someone who challenges your belief structure is an unmistakable sign of the fragility of those beliefs. It really is that simple.
The problems facing our country, and the world, are dire. We bloggers represent a public clearing house of solutions that get hashed and re-hashed in the comment section of our posts. That's good. I have always thought the comments are the best part of Huffpo (even though the current FB version is IMHO, much less useful than its predecessor). To institutionalize censorship as a matter of policy, as RedState has done, is not only cowardly, it's unAmerican.
We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.
I could go on and on about the ultimate futility of setting up an echo chamber, but the real issue is this -- as a public voice, bloggers and blogs have the responsibility to publicly stand behind their ideas, right or wrong, silly or smart.
RedState, and Moe Lane, would do well to stop using a childish "mock & block" policy to censor debate on their site. Come join the adult conversation, fellas. You can do it.