The Gross National Debt

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leading a person to reason...

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
In this week's Wiregrass Farmer is a letter which I knew was going to spark much controversy. I do not post the letter here because I do not have the writer's permission. You can read it online if you have a subscription, get a printed copy of the paper or just continue to wonder what he said.

What he said is less important than what he said.

Yes, I know that doesn't make sense. Lemme 'splain.

The writer was trying to make a point about racism. In my opinion, he didn't succeed very well. Again, in my opinion he also makes some extremely sweeping statements that eliminate anything useful in his argument. He points to this website www.waronthehorizon.com as a website representing the views of "95 percent" of a group of people numbering in the millions. He is not, never has been and can never be one of those millions.

He cannot responsibly speak for those millions either. Doesn't mean he can't try.

The newspaper's FB feed has received a few comments. It has certainly not blown up. Another feed on a reader's page (which I do not link to because I do not have her permission) had a bit more commentary.

The majority of the comments said the letter should not appear in a community newspaper. The chief reason given is that the letter was offensive.

Really? How? Why? The writer was not profane. He was not obscene. He was not libelous. He agreed to have his name attached to the letter. He expressed his opinion in simple, plain language.

I really do know why it was offensive. He offered an unpopular opinion. He did it in a public forum. Ergo, people with thin skin were offended.

Lemme step on some more toes at about neck level.

Those who were offended and say such letters should not be published say that because they don't bother to think. They run strictly off emotions.

I have asked readers to suggest letters to the editor policy updates. No one has offered suggestions. If you have some ideas for me, consider these questions:

• Do you want to be fair to everyone?

• If you only publish letters you agree with, are you being fair to everyone?

• Who determines if the letter is offensive?

• What is the threshold for offending people before a letter should not be published?

• Does the Second Amendment apply only to popular opinions? Does it apply to unpopular opinions too?

• What gives you the right to tell someone he can't express his opinion in a public forum?

If you just say "I'm offended and you shouldn't publish that" then you have no right to express that kind of opinion in a public forum.

I am only applying your rule to you.

Lemme take my boot off someone's neck for a moment.

Think. When you do, you quickly realize this letter was extremely important.

If I am to NOT publish letters which may offend someone, we might as well not publish any letters to the editor. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I can guarantee you that any letter I publish is going to offend someone somewhere. I've seen it happen time and time and time again. An innocuous letter gets published. The next day my phone rings. The caller is incoherent with rage over the letter. It goes beyond letters too.

Sometimes, the rage goes farther.


Make sense? Nope. But people are more ruled by emotion than logic.

One of the newspaper's columnist's work was also mentioned in a comment. This comment said 90 percent of this columnist's work is racist. Again a sweeping statement that destroys any cogency in the remaining post, at least in my opinion.

In the BEST comment of the series, a reader said the columnist (and by unspoken extension the letter writer) gives people a look into the mindset of part of our community he would otherwise never get to see or understand. He appreciates that.

Brilliant.

So I ask you this: What gives you the right to restrict information and knowledge? Especially information that tells you how other people think. If you believe how other people think is not important, then you must love the federal government and absolutely everything it does.

So now, I tell you again, what he said is less important that what he said. The words on the page (what he said) are nothing when compared to the insight offered into the weltanschauung (what he said) he and other people share.

There are plenty of people who will attack and insult me, rather than honestly answer the questions I honestly pose above. Which just further proves another point: You can lead a person to reason, but you can't make him think.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.Voltaire

Jan. 31, 2013, I proved how far I'll go to protect your right to free speech. If you are one of those who doesn't believe I should post inflammatory letters to the editor, will you stand next to me when the bullets are flying?

2 comments:

  1. 1st amendment protects speech. The 2nd amendment supports the first.:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never confuse offense with that which is merely distateful.
    True offense is personal ("Thou art a bastard son-of-a-whore, with breath like the offal of a vulture").
    Mylie Cyrus' behavior, on the other hand, is simply distasteful, as what she does affects me not in the least.
    There are many, as you point out, however, who feel obliged to be offended on someone else's behalf (i.e. the Washington Redskins controversy).
    Our biggest problem occurs when these folks become legislators, and approach society with an attitude of, "I think this is bad, therefore it should be illegal".
    And now we're back to the 1st and second amendments again.

    ReplyDelete