Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Ignorant, morally ugly and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

     Periodically, with regard to comments to the blog, we experience a problem something like the one currently afflicting the OC Register: drive-by trollery, choking out and discouraging the participation of reasonable and decent people.
     For instance, having yesterday assessed and rejected Mr. Derek Reeve’s “argument” that he did not plagiarize, I was the recipient (at 11:07 this morning) of this comment:
How about creating a new state agency dedicated to going after plagiarists and punishing them criminally? … Their scope … would include anything written…. Seems to me Bvt & the [Dissent] National Socialists [i.e., Nazis] would support such a proposal.
     Mr. Troll is saying that, since I judge Reeve to have plagiarized, it follows that I seek or desire to employee sanctions to enforce non-plagiarism. He's also saying that my supposed desire to enforce non-plagiarism is tantamount to Nazism.
     I have a message for Mr. Troll. To paraphrase Animal House’s Dean Wormer, "ignorant, morally ugly and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
     We garnered several further comments of a roughly similar level of ugliness and stupidity. It's a drag, man.
     Hence, for the time being, I am forced to "moderate" comments. Please continue to comment. But expect some lag time.
     As always, the problem isn't that these trolls disagree with us or take different views; rather, the problem comprises deficiencies: (i) a lack of any understanding of argumentation; (ii) a stunning ignorance of history; (iii) a lack of civility.
     We'll turn off the moderation eventually. As I'm sure you can understand, this will be an ongoing battle.


I fear no fish said...

I am frequently struck by the ridiculousness of commenters who try arguing logic with a professor of philosophy. It always seems like stupid squared.

Anonymous said...

Actually bvt, I did get to read those comments before you took them down. First, what you're quoting the troll posted has been altered. Aren't we scholars supposed to quote things in their entirety? You managed to pull out the parts that made his/her argument, then you complain they fail to make any argument.

Second, the point made about your blog's double standard is valid and therefore cannot be hidden anymore. The troll compaired this to the NPR & ESPN double standards, i.e. the PC Socialists there firing Juan Williams & Hank Williams Jr. respectively, for things they said that those orgs. deemed to be not PC, while ESPN continues to keep convicted felon Mike Tyson employed after he said he hopes Sarah palin gets raped. You can't see the double standard there?

Finally, in another removed post someone pointed out the ethical and professional issues surrounding a college professor (you) daily attacking this community's conservatives on his blog, belittling & calling them stupid & racists, because they don't share your ideals. Isn't this behavior the opposite of what you're supposed to be doing as an educator. Are educators supposed to be calling people stupid, ignorant? Publically supported community educators?

I'm having difficulties in understanding your behaviors. Please explain. Thanks.

B. von Traven said...

first, I did not “alter” what the troll posted. I did edit his comment slightly for clarity in accordance with the usual standards (e.g., use of elipses). The original comment was this:

How about creating a new state agency dedicated to going after plagiarists and punishing them criminally? We could have the Plagiarism Police (PP)! Their scope of enforcement would include anything written, i.e. nonacademic blogs. Seems to me Bvt & the dtb National Socialists would support such a proposal. Wow talking about Fahrenheit 451!

My edit was this:

How about creating a new state agency dedicated to going after plagiarists and punishing them criminally? … Their scope … would include anything written…. Seems to me Bvt & the [Dissent] National Socialists [i.e., Nazis] would support such a proposal.

(The elipses indicate words deleted.) As you can see, I did not “pull out the parts that made his/her argument….” I eliminated what was extraneous and clarified “dtb” and “National Socialists.”

Second, you seem to think that I operate with a double standard. But what is your reason? The actions and alleged failings of NPR and ESPN have nothing to do with the question of whether I operate with a double standard. (I don’t recall opining about either organization.)

I gather you include me among the “PC” crowd. If you were more informed, you would realize that I have long opposed PC (long before the term arose) and its right-wing equivalents—not that any of this has anything to do with whether I operate with a double standard.

You say I daily “attack conservatives.” First, if you were more informed, you’d understand that I have discussed conservatism on the blog and I do in fact consider myself a conservative. I have critiqued both “liberal” and so-called “conservative” views on numerous occasions on this blog and on my philosophical blog. I am not an enemy of conservatism, though I do find much to object in the thinking and actions of many so-called conservatives.

In the classroom, I do not bring up the subject of Dissent the Blog, though occasionally students ask me about it. I do discuss my philosophical blog on rare occasions, though I have never assigned any readings from any blog with which I am associated.

I do not attack “conservatives” or “liberals,” as such, in the classroom (if at all). Being a philosopher, I teach argumentation, and so I often discuss positions and arguments regarding political philosophy, ethics, and other philosophical areas. These are assessed according to the usual standards (e.g., informal fallacies, validity and soundness, strength of evidence, etc.). I make it a policy in class to go where the arguments and evidence take us. Hence, I reject “intelligent design” theory (but only in terms of a careful evaluation of the teleological argument and its familiar weaknesses), reject the Flat Earth hypothesis (but only in terms of the usual criteria of adequacy for theories), etc. I do not do so dogmatically, but always relative to the standards of evidence and argumentation. I never insist that students believe some doctrine or theory. I always insist that one should be guided by a careful evaluation of the logic; and if one has “good logic” for a view, then it is the view that we should adopt (though with tentativeness), whether it is conservative, liberal, or something else entirely.

I have never called conservatives racist or stupid. Since I read the paper, I am aware that many on the far right are racists and exhibit their racism in what they do and say. But, obviously, I am aware that one can be conservative (or libertarian, etc.) without embracing racism and without being “stupid.” Again, a survey of what I’ve been writing over the years will make this clear. taking logic and philosophy courses.

Anonymous said...

Bvt, thanks for your clarification. I think your omission did distort the troll's point, "nonacademic blogs."

I will agree with you that some of these Republican politicians do not represent the mainstream conservative views, and they will probably feel the consequences of their actions in the next election.

While I agree with your watchdogery, I believe it only lessens your credibility when you keep spewing that we conservatives are stupid and just a bunch of sheeple. The Tea Party is a great example; they hold to their values and principles and are willing, and do often toss out Republicans who betray those values and principles.

Anonymous said...

7:30, I can only wonder what blog you have confused with DTB. One thing that BvT does not do is "spew," nor make the characterizations that you impute to him. I hope that you don't teach literature of any form; you seem to be remarkably inept at detecting the nuances and (especially) the critical substance of BvT's commentaries.

Thank you once again and forever, BvT, for you excellent and well-reasoned gadfly blog.

Anonymous said...

7:33, I don't know how much Prestone you've been drinking, but if you take a look at any dtb articles during the last few months, perhaps years, the general consensus here is that conservatives are stupid, bigoted, racist, moronic Neanderthals. No nuances here, it's pretty straight forward.

It comes as no surprise that in so many words 7:33 would then say that I'm stupid, no doubt because I'm a conservative, and that he/she hopes I don't teach literature... Good, I'm glad I don't, wouldn't want to either. Some of you Obama sheeple are so full of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 2:13. Hey bvt et al, why not do an article on something newsworthy like the "occupier's" sit-ins, and how it's all being orchestrated by the white house as a big socialist reelection campaign? Why not expose all the big democrat money behind it? Yeah, sure you'll call me a stupid idiot and all that stuff... But this is the 1,000 lb. elephant in the room, is it not? Shouldn't they really be assembling on the white house lawn, protesting all this admin's failed policies?

Anonymous said...

3:04, don't be a dolt, pay attention. The Occupy Wall Street movement IS against the economic policies of the current administration. That is why they are in the streets. And, please, if you're going to litter the blog with wild speculations (i.e., the White House is funding the OWS movement), at minimum provide us with something of which we could, with some imagination, entertain as proof.

Anonymous said...

Why not write your own blog, rather than tell bvt what to write about? Weird how you guys drum up such weird stuff that nobody but you seems to be thinking.

B. von Traven said...

This is the problem with some trolls. They're so stupid that, to respond to them, you need to make seriously elementary points. See, if I criticize Tea Partiers, even though Tea Partiers are in some sense "conservative," it would be a mistake to conclude that I am criticizing "conservatives" as a group. It's like, if I make fun of Chevys, it doesn't follow that I'm making fun of "cars" as a group. Just Chevys. Got it?
And, again, if you are going to accuse someone of something, provide evidence. If you believe that I have called conservatives "stupid" or "racists," then show where I have done that. If you can't, then shut the fuck up.
Why don't you trolls start your own blog and just talk amongst yourselves? OK?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've even got a name you trolls can use. Just call your blog "Trolls."
Clever, eh?

Anonymous said...

I think 3:04 is basing it on what Sen. Oren Hatch said today. There ya go...

Anonymous said...

" ... It comes as no surprise that in so many words 7:33 would then say that I'm stupid, no doubt because I'm a conservative, and that he/she hopes I don't teach literature."

Oh, dear: when one says "in so many words," 2:13, one usually one MEANS "in so many words." I didn't even use the words, and I didn't even imply that you're stupid--just woefully uneducated and untrained (and unskilled) in careful reading.

Okay: I'm done with trolls. I echo the excellent suggestion that you start your own blog. Please. You're in way over your head.

Anonymous said...

4:28, I believe 3:04 never said the white house is FUNDING OWS, just that they are ORCHESTRATING it, which is probably pretty close to the truth owing to their solid record on anti-capitalist policies they’ve been trying to make us swallow for several years. Because their methodology of campaigning to make it more palatable hasn’t worked, I would not put it past them to try back door-ing it with this silly OWS stunt.

3:04 did say however, there is big Democrat money behind OWS, which has been proven as fact. Last night Bill O’Reilly showed us the sources of money supporting the OWS. I know you’re going to say O’Reilly has no credibility; no surprise. I guess that’s why he’s the most watched and trusted cable news program for 12 years running now.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement IS against the economic policies of the current administration” (4:28). How do you know this? If it’s true, then why aren’t they protesting on the white house lawn?

Bvt, come on, let’s not play dumb here. Yeah, I suppose I could come up with a derogatory name or two for you, or drop the F bomb for added effect, but I refuse to stoop to your level (and water makes its own sauce, remember?) You know as well as everyone else that it’s conservatives that make up the Republican Party as well as the Tea Party. Haven’t really heard any reports of liberals among them unless they converted after finally seeing the light that the Democrats (what the party recently morphed into) is the party of dead-enders. Whenever you call the GOP or Tea party members stupid, racists, you’re calling conservatives’ stupid, racists and it’s evidenced all over your blog. What’s interesting is how you can live in your little world not even realizing the community where you teach is mostly conservative. Yup, the parents of most of your students… Something to ponder.

As for that Reeve fellow, I think he’s going down and rightfully so. Real conservatives of principle are distancing themselves from him because he does not represent our conservative values. Now if only the stubborn Dems (I’m talking about the real old-fashioned Dems) could do the same with Obama without fear of being labeled racists?

Anonymous said...

As a gay man and a gay journalist I find it fascinating that the conservatives are so stupid and full of H8!

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