Home / General / I Hope You Will All Engage In Some Serious Soul-Searching

I Hope You Will All Engage In Some Serious Soul-Searching


Mr. Fredrik deBoer wishes to register a complaint about our commentariat. Well, he does have one serious complaint: if anyone who comments here attempted to intimidate deBoer by emailing him a picture of his office, you are in fact a terrible person and I would appreciate if you never visit this site again. But what are his other issues?

Does it ever occur to you guys that your commenters are objectively despicable people?

Well, now that you mention it, no. But please do go on:

Like, I get that the way you operate is to intentionally chum the waters for other people to do your dirty work

I think what he means by this is that when you post things, people may comment. They may even say mildly unkind things about people whose arguments they find wrong. As an argument for “objectively despicable” behavior, it’s not much yet.

and say the terrible, redbaiting, anti-leftist things

Ah, classic stuff here. Every position that deBoer takes is, objectively, the true leftist position, and hence any disagreement with him on the merits must therefore be “anti-leftist” or “redbaiting,” even if the disagreements are purely tactical or deBoer is taking a position not taken by any other left-winger in the known universe. As djw puts it, “Freddie views everything through the lens of his self-image as the One True Leftist beset on all sides by feckless, unprincipled, liberal-in-name-only centrists. His commitment to this worldview is only loosely connected to the particulars of any specific dispute, which makes it seem particularly jarring in cases like this, where he’s taking a fundamentally conservative position.”  Whether Freddie is arguing that the left should take neoconfederate lunatics seriously or asserting that plutocrats are entitled to whatever sinecure they happen to currently occupy forever whatever they say, any disagreement with him must be red-baiting.

that you actually enjoy (far more than you enjoy fighting with conservatives, clearly)

Wait, what?

that you actually enjoy (far more than you enjoy fighting with conservatives, clearly)

Yes, remarkably enough Freddie deBoer is accusing other people of enjoying picking fights with other people on the left more than they enjoy disagreeing with conservatives. This is like being accused by the Pacific Ocean of containing too much water. I will note again that the post I addressed in the post that elicited this comment accused, wholly without evidence, a broad group of liberals of opposing the very concepts of the due process of law and freedom of speech because of their careerist ambitions. (Don’t forget that liberals all support torture, too.) Noting said lack of evidence, however, is exhuming McCarthy.

Maybe you guys should engage in self-criticism for what would have to literally be the first time in your lives and ask, gee, maybe creating a arena in which people drive themselves to the most vile extremes and utterly personal insults imaginable is not the way we should act.

You can look at the comments thread yourself. Some of the things said about Freddie are certainly less than kind and engage in broad generalizations I don’t endorse, although to this I will also say that if thou doesn’t want to take it thou really shouldn’t dish it out so frequently. But “the most vile extremes and utterly personal insults imaginable?” This claim is tenable is this the only thing you’ve ever read on the internets. It also shows the blindness on gender issues for which Freddie has long been famous; for any woman who’s spent any time online the idea that a few mild insults and some harsh criticism of one’s ideas on the merits represents the vilest extremes of online discourse would be risible and insulting.

In short, I’m not sure that it’s our commenters who need the time to reflect.

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