I should be cooking dinner right now. But instead of standing in the kitchen, I am sitting at the computer, wearing shoes of all things! The nerve of some women! Right? (That’s an inside joke, but see what I just did there?)
A comment on my Amish Mushroom Soup post is too good to sit on. Let us embark on another Daily Dig:
Our story starts this morning at 11:46 AM PDT (December 3). Conrad at Liberating Minds has gotten an email from his forum host. Apparently (and I have no way of knowing this for sure) Stefan Molyneux, or someone impersonating him, has started “litigation” (it doesn’t appear to be a lawsuit or take place in any court) and has asked for the Liberating Minds forum to be deleted, on the grounds of being slanderous, vulgar, obscene, and threatening. The filer of the complaint links to the page at Freedomain Radio in which Molyneux listed all those quotes from Liberating Minds (the page I linked to already, so you probably read it). I always forget the difference between libel and slander, although I’m sure that the insults have flowed pretty liberally both ways (although with fewer cuss words from FDR than from LiMi). Vulgar and Obscene is just a fact of life, I think, and I haven’t seen any threats come out of LiMi in the threads I’ve read related to the Guardian article and the FDR discussion board. I can understand if Molyneux feels threatened, but I don’t think feelings necessarily match up to someone else’s behavior. Anyway, he plays the anti-semitism card again, this time really making it official. I didn’t think much about the anti-Semitism in the Big Statement, because frankly I didn’t close read it, but the LiMi crowd has been joking about it for a while now. They do have at least one Jewish person in their ranks, so I suppose that makes it OK. I learned that from watching a mishmash of Chapelle’s Show and the Daily Show, and thus have my finger on the pulse of urban culture.
The LiMi crowd isn’t particularly worried about it, although if they were as instigative as I am someone would try to contact the Globe & Mail newspaper and send them the link. There’s been talk of another interview/article about Molyneux coming out. He had a photo session and everything, and I don’t know when the story is supposed to run, but this would be an interesting aspect to add. If it’s actually Molyneux who submitted the complaint. The complaint itself is worded to appear to come from him, but I don’t know how any journalist would be able to tell for sure. A letter to the editor after the story runs might be another good idea. Maybe both!
I dunno. I believe in anti-Semitism and I believe it is widespread. I don’t know if all accusations of anti-Semitism are valid, and I don’t know how serious it actually is to have the label of anti-Semitic thrown at you. Is it a charge that always sticks or is it a charge tinged with hysteria?
Leaving the computer to finally investigate the source of and eliminate this nasty smell that has been bugging me all day. Returning to say that I think it might be the icky dirty laundry with some dishrags in it, and that either Oxyclean is overhyped or I suck at it because soaking a pair of baby pants for more than an hour did not lift the chocolate milk stains from the fabric.
I am wondering right now if it is anti-Semitic to employ the charge of anti-Semitism just as a means of mudslinging. It certainly isn’t respectful to Jewish people to objectify them as permanent victims and to use their plight as a means of promoting your own stance in an argument–especially when the argument isn’t about Jewish people at all. That’s my rhetorical musing about it. Now I will bring it specifically to Molyneux. Why would he level the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone? I know that the Semitic people are diverse and technically defined historically by geography and language, but in modern, customary usage, “anti-Semitism” means “anti-Jew.” And Jew as a religion first–not just as a culture. Molyneux despises religious people. He thinks people who believe in God are crazy and evil (short version), and although he doesn’t explicitly (anymore, or in writing) say that you shouldn’t associate with friends or relatives who are religious, he says that to do so is weak, inconsistent, and undignified if you also follow his principles to truth and justice. He won’t hold it against you, but you are committing a form of self-abuse (and not the fun kind). There are many, many podcasts and discussion threads about this topic. So his charge of anti-Semitism isn’t something he even feels strongly about personally. He doesn’t care. He’s as anti-Semitic himself as he is anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Buddhist, and anti-Wicca. This brings me to the Why? part of our program.
Why? Why level charges against someone when you aren’t angry about them and if you deny the validity of the reason that anti-Semitism exists anyway? It’s calculated and insincere, and it’s an example of just tossing crap at Conrad and Liberating Minds just to see if something sticks. Plus “anti-Semitism” is the kind of search term that gets results. It is a way of drawing attention to yourself (and believe you me that I’ll be including the term as a tag for this blog post, partly because I am writing about it and partly for the ratings). It’s a ploy, and it’s a cop-out ploy, too. It’s offensive in its slapdashedness and its superficiality. It’s also like crying wolf.
Is trying to have someone’s website deleted out of spite censorship? I have trouble with that term. It certainly feels like censorship, but it’s one private person complaining to the private hosting service about activities happening because of a third private person. I don’t know if squabbles have the same political oomph that actual censorship has, but if the hosting service decides to delete the forum to appease the complainer then I would say it’s censorship. I don’t really know what the terms of the contract were, so I don’t know if Liberating Minds is out of line or not. It’s very interesting to me that the guy (if it’s the guy) who runs the site Freedomain Radio with a very tight post content acceptability policy and a reputation for deleting and banning would ask for rivals to be silenced. Even if it is affecting his livelihood, you’d think the private free market of information exchange would be something to be preserved. It’s one of the pillars of the voluntarist anarchocapitalist system that is supposedly the primary goal of Freedomain Radio’s efforts. The best ideas win, right? (Ha! Did it again!) Isn’t this a model of two businessmen going head to head over the same customer base? It doesn’t speak well when one of the businessmen decides to employ the techniques of the terrorcrats when convenient. It doesn’t teach a very good object lesson, and it undermines the points the ancaps are always making about how the free market is the best arbitrator of conflict–possibly suggesting that no one really expects voluntary anarchocapitalism to work in real life and that it’s just something to talk about.
I am sure something is hugely flawed with my metaphor and that I’ll hear about it. It’s OK. I can take it. I think all the voluntarist ancap metaphors are flawed, too, so it’s tit for tit. (Is that the expression?) Meanwhile, here is a crude segue to my final point:
On Taking One for the Team
Poor Johny! We hardly knew ya, until your account was deleted and your thread deleted and we can’t access your history to properly eulogize you.
At 1:38 PM PDT, Deep Purple on Liberating Minds wishes aloud that someone could post a link to this deleting tactic on the FDR discussion board. No one participating in the discussion could, really, because they’ve all been IP banned or had their accounts deleted, and FDR is still not allowing new users to join.
At some point between 3:03 PM PDT and 3:30 PM PDT, Johny started a thread at FDR called “Mr. Molyneux Tries to Have Liberating Minds Deleted?” That thread activity still shows up now (it’s 5:45 PM) because it’s in the activity log, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Clicking on the username reveals that the account has been deleted. I don’t know when it was deleted, but it appears between the activity report immediately after Jessen starts the “Sydney Photography” thread (3:03) and immediately before Molyneux replies to the “Sydney Photograph” thread (3:30). There is a screenshot of it online here, if you want more tangible proof (thank you again, Deep Purple). They are lovely photos. Not lovely enough to make me put Sydney above Norway on my Travel list, but that has nothing to do with Sydney and everything to do with the Northern Lights and fjords.
I regret now not getting to know Johny when I had the chance. But he was there, and I saw him, and so long as this blog remains online, he shall be remembered. May you fly with the raptors, Friend.
UPDATE: The smell was a dishrag, but it was hiding under a pan in the sink, so the mixed colors and fabrics desperation load I ran in the wash was all for naught. At least I’ve identified the smell. I’m sure I can scare up some more dirty clothes. I know there are two iffy towels in the Yosemite bathroom. I know you all were worried.