Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Civil discourse

May 30, 2012


To the editor:

Monday morning, I observed some interesting behavior. I read two opinion articles by two writers on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Both articles were apolitical and innocuous. Yet on the thread that followed each article online, there was an unmistakable attitude toward both writers. Following the article by Leonard Pitts Jr., there was a tongue-in-cheek comment or two about Pitts failing to interject race into the article. Following the article by Charles Krauthammer, which was about his passion for the Nationals baseball team, there were two comments that had to be removed by the Journal-World staff for user violations.

If you were to debate someone in the public square, would you stand and shout obscenities instead of advancing your ideas? Would you reduce your argument to name-calling rather than trying to convince those listening that your ideas are superior through proper intellectual discourse? The purpose of public debate should be to convince the audience, not silence your opponent. Tyranny demands silence from your opposition. That is not what our nation and the Bill of Rights is about.

This November, the United States, once again, returns to the polls to decide its future and whom we wish to lead us. The exchange of ideas is crucial but the rancor and the name-calling is useless. As emotional as these choices are, race-baiting and name-calling serve no purpose in the arena of ideas.


Lawrence Morgan 6 years ago

You are absolutely correct. Because the internet has anonymity, this kind of thing is allowed to happen. It won't change until every person is identified when they write a comment, and, sooner or later, that will happen.

Katara 6 years ago

Having one's name next to your comments rarely changes the behavior. Some of LJW's worst offenders were verified users.

The media demonstrates every single day that people with their names and faces attached to their comments are not held accountable or responsible for those comments.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Mmmmhhh...Katara longs for some 'Brownshirts' sounds like... There is too much group think as it is, and the left has shown they are willing to destroy public property, break windows, attack people with bats who are holding peaceful meetings in restaurants, throw things at the police and worse if you disagree with them. So a little anonymity is good to get an opposing view in the public square.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Comparing molehills to mountains much? One mad man shoots an abortionist and 20 years ago an empty abortion mill gets bombed versus your communist friends Occupy Wall Street Thugs destroying American as we speak... My point is the Neanderthal Left' (thank you for providing the photo as your avatar) is more inclined to break the law to be the loudest mouth in the room.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

'Stick' can you come up with anything in the last 20 years? Didn't think so, how hard is it to figure out that the mad man who shot an abortionist was Scott Roeder? Glad I could help you out, now stop revising history and run along to your OWS meeting. Oh, and my avatar with Fail written on the forehead, that's the loser of the next Presidential election.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Big deal Jesse. Again this person chose to break the law when the place was empty. Your side attacks people in broad daylight. See the Crime Blotter of your friends on the Left.

beatrice 6 years ago

Actually, it is allowed to happen because the moderator allows it. The current moderator allows name-calling of "public figures" and has admitted to letting people back on who were previously banned by the LJWorld for their poor behavior, some on several occassions, and this includes at least one person who was identified by name at the time he was banned. Conversations among people with opposing points of view used to be possible around here -- now, not so much. It has nothing to do with whether or not people are identified, it all has to do with what type of forum the moderator wants to create. I guess rancor and disharmony makes for more hits, which drives ad sales. Oh well.

beatrice 6 years ago

Umm ... the letter writer apparently wouldn't agree with you, hence the letter.

Is there anything in my post you care to disagree with, or are you only capable of making personal attacks?

Ken Lassman 6 years ago

Thanks, Scott, I'm 100% with you here. We can differ in our perspective without losing respect for each other as human beings. Alas, our media friends can make money--lots of it--from those who pledge allegiance to the research that says that negativity sways votes, and there are those who conflate the First Amendment with the right to bear arms and find particular pleasure that insulting your neighbor is protected by the Constitution.

Our upcoming election season will be a testament to the irresistibleness of those temptations, despite the transparently obvious detriment these things have on our society at large. Those making money and getting the desired outcomes have no qualms about leaving the light on after dark despite our moth-like behavior.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Charles Krauthammer should be replaced by Paul Krugman for reasons of common sense.

Charles Krauthammer = RINO Madness = supports RINO fraud in Washington D.C. and those among the 1% which have gone insane.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

To be more exact, the worst offender ever on LJW was a verified user. Even years later, an obscure reference to him will get a post removed.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

How many times today will you post this same love letter to the krug, merrill? How many times within the next week?

rtwngr 6 years ago

It has been empirically proven, through the most recent decade, that more government spending does nothing but grow government. For government to have money to do anything it must first take it from somewhere. When government takes money, in the form of confiscatory taxing, it slows growth and discourages investment in the private sector. Government does not create anything. It has also been proven that when there is encouraged growth in the private sector the economy will flourish. Krugman is right that economics is really easy but the problem is that he is a Keynsian disciple and Keynsian economics retards growth of the private sector which is the true engine of an economic system.

Alyosha 6 years ago

If its empirically proven, cite a peer reviewed study -- not a think tank piece of sophistry -- demonstrating as much.

Spending of any kind is a necessary element to growth. No spending, simplistically put, equals no sales. No sales equals no revenue or profit.

When consumers, who drive this economy, have no money, they cannot spend money. When not enough spending happens, inventory grows, hiring slows and stops, and businesses' bottom lines suffer.

Government spending is during such times the only kind of spending hefty enough to offset plummeting demand. And many times, government spending replaces businesses' inability or unwillingness to spend, and has the effect of laying the groundwork for enormous later private sector growth. See DARPA spending on the infrastructure for the later world wide web, or canal and highway spending earlier in our history.

Surely you would not say the Ike's highway system would have been built by private capital.

Business is not government, and gvernment is not business. They each have roles to play in the economy.

Crazy_Larry 6 years ago

And a CEO who makes 600 times the average wage and who gets a 6, 7, or 8-figure bonus is not a 'hog' for wealth. I see where you're coming from--lies and deceit.

Mike Ford 6 years ago

if one took away all of the pointless references to Bill Ayers, Kenya, birth certificates, taking away guns which absolutely hasn't happened, all of the attacks on a college law professor by high school educated people, and all of the other schtick that passes for a certain partie's political platform, one would have nothing to stand on except for a bunch of supply side debt exploding nonsense that is ignored if one party talks guns, abortion, xenophobia, and other nonsense long enough. I'm waiting for the tax payer who gets hammered because Mr. Brownback tossed the bill on them or the kids whose school is more unfunded than even now. I guess if some people want destruction they make up nonsense to fire their base long enough. Someone just has to pop the nonsense bubble.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

The winner in today's run-on sentence derby has already been determined!

Joe Hyde 6 years ago

Interesting, that Mr. Burkhead would mention Charles Krauthammer in this LTE, as I've recently thought back on my impression of Mr. Krauthammer after seeing him on a political talk show panel that involved him and three other commentators.

I've disagreed with many of Mr. Krauthammer's syndicated opinion pieces. And so when suddenly seeing the man on TV for the first time I was surprised by his demeanor.

Instead of the ranting rightwing buffoon that I half-expected, Mr. Krauthammer was unerringly polite to those on the panel whose beliefs are different than his own. And not just polite: he demonstrated the rare gift (especially among political commentators) of letting other people finish their sentences without interrupting with some blurting out, heated retort.

Moreover, he agreed with many points made by commentators of more politically liberal persuasion, which really took me by surprise. In some instances he voiced his opinions in a quiet but very humorous way. I was totally impressed by the guy.

Not that I'll start buying into everything he says about everything; I won't. But his civility and friendliness toward commentators who hold differing views was such a breath of cool fresh air that I will no longer reflexively dismiss the arguments he makes in his opinion pieces.

weeslicket 6 years ago

this is why i watch the PBS newshour every evening.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Or to put it another way, every little mud show needs a geek to lure in the rubes.

weeslicket 6 years ago

dear mr. burkhart, perhaps it will please you to know that i was one of the posters whose post was removed from the krauthammer editorial. i commented on the article itself. and while dismissive of the writing in the article, i did not resort to "name-calling", and the only "obscenity" included was a word directly quoted from the editorial. so, along comes another poster. and an "elder" poster at that, who suggests that i am masturbating. lovely. so, i request that the offensive comment be removed. as i rightfully should. POOF ! it's removed, but so is my comment on the editorial itself. lovely.
baby, meet the bathwater. nicely done LJW

somedude20 6 years ago

You can get "free stuff" by making love to a hooker while rolling around the bathroom floor at the Replay, vote for Obama because Romney would be just as devastating to this country as a giant asteroid hitting it/her

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

"... Romney would be just as devastating to this country as a giant asteroid hitting it/her..." Is that the official talking point for the week?

somedude20 6 years ago

That is an idea but right now Romney is shooting himself in the foot and does not need any help (including the Dons) but we can always go over Wifer-gate and Birther-gate on ole Mittens (Mormon wives/ Father not born in American)

Liberty275 6 years ago

If a person votes for Obama, will the government pay for free prostitutes at the Replay? That would be pretty cool.

"Romney would be just as devastating to this country as a giant asteroid hitting it/her"

Humans exist because an asteroid hit earth.

beatrice 6 years ago

Calling someone "racist" out of context of racist remarks is indeed wrong. Anyone who calls another a racist simply for disagreeing with the president and this administration's policies should be dismissed out of hand.

Problem is, we all know racism still exists, wouldn't you agree? Are people supposed to ignore racism when they see it? I don't believe so.

labmonkey 6 years ago

I have a policy of not commenting on either Pitts or Cal Thomas opinion pieces. Doing so would mean I and supporting them by giving them clicks. I have also realized that debating some posters who are very set in their ways is pointless. One, you aren't going to change their mind and two, when you make a point they cannot argue with, they resort to name calling or out of context semantics.

beatrice 6 years ago

And to think, Sarah Palin has nothing but nice things to say about everyone. Why, I can't think of a reason why someone might say something mean about her.

What celebrites and politicians have to say about one another is one thing, but do their rules apply to how neighbors and fellow Americans should address one another?

beatrice 6 years ago

Where is the double standard? Politicians and comedians say stupid things about one another all the time -- should we? That is the point.

Not sure I'm actually back. Just felt like responding today.

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

Well, I hope you are back, beatrice. I've been getting lots of inciteful, have missed the insightful.

tomatogrower 6 years ago

Because we post with aliases, we really don't have freedom of speech.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Where does the Campaigner in Chief announcing his enemies list fall in this debate? One would think that he was trying to Chicago Way people into not legally donating money to the candidate of their choice, unless it was him, of course. BTW, Axelrod's comb-over is anything but civil these days. (from a source)

Mike Ford 6 years ago

I'm voting for Romney so that I never benefit from trickle down economics, my blue collar job gets eliminated, and the 1% benefit from the job going overseas.... all the while the political chamelion women bashing right winging using maxheadroom wannabe loses anyway.....right weiser.....

Jimo 6 years ago

"Would you reduce your argument to name-calling rather than trying to convince those listening that your ideas are superior through proper intellectual discourse?"

Well, Curtis Knapp of Seneca, Kansas, didn't think so when he delivered his sermon at his "church" last week seemingly calling for government-executed genocide against homosexuals. "Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing [homosexuals]? No, I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should."

Now, if Curtis Knapp were a Muslim Imam, coyly making that HE wasn't calling for the murder of infidels but merely noting that SOMEONE should kill them, what would the public's reaction be?

Now, Curtis Knapp would no doubt say 'I'm just following God's instructions' (as Knapp chooses to interpret) but he appears to be quite the "cherry picker" (sorry for the name-calling). After all Leviticus also demands a long list of things that Kansans routinely violate with impunity. For example: "When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself...." (Not that I'm calling for Kris Kobach to be put to death on God's instructions! Heaven forbid!)

Perhaps Mr. Burkhart should worry a little less about "name-calling" and a tad more about genocidal extremists in our midst if he doesn't want Kansas to produce another Scott Roeder-like terrorist. It may be naive but I for one do not appreciate subsidizing a terrorist cell merely because they blaspheme God by calling themselves as a church while baying for the blood of other citizens.

Jesus weeps by the bucketful.

(BTW, LJW Editors: Why do I keep reading Kansas news first in the national and international media? Have you considered setting up a Google Alert for 'Kansas'?)

Liberty275 6 years ago

I'm nicer to you people than the ones I talk to in person.

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