Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 21, 2011

Making this blog more active

I have been spending a lot of time and energy on a list in which I am fond of participating . The members of said list are quite a cross-section of America based on location and occupation, but share a commonality of interest in firearms, the Second Amendment (it isn't about hunting), conservatism, and hoping for better times. A fair amount of discussion takes place there, and - being who I am - I was often in the thick of it, or even instigated the topic of discussion.

Not being shy about offering my opinion, this sometimes generated a little heat and disagreement. Secondary to my passion, my zeal, along with my inability to suffer what I felt was BS, my comments were judged by some to be excessively rough, or unfair. Now, I can stand criticism and don't mind being disliked by some members of any group I am in. I don't expect I will ever please the majority of the folks I come in contact with in my life. If pleasing the majority required compromising my principles, I certainly wouldn't want to please them.

This list, however, is an important venue for most of the members who populate it. That includes me. Sharing thoughts, sharing information, being a resource available to all and sundry on a wide variety of disciplines , the list serves a valuable function in our lives. That social interaction fulfills a need for us that is difficult to meet in our everyday contacts at home and at work.

An attempt to discuss various aspects of the Gifford/Tucson shooting debacle led to a heated exchange between myself and another list member. It got nasty at one point, and the other fellow stopped posting, although I don't feel it was just because of my response to his comments. I do feel certain, however, that several others on the list felt I was too hard on this fellow. Having been a member of the list not long after it was started, but having been away from the list for a couple of years, there might have been the perception with some that my recent return was not necessarily a good thing.

Here in the past few days, another discussion which began in a reasonably gentle fashion heated up. Comments were made by both of us that we each felt were a bit "snarky", although only one of us voiced that particular complaint. When my fellow lister decided to suggest I was in favor of returning to a racist venue that was known as "Jim Crow" laws - which were by definition laws used to discriminate against blacks specifically - I accused him of thereby calling me a racist, and reminded him that making such an implication is a common liberal technique in avoiding the real discussion. Three other list members who I like and respect decided I was out of line and said so, one of them stating that he would leave the list if this continued, to which the other two agreed. I didn't feel my arguments or the heat of my rhetoric warranted this, but their perceptions obviously differed from mine.

Well, I have no desire to feel as if I have chased another three members off of this list, which is important to all of us who dwell there. Consequently, I have decided to take a hiatus. As several other members of the list asked me not to leave it, saying that they valued my commentary, I thought that returning to this blog and putting some effort into keeping it more current might serve as well for commenting and posting information I believe is useful to know. This won't be quite as good as interacting directly with the folks on that list, unless they respond here as well. I learned much from discussion there, and was able to change my own thinking when it became obvious there were things I didn't know, hadn't thought through, or was simply wrong about.

Hopefully I will be able to entice a few people to read my posts here and comment upon them, enabling me to consider their viewpoints, their perception of the validity of my thoughts. I benefit greatly from having my thoughts and opinions questioned or at least discussed. Writing them and casting them out into the void is not only unsatisfying, it doesn't help at all with the process of clarifying the concepts or beliefs I try to formulate and distill. I am opinionated enough that I don't necessarily need someone else to validate my thoughts, but discussing them does help to develop them, even if only because the need to explain demands further examination of these concepts in an attempt to find the words required to make them more clear.

So. Visit, please. Comment at will. Take me to task, certainly, if my logic is flabby or you feel I am mistaken about something. If you truly think I am using improper techniques such as strawmen or refusing to answer direct questions, skirting issues instead of responding to them, tell me so. I don't like these methods of argument when they are used upon me, so I would like to be called on them if you feel I am truly doing it myself. If you only wish to read and don't have the time or inclination to comment, that is fine also. As I read things on the Web that interest me, that please me or anger me, that strike a chord in my heart because they agree with my worldview or open my eyes to things I was not already aware of, I will post them here for you to share. Feel free to pass them on if you wish, crediting only whatever source they came from to do honor to those that originated them. Feel free to share whatever I write that takes your fancy as well.

Good luck to you and those you care about during the next few years. Let us hope they don't become the nightmare I fear they could become.

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Sorry, folks. I was completely ignorant about comment rules. Anyone can post, but I'd prefer a name, even if it is made up. Anonymous posts just seem cheap, if you know what I mean. Also, if you want to argue a point, that's fine. Cheap shots and name calling towards me or another person commenting (ad hominem) is rude and will get you banned. Other than that, I'd love to get some comments.