Jun 292010

Due to the debate about the NYC Mosque, the comments have been unusually busy these past few days. I’ve been unusually busy too, such that I’ve not had time to do more than skim many comments. That’s not going to change for the foreseeable future, so I wanted to clarify my position vis-à-vis the comments, not just the comments here, but also on my Facebook page. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m satisfied with everything that’s being said — because I’m not.

Ordinarily, I screen the comments for personal attacks, albeit in a loose way. I’m not so concerned if people posting in the comments lob the occasional insult at each other, provided that the discussion stays reasonably civil overall. However, I don’t want people launching personal grenades aimed at Objectivist intellectuals not involved in the discussion. That’s unfair to them. In general, I want people to argue the issues, not to attack their opponents.

(For the record, I made some mistakes in that regard early in this debate, for which I’ve apologized in the relevant venues. I’m not immune from error, but I’m trying hard to stay above the fray.)

Right now, I don’t have time to screen the comments, although I’ve seen much that I’ve found objectionable. Rather than shut down the comments entirely, I’m operating them on a “judge, and prepare to be judged” policy for the next few weeks. Basically, unless the sight of another comment from you makes me want to puke my guts and tear my hair out, I’m going to allow it. You’re welcome to judge other people for their comments — and be judged for your comments in turn. I would ask, however, that you keep those judgments out of the comments. If you don’t … well … you can expect to be judged for that.

Personally, I’m disheartened to see some personal attacks on Leonard Peikoff in these comments. I respect Leonard Peikoff hugely, despite this disagreement. He’s an honorable man in my book, whatever his anger toward people who hold my views. He cares about the future of this country deeply — and he’s fought for decades to save it. He deserves better than to be casually dismissed, as if he’s not thought about his views, even if you think his position utterly wrong.

If I can keep that context — even though I’m deeply, personally hurt by some of his remarks in his podcast and distressed by the unjust attacks on me by some people unleashed as a result — then you can too. Please, make an effort.

Also, please remember that you’re to wrap up any discussion of this topic by the end of today.

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