A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ]. If you have questions, please contact me at todslone@hotmail.com.
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia, not to mention Sweden, England, and Austria.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scott McLemee


Spencer Troxell said...

Where do you stand on the whole wikileaks affair? It seems like an issue that would be up your alley.

G. Tod Slone said...

Perhaps Wiki is tough. Transparency is good. Free speech is good. Bridle it here, bridle it there, and soon it will be bridled everywhere. Our diplomats are supposed to be us. So why should they be keeping secrets from us?

Spencer Troxell said...

I'm mostly where you're at, but I've had to moderate a little over the past few days. Here's part of the post I wrote on the subject a couple of days ago:

'One of the interesting reactions to Assange that I’ve noticed among lower and middle class liberals and conservatives in the U.S. midwest is that they all seem to be generally in favor of what he has done. The big complaints seem to come from government officials of all political stripes.

This is not so much a left/right issue as it is a top/bottom one."

After some reading, talking, and reflection, I think I’m going to have to adjust my position on Julian Assange and wikileaks. The two best arguments against my position that I have encountered have been as follows:

1)some of the disclosed documents put people’s lives in danger.

2)a totally open society would lead to total government dysfunction.

The only argument that I can concoct to support putting lives at risk in order to force the world into an open society is an ugly, utilitarian one. I’m not an ‘ends justify the means’ kind of person, so I can’t put forward that argument in good faith.

I can’t answer the government dysfunction challenge either. Imagine trying to broker a deal with someone as macho and paranoid as Vladmir Putin: Obviously, He’s not going to give any ground publicly, and with the threat that his private communications with various diplomats and middle-men may come sensationally to light via wikileaks or some such organization, it becomes more doubtful that he’ll give any ground behind closed doors either (after all, in an open society there are no closed doors).

So, I have to cede those points.

What do you think about the two points that prevent me from making a total endorsement?

G. Tod Slone said...

I'm going to contemplate your remarks tonight, then will respond tomorrow. Thanks much.

G. Tod Slone said...

Spencer: Okay, here goes. Transparency is still what is lacking in our American government despite Obama’s bullshit declaration that he’d work to make government transparent. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, noted one Supreme Court judge. And I fully agree with him, especially regarding the public sector. The problem with the putting-lives-at-risk argument is that it can and will always be evoked whether true or not to keep government secret and quite separate from we, the people. The more secrets for what ever reason, the more you just ain’t gonna know who benefits from what diplomacy. Now, can you name just one murder victim directly related to Assange? Contrary to your findings, I would bet that many far left liberals (not centrist Obama and Hillary types) would be in favor of Wikileaks, while many militaristic conservatives would be against it. So, that’s my response.

Spencer Troxell said...

I think you've got a strong point, although what about the 'need for backroom deals' argument I made regarding Vladmir Putin? I think that has to be considered.

I agree with you in the whole. There are no deaths to report, just Taliban threats of finding the names of folks who collaborated with the U.S. government and killing them. So the only deaths are potential deaths.

Overall, I think you're right. More sunlight is needed.

G. Tod Slone said...

It seems only those in power, both big and little, are against sunlight.