22 August, 2010


Comment policy as a weapon

Jai the Prolix, Master of the 85 Questions, has a piece up at Pickled Politics arguing against opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. To be honest I can't say I've done more than skim the OP. Most of Jai's PP contributions are extended treatises on Indian history intended to demonstrate how India was the bestest most wonderfullest civilization the world has ever known before the British turned up and, to use the technical term, fucked it up. They have an effect similar to CiF articles: you are always tempted to skip the "above the line" piece and jump direct to the comment thread for entertainment and enlightenment. Indeed, in the present case Jai has needed two whole PP posts to get his point across, that those who oppose the "Ground Zero Mosque" are historically ignorant bigots.

Safari so BAU, as Christoper Biggins probably wouldn't have said. The interesting bit is this. A commenter calling himself Cronous ventures the following
1. Cronous on 21st August, 2010 at 8:03 pm

The whole article is really off the mark. There are numerous references to supposed Sikh benevolence to Muslims (I am guessing that not wanting a mosque at/near ground zero is somehow equally as abhorrent as going around slaughtering people). The problem is that this assumes that people back then saw the aggressors from a religious dimension as opposed to an ethnic one. Recall that Mughals fought other Muslims just as much as non-Muslims and Durrani targeted the Mughal Empire at large, not only Sikhs specifically.

“It is clear that some people, both here in Britain and in the United States, are either unable or unwilling to similarly take the moral high ground”

People in the UK and US have been taking the moral high ground when it comes to migrants for decades. Both societies commitment to try to gives rights to minority faiths/ethnic groups is unmatched in virtually all other societies. What is there reward for such benevolence toward Muslims? Religious extremism, ethnocentrism, insularity, and a crass unwillingness to assimilate. Sorry but I think the people are tired of being understanding to communities that are blindingly intolerant themselves.

“It’s also a stark contrast to the idealism and wisdom of the historical Americans responsible for the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Gettysburg Address, all of which I personally regard as amongst the greatest moral & intellectual accomplishments of mankind.”

If you read many opinions of the authors of these documents (e.g. the Federalist papers) you would note that they also wanted that idealism tempered by reality. The framers certainly did not want their idealism to be used by the vanguard of retrograde and insular religious group.
He makes further comments in a similarly reasonable vein, engaging with other commenters who challenge him. And then Jai turns up and puts the boot in in no uncertain terms:
14. Jai on 22nd August, 2010 at 9:53 am

I’m going to leave Cronous’s comments up as his behaviour perfectly proves my point, but I will not allow anyone to exploit this thread as a platform for exactly the kind of anti-Muslim bigotry & propaganda which my article condemns. Especially if it involves the usual far-Right tactic of distortion, obfuscation, and initially pretending to superficially respond to a particular point but then going into irrelevant bigotted tangents.

Any further comments by Cronous (or anyone else along similar lines) will therefore be deleted on sight. To those of you who replied to his remarks: I appreciate your efforts, but it’s a waste of time arguing with people who are only interested in self-servingly whipping up hatred.
What's the phrase I'm groping for? Ah yes, sanctimonious twat. There are good reasons for banning people, just as there are good reasons for the lesser sanction of deleting comments, though in my not particularly humble opinion both powers should be exercised sparingly and with great reluctance.

But to ban someone because he disagrees with you and argues his point cogently and politely?

I've never been able to take Jai seriously since the 85 Questions business. And now in addition to being a verbose bore, he reveals himself as a hollow bullying poltroon.

Oh and the 85 Questions, in case you missed them, were Jai's undoubted chef d'œuvre. Published in five parts, the best entry point is probably the final one here where there are links to the preceding four. Jai spent a good deal of time researching the BNP's published policies and manifesto and imagined the consequences of their implementation. He then eked out his hoard of challenging questions by trawling the public records of activists looking for individual unpleasantnesses he could generalize and project onto the party as a whole. The Magnificent Eighty-Five are more digestibly dipped into rather than read straight through. My all-time favorite is
31. Considering the sympathy towards the historical German Nazis, admiration for Nazism, Holocaust denial, and alliances with international anti-semitic organisations prevalent among senior members of the BNP, how will the British civilian population be protected in response to a nuclear attack by Israel upon the election of a BNP government?
The Picklers and their sympathizers then spent months gloating over the fact that the BNP failed to respond to this nonsense. (Though Griffin's then court jester Lee Barnes did eventually take the bait.)

Now you know why I can't be arsed commenting at PP any more, other than occasionally doing the blog equivalent of tossing a grenade over the wall.

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