|Andy wrote: |
However, I prefer to call useful anger "righteous" rather than "appropriate". The hotter description reminds us that our anger works best when it lights a fire under the ass of its recipient (including ourselves) to do the right thing. Because righteous anger can stir us and others out of moral complacency into action against evil it is an emotion in service to reason.Andy, you have a way with words. I mean that whole-heartedly. I love good rhetoric and vibrant prose and admire the minds that construct it. I would even go so far as to say that I might like you in real life if we stayed off certain topics, y'know? But our greatest virtues sometimes hide our greatest weaknesses. And the internet, with its defacto anonymity and utter safety beyond our monitors, is a perfect stage for a hit & run, and the premier playground for our less presentable urges. Ironically then, often I find the worst thing about your point of view, Andy, is that it looks so righteous on paper. Within the hermetically sealed universe of your crusade in prose you always come across as a modern day Lancelot. To my mind the central problem with your position on this thread is that it lacks any resemblance to life as we know it.
Andy, you are the master of the framed debate. You have a seemingly endless enthusiasm for shooting fish in a barrel. For crying out loud, you posted a man's arrest record on an internet bulletin board and for what? So we could all engage in some old fashioned shunning? Of course to your mind, such moralistic grandstanding is a no-brainer; moralistic grandstanding needs no justification, it is intrinsically virtuous. It's "Lancelot" vs. "the child molester," so let 'er rip! Once you've framed the debate with one of your can't lose formulae, you're good to go. You've got your big brush ready for anyone who thinks you're off base or out of line.
Andy, I haven't read every last thread on this board since I showed up here, maybe I've missed something. When you say that "righteous anger can stir us and others out of moral complacency into action against evil," you don't mean the chorus of "what he said's" that follow upon the heals of such invective, do you? Who are you talking about and what actions have they been stirred into?
Everyone, please, when--when has anyone's anger as expressed so loudly and often on this board lit "a fire under the ass of its recipient to do the right thing?" When has any tirade at the expense of a fellow student of Objectivism repaid you in their realizing the error of their ways and coming over to your way of thinking? Or have people moved closer to your way of thinking mainly when you've stated your position with clarity, high spirits and straight up winning good sense? Most of the time the net effect of relentlessly flaming someone on one topic, is to turn them against you on all topics on principle (not always, thank goodness; plenty of folks around here are able to tell the difference between people and ideas and remember that ad hominem is something to avoid). MSK and Robert Davison's recent sniping comes to mind. These two good men surely have bigger fish to fry, but now if one finds an opening in the other's armor on any thread they can't seem to leave it alone.
Linz, Andy, have either of you managed to set MSK straight on any damn thing, other than how you feel about him? Far from bringing MSK to your way of thinking, it's polarized the entire board. Thread after thread now bears the deeply boring subtext of this framed debate over "righteousness" vs. "pomo-niceness." Golly gee, boys and girls, which one would you choose?
And then there is the real, perhaps a little tangential, but very illustrative problem of the forum troll. How many times has "letting 'em have it" helped send them away or--dare we dream--changed their minds? Jimminy, any reasonable person can see that such critters thrive, absolutely thrive on invective and abuse. It binds them to the forum that much longer until they eventually run out of steam as a result of their own mysterious fuel economy. But we sure showed him, didn't we boys! He won't soon come rou--what? Oh. Here he come's with a new alias... The worst thing about haranguing the forum troll is that it makes us look good as we engage in the most antisocial and uncivil behavior this board can muster.