Now, anyone who reads my own blog regularly knows that I lean to the Right, but I strive to be nonpartisan. I have long ago come to the conclusion that Left, Right, or Middle every political ideology has it's share of both idiots and leaders of men. It's just a fact of life, just as no particular ideology is entirely correct or completely wrong. So, at the end of the day as long as we maintain an open mind there is always the opportunity to share our beliefs and occasionally make a convert, or become one to an extent ourselves. That is, as long as the opportunity to speak freely exists for all. This is one of the internets greatest strengths, free speech.
Or at least I thought so until recently. So let me tell you about the recent censorship I experienced personally, from a source who appears at least on the surface to stand for free speech and an open exchange of ideas.
Since its inceptions I have made the effort to have my blog syndicated on a number of blog boards and internet aggregators of blog feeds, best described as virtual bulletin boards of blog posts (so to speak). This has proven not only effective in finding readers but has also allowed me the opportunity to follow other bloggers, some whose ideas I share, others who I don't. Occasionally I find a blogger who I either agree or disagree with so strongly that I follow their posts regularly and comment on them when I feel it is warranted.
One such blogger I follow is a gentleman who tends to lean as far to the Left as I do to the Right. However he makes no bones about his bias or his partisanship. His articles tend to bash us "Righties" (his term, not mine) for virtually ever reason under the sun, blame us for any woe that befalls the nation (and some that haven't even occurred yet), and in general rant about everything yet convey nothing of substance. To be fair though, he is a man of conviction, conviction that President Obama is the Messiah and can do no wrong. In any discussion, he ignores the facts and generally falls to the same old tired response as his last line of defence, "we won the election, so live with it".
Naturally, this goes against my grain as I can't abide a closed mind or ignorance, so as a result when I read one of his posts that particularly annoys me I comment. I always attempt to quote facts to support my view when writing my comments, after all, fighting ignorance with more ignorance never wins the battle. I know that he does not appreciate my comments and he has frequently stated as much. I have in turn suggested many times that he could take a lesson from another Democrat, Harry S Truman who said it so well, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". Now while our nations (Canada and America) prides themselves on free speech, and while everyone is entitled to speak their mind there is no guarantee of a free pass on what they say. After all if an individual cannot defend their own personal beliefs to others through words or actions then maybe the time has come for that individual to re examine those very beliefs. At the very least they should expect and be prepared for some resistance and disagreement from those that have differing views.
So imagine my surprise when a number of my recent comments to some of this aforesaid gentleman's posts were not published on one of the boards we both frequent. When I sent a note to the board administrator questioning the reasoning behind this I received an email providing an explanation that included phrases such as "persistent targeting of every post" and "harassment intentionally attempting to discredit everything he says", the gist of it was that the moderator didn't like or agree with my comments, so he simply decided he was not going to post them. Well first off, I don't see it as persistent targeting of an individual, but more of a counterpoint to persistent ongoing stupidity! As for intentionally attempting to discredit his writings, I won't deny it, that was exactly my intention by providing actual facts to put his ongoing rants to rest.
I of course replied to the moderator defending my position and suggesting that this was not an example of the type of free speech that the board was intended to promote or reflective of the the individual whose namesake it bears, or its motto "debating extreme political views, creating workable solutions"
Here are a few of the comments I included in my reply
"I stick by what I stated earlier, if you are going to censor the board post the rules on commenting and make them clear, don't do it under the table by simply removing comments.
"This is not free speech, it is the worse form of censorship, hiding under the cover of darkness."
"Free speech has no grey area, you either have it or you don't. In the case of your board apparently it does not exist"
"Quite frankly, just remove the ability from the board to post comments, at least then your contributors and readers would know where you stand in allowing a free and open discussion about the ideas that are presented. Or are you afraid that might cause people to seek places where they are allowed to speak freely without Big Brother censoring them."
"If by this point you have determined you are not happy with what I am saying to you, feel free to censor me permanently by kicking me off the board. However before you do, ask yourself what doing so will say about your own view of free speech and liberty."
As you may have noted by now, I have made no mention of the blog board I am referring to, frankly at this point I have chosen not to in the hope that the administrator will see the error of his ways. It will be interesting to see if he in fact allows this article to appear on his board or if he will simply step up his censorship efforts by blocking it's posting. Maybe he will even take me up on my offer and kick me off completely, who knows.
I am curious to know how many other bloggers would be comfortable posting on a board that will simply censor comments that they feel are not appropriate on any given day, or ones where someone feels they were slighted. As for the blogger whose posts I was commenting on, I suspect he was one of those kids who regularly ran to the Principal to whine that he other kids were not playing fair, not giving him a turn at bat, and were just being mean to him. I mean really, complain to a board moderator that someone is commenting on our posts and you do not appreciate it.
An interesting side note, I once attempted to comment on the actual blog of the gentleman in question, he wouldn't post my comment either. Funny though, he has commented numerous times on my blog Dwindling Empire and I have never censored him or anyone else for that matter. I guess there still is a place on the Internet for free speech, right here on Dwindling Empire, my little free corner of the world. So please feel free to comment on this post or any other, whether you agree or not.