Where I Stand

Let me start by reiterating something that I said on Twitter and elsewhere on this blog: I will no longer waste my time getting into long conversations with unfriendly or aggressive individuals. My political and philosophical opinions can easily be found in my work, fiction and non-fiction alike, and I don’t see the point in having to have the same conversation over and over with people whose opinion is not going to change. I was accused of being childish for not wanting to do so, but I rather strongly disagree with that assessment, and in fact I feel that not engaging with such individuals is the exact opposite of childish.

Furthermore: I do not buy the argument that “he may be a racist, but he’s got some good points.” Sorry, but the moment you make a racist comment, I will lose all respect for you. Neither is calling someone a racist just a way of ignoring what they have to say. If a racist asshole comments on this blog, I will call him or her a racist asshole and ban them. Racism, unlike Christianity or Libertarianism, is not just “an opinion,” and I will not tolerate it on this blog, as I do my best not to tolerate it in real life.

The same goes for unfriendly and aggressive individuals. I simply won’t waste my time, which could be used to create or enjoy art, giving validity to such people. All they want, after all, is attention.

Neither do I accept the argument that it is my responsibility to encourage such individuals to be more friendly or less racist, or to enlighten them by posting counter-arguments that will anyway lie outside the small circle drawn by their faith/hate. If they come to my blog looking for discussion, it is up to them to be friendly and considerate.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: Some people cannot be convinced, only defeated. I will not waste my time trying to explain myself or to justify my stance on racism. I will not try to argue with those who are not open to argument, or who are clearly looking for a fight. I will continue to speak my mind, and tell the truth as I see it, in stories and blog posts and articles, and I will try to be clear about why I believe the things I believe; but if a better world will ever be created, it will be created in spite of those who are opposed, even if they ultimately benefit from the changes.

My business is to create, and that is what I will do.

But, knowing all too well that I am not infallible, I will always be open to those who, in a friendly and open manner, want to discuss and question and analyze.

Leave a comment

26 Comments

  1. If being racist isn’t just an opinion then what is it? It’s more of a belief system than an opinion, but I don’t want to get into pedantic arguments about that so I’ll leave it alone.

    Anyways.

    You fail to consider why people are racist. Most of the time, at least in my experiences, people are brought up in a culture (or parental influences) that encourages it and considers it normal. Just like you were, presumably, brought up in a culture that discourages and condemns it and finds racism abnormal.

    Back to my point I was trying to make to you, on twitter, telling someone that they are wrong (on everything, not just their racist beliefs) and failing to address their points is silly. Name calling is certainly not productive, and if you don’t want to engage such a person then you should do it in a more respectable manner.

    As far as I can tell, he was not intentionally condescending to you, he did not curse you, and he wasn’t rude. He was unintentionally offending you, due to some racist beliefs he holds, but I don’t think that warrants the response you gave him.

    You may think he’s “just” a racist asshole, but he’s also a fellow human being. If you were really bothered that he was racist, you could at least have made a slight effort to intelligently counter his arguments and challenge his belief system. Who knows? What if such an engagement changed his mind? I disagree that some people can’t be reasoned with. Would that not be more productive than simply saying “go away racist asshole” ?

    Now, of course I don’t think you should address every racist troll out there. But take it on a per-case basis. And in regards to the fellow you so dismissed, that would be one of them.

    Ah, anyways you still fail to understand the very basic point I was trying to make. Labeling people is destructive (and in my opinion, just as bad as racism) and treating them as if they are below you because they have a different opinion or belief system (no matter how much you may disagree) is something I would expect from a child, and not someone such as yourself.

    Basically what I’m saying is, grow up.

  2. “Grow up.” And that is not offensive how? You’re implying I am a foolish child, and you are the wise adult who is explaining things to me. In other words, you think I am below you because I hold a different opinion.

    I fear I do understand the very basic point you are trying to make, and have written several responses to it, explaining in detail why I disagree. I don’t think there’s much else I can do.

  3. I also disagree with your statement that the post was not intentionally offensive/condescending; it was, and I have explained why I consider my reaction to it to be justified. You may act differently on your own website, as is your right; but I do find it problematic that you are so concerned with my reaction (being nasty to a racist) and not with the original poster’s racism.

    (Note that the poster also refused to provide an email, a usual sign that someone’s trolling.)

  4. I’m not implying that you are a foolish child, but that you were acting like one. Labeling people is bad, I would much rather label certain behaviours people exhibit and then address it (as I just did, and as you failed to do when calling that person a racist asshole).

    I do have a problem with racism, for the exact same reason that I have a problem with useless labels, and I don’t quite appreciate your implication that I am okay with it.

    And, as I said before, I’m concerned with this behaviour not just in regards to you and you only, but in general. A “pet peeve”, if you will.

  5. My approach is different, and will continue to be different. Sometimes dialogue is a good thing, sometimes it is a compromise that should not be accepted. Sometimes we need to explain ourselves, but sometimes we also need to call people out. I strongly believe that sometimes there is nothing more important than saying “you are a racist asshole.” There has been too much compromise and rationalization on these issues, to the point where bit for bit such behaviours are becoming acceptable (“the way he said it was wrong, but he does have a point” is now regularly being said in Germany about someone who is advocating that Turkish people are genetically inferior).

    I do, in fact, react on a case by case basis to commenters. And in this case I decided that the right thing to do was to tell him to fuck off. I stand by that choice, and will react in the same way to the next aggressive racist poster.

    May I point out that you could simply have said that I am intellectually wrong, without using the offensive childishness rhetoric?

  6. Ahh, I have no interest in discussing this further if those are the kinds of questions you are going to ask me.

    You were acting like a child, I wasn’t trying to be offensive. I was merely pointing it out, in case you were unaware.

  7. So anyone who disagrees with you, even if they attempt to explain the logic behind their actions, is childish? And you can’t be asked about why you chose to phrase your complaint in such a way? Who is avoiding the discussion here?

    “I was merely pointing it out, in case you were unaware.” In case I was unaware? Seriously? How about you turn down the condescension a bit? It’s harming your arguments.

    Just saying “I wasn’t trying to be offensive” and then being offensive doesn’t work.

  8. No, it’s childish to call someone a racist asshole. Name calling is childish, I don’t see how you would disagree? Sorry if I was not clear on that, although I thought I was.

    I have to admit, I’m not quite fond of your tone. Basically saying “no u!” isn’t really healthy to this discussion. If I am behaving like a hypocrite then say so, instead of passive-aggressively asking rhetorical questions. As if me being hypocritical somehow invalidates my position, which is that you tend to avoid discussions by dismissing others based on labels.

    I was unintentionally offensive, which is a huge difference between intentionally offensive. If I truly offended you, I apologize. Furthermore, I don’t understand what you mean by “doesn’t work”. I wasn’t implying that I was not offensive. I was saying that if I was, it was unintentional.

  9. No, it’s childish to call someone a racist asshole. Name calling is childish, I don’t see how you would disagree?

    I do not believe it is childish to call a racist asshole a racist asshole. I have explained my position many times over. You have the right to disagree, but I believe I have articulated my reasons in detail.

    I have to admit, I’m not quite fond of your tone. Basically saying “no u!” isn’t really healthy to this discussion. If I am behaving like a hypocrite then say so, instead of passive-aggressively asking rhetorical questions.

    There’s nothing passive-aggressive about using questions as a rhetorical device.

    As if me being hypocritical somehow invalidates my position, which is that you tend to avoid discussions by dismissing others based on labels.

    I’m sorry, but I fear that according to your logic holding any sort of opinion about other people’s behaviours is a “label,” and it is impossible to call a racist a racist. And I continue to be disturbed by your focus on my being nasty to a racist, when you have nothing to say to the person who seems to believe that another’s nationality explains everything about them.

    I was unintentionally offensive, which is a huge difference between intentionally offensive. If I truly offended you, I apologize. Furthermore, I don’t understand what you mean by “doesn’t work”. I wasn’t implying that I was not offensive. I was saying that if I was, it was unintentional.

    You repeatedly asserted that you were not trying to be offensive, only to continue by being blatantly condescending and offensive. And yes, it is blatant, even if you say that it’s not meant to be. Perhaps you need to reconsider your own usage of vocabulary. Do you believe that calling someone childish is not offensive?

  10. Let me elaborate further: not only do I not believe that “cursing” or “swearing” is not childish, I believe it is an essential part of our communicative abilities. And, for reasons I have explained, I find it (philosophically, politically, personally) important to use these abilities when it comes to certain offensive individuals and prejudices. I find it important to tell some people to fuck off. But I’ve explained that already, and all you can do is repeat that I am childish for telling off what is basically a heckler.

  11. I did not call you childish. I said you were acting childish. Which, I feel, is an accurate description of your behaviour in regards to your “racist asshole” comment. Calling you childish would be quite offensive, if I had said it. Saying you are acting like a child, is a description of the way I perceive you. It’s not a judgment on you.

    You can think he’s a racist all you want, but calling him a racist asshole is counter-productive, as I’ve said over and over again. Instead of calling him a racist asshole, don’t you think it would have been the more mature thing to say “What you are saying is racist.” and include some reasoning as to why?

    But my ‘focus’ isn’t on you being nasty to a ‘racist’. It’s about you being nasty to a fellow human being based on a label you decided to apply to him. Which, by abstraction, could be considered a form of racism.

    Perhaps there is an error in communication, which I will take the blame for. I don’t think you’re understanding me clearly, and it is probably my fault.

  12. I did not call you childish. I said you were acting childish. Which, I feel, is an accurate description of your behaviour in regards to your “racist asshole” comment. Calling you childish would be quite offensive, if I had said it. Saying you are acting like a child, is a description of the way I perceive you. It’s not a judgment on you.

    That strikes me as sophistry.

    You can think he’s a racist all you want, but calling him a racist asshole is counter-productive, as I’ve said over and over again. Instead of calling him a racist asshole, don’t you think it would have been the more mature thing to say “What you are saying is racist.” and include some reasoning as to why?

    No, I do not. I’m not saying it would have been wrong, but I’m saying it’s not the only valid reaction, and sometimes it is necessary to react in a different manner. Sometimes we need to be unfriendly.

    Perhaps there is an error in communication, which I will take the blame for. I don’t think you’re understanding me clearly, and it is probably my fault.

    No, there is no error. But why are you assuming that if you explain your opinion, I will naturally agree? I know what you are trying to say, and I disagree.

    I did not decide to respond the way that I did out of pique. I chose my words carefully, and I continue to stand by them.

  13. Quoting me and saying my argument is sophist isn’t helpful, could you please explain why you think so? I don’t think it is; and if you have a good reasoning as to why you do, that would benefit me greatly.

    I disagree that we need to be unfriendly. Frankly, I think it is a shame you think that.

    If there is no error in my communication then why did you say “This strikes me as sophistry.” ? Surely you can understand my confusion at this apparent contradiction.

    I just felt some need to communicate my concerns to you. Perhaps out of boredom? I don’t really know why, I just did. But I was hoping that I could provide sufficient reasoning to support my argument and perhaps influence you in some way. I have been influences through discussions such as these, and my viewpoints have been changed positively because or in spite of them.

    At the very least, I was hoping that you would consider the notion that you should take someone’s argument on it’s own without prejudice or any sort of inherent bias based on your own beliefs. That maybe you would think twice before you snap and get angry, and resort to name-calling. Which, in my opinion, doesn’t make you any better than the person you are trying to insult.

  14. Verena Kyratzes

     /  February 4, 2011

    Issues of condescension and misunderstanding aside (in order: one is occurring, the other isn’t, by the way): Jonas is right. Time has proven again and again that you usually can’t argue with racists and capitalist hardliners, both of which this Jn person is without a doubt.
    In any case this seems to be a discussion that’s mostly fueled by… let’s call it “semantic obsession.” For example: if someone is a racist or if racism is just one facet of this otherwise poor and misunderstood individual doesn’t really matter in the face of the fact that one might just as well argue with a brick wall. And a brick wall with very nasty beliefs at that.
    Arguing with Jn would probably (yes, I know, not certainly) have just ended in an endless, repetitive comment thread that doesn’t achieve anything except going in circles long enough to wear a hole into the internet. Actually, come to think of it, much like this discussion.

  15. Quoting me and saying my argument is sophist isn’t helpful, could you please explain why you think so?

    Saying I need to “grow up” and saying I’m being childish (and that you’re just helpfully pointing it out, “in case I’m unaware”), and then trying to claim that this is not the same as saying I’m childish, and that it was not meant to be offensive. There’s a million things you could have said apart from “grow up,” no need to imply my foolishness with comments about my perhaps being unaware of my childishness. Arguing the semantics of “you are childish” versus “you are being childish” strikes me, in the context of the rest of your words, as an attempt to continue being offensive while claiming not to be.

    At the very least, I was hoping that you would consider the notion that you should take someone’s argument on it’s own without prejudice or any sort of inherent bias based on your own beliefs.

    I find this sort of relativism extremely problematic. Not every opinion is valid, or worthy of consideration and discussion. An opinion based on racism is inherently worthless, because it is based on absurd principles. Such an opinion, expressed with aggression and condescension, is certainly worth nothing more than a quick “fuck off.”

    To dismiss a racist’s babbling is not prejudice; to say so indicates a disturbing acceptance of racism.

    That maybe you would think twice before you snap and get angry, and resort to name-calling. Which, in my opinion, doesn’t make you any better than the person you are trying to insult.

    As I have said before, I did not snap and get angry at all, even though you keep trying to frame this as an unthinking, emotional response based on my “anti-racist bias.” Neither do I think that swearing at someone makes one morally equal to them; in fact, the very idea that you think someone being a racist is just as bad as me calling them one, seems quite terrible to me.

  16. You can submit a comment without an e-mail?! O_o

  17. Without a valid one, yes – you can just put some nonsense in that field, like the guy did. Like most trolls do.

  18. You are still completely missing my point, and it’s frustrating me to the point where I can longer participate in this discussion.

    Your idiocy and unwillingness (either that or you are incapable) to comprehend my statements disappoints me. And surprises me, to be frank.

    Whatever you say, I concede. You are clearly the bigger man. I only wish one day I could be as judgmental as you, then maybe I could get some sort of silly satisfaction by calling other people assholes.

  19. Sebastian

     /  February 4, 2011

    Well allen, it was rather nice of Jonas to label your “childish”-ejaculation as sophistry, when in fact it was mere idiocy.

  20. Thanks for finally showing your true colours, allen. Goodbye.

  21. Oh, and fuck you, you condescending asshole.

    …yup. Satisfying.

  22. One would expect this conversation never to take place. I really thought the post was pretty clear. Oh, well. Just for the record I agree with Jonas with only a slight change, that should be made clear via this old slogan in Greek: Ο λαός δεν ξεχνά, τους φασίστες τους κρεμά.

  23. Sebastian

     /  February 4, 2011

    Could I have that translated?

  24. Well I kind-of think both you and Allen had a point, but Allen was quite rude.

    I am confused why either of you, particularly Allen, actually argued cyclically for so long. But I did like the irony of a post designed to reduce future pointless arguments creating the biggest pointless argument of all.

    Random Question (brought on by the use of Greek):
    What do Greeks use for mathematical symbols, because we (North Americans) use Greek symbols to represent many mathematical constants and important variables.
    Is it the same for you, except for you they are just normal letters?

  25. It happened because I mistakenly believed allen was genuinely interested in a discussion. A mistake I will not repeat.

    As for Greek mathematics, yeah, what you said is pretty much it. Pi is still pi, only it’s also a regular letter.

  26. Oh, and Sebastian: the phrase translates to something like “The people do not forget, they hang the fascists.”