Amazingly, I found myself banned from a blog today. I commented on three articles. The first one was about the female California Sunday School teacher arrested on allegations of killing an 8-year old, stuffing her body in a suitcase, and dumping it in a lake. The only evidence presented in the article was the woman's statement that the girl visited her that day, and the allegation that it was her suitcase. Extremely weak case on the face of it. No motive. No MO. No witnesses. No evidence.
The blog article, of course, was entitled "Jesus made her do it," and went on and on about Christian whackos killing people. Assuming she's guilty based on a ridiculously weak case. I queried why a bunch of leftists would assume someone was guilty based solely on an arrest, given the thousands upon thousands of acquittals every year, and the extremely weak evidence as presented in the media coverage. I never got a response.
The second article involved an anonymous allegation in an Italian newspaper that the Pope had somehow blocked the US appointment of an ambassador, based on her position as pro-choice. No details were given as to how this was done. The allegation was anonymous. And as anyone who understands how politics works knows, an ambassador's views on an issue of domestic law have absolutely no relevance to the hosting state -- the ambassador cannot change Vatican law, and would be foolish to try. On the other hand, the Vatican made an official statement flatly denying having received any proposed ambassador, much less somehow rejecting her. I pointed all this out. No response from the author, although I got some interesting dialogue from readers.
The third post reported a hacker that had apparently caused a number of computers to flag gay books at Amazon as "inappropriate," so they were removed from the bestseller lists. The author said this stood in contrast to the allegation that Amazon had "gone fundy," and begun censoring gay books. Clearly Amazon had not gone fundy -- it was a hacker.
I pointed out that Amazon was already "censoring" books -- but instead of deciding what books should be "censored" themselves, they allowed the users to do it through their "inappropriate" ratings. I then wondered whether it was censorship at all, since the books could still be purchased -- the only effect was that a private company chose to remove smut from its bestseller lists. Finally, I concluded that if that counted as censorship, then it was also censorship not to have gay books in the front window @ Hastings, where kids could see them while walking by, eating their Sno-Cones.
This last post disappeared without response. And when I posted again to see if it has been removed or if there had been an error, my post didn't show up. And although I was "subscribed" to the page, I had not received e-mails from other comments, as I had in the past. Then it dawned on me: I'd been banned.
So what did I learn about this particular leftist? Well, he:
1) Takes the cops at their word about murder allegations against sunday school teachers, without any demand for substantiation in the case;
2) Takes anonymous, vague, self-contradictory allegations against the Pope as true;
3) Thinks it's censorship to take adult books off the best-seller list of a bookselling website with a wide audience;
4) Censors readers who question his presumptions without personal attacks or bigotry, express or implied.
Now don't get me wrong -- he has every right in the world to block me or whoever else from his blog. It's his blog. But he did this in an article in which he decried censorship by a private bookstore for keeping porn off their personally owned and maintained bestseller lists. More than ironic.
The whole time I was engaged in this misadventure, I was struck by the similarities between his behavior and that of fascists. Trust the cops implicitly. Trust anonymous, unfalsifiable allegations. Censor your opponents.
And then I remembered, the Nazi party was the National SOCIALIST party ...
But the biggest insight I think I gained was the sense of "tribal warfare" in his approach to these issues. His actions are not driven my principle so much as what "team" you're on. If you're on the leftist team, then a private company's decision not to promote you sufficiently is censorship. But if you're on the rightist team, then "it's my blog, my rules, and I can cut you out whenever I like."
Cops aren't to be trusted implicitly, unless the accused is a Sunday school teacher. 'Cause she's on the religious team.
And an anonymous, vague, unsubstantiated allegation beats the word of the Pope any day of the week.
While viewing this through a tribal lens is pretty scary, it does bring things into focus. Until today, I had always been confused by the seemingly erratic behavior of leftist extremists. But now I have a model to construct at least hypothetical explanations for that behavior that are consistent with some inner, driving mental principle.