August 18, 2005

Commenting.

A couple of vicious links to this old post of mine have resulted in a lot of action in the comments. I wouldn't mind if some of you went over there and beat back some of the nastiness.

55 comments:

dave said...

If by "viscious," you mean "hung by your own petard," tough fucking shit.

No one deserves the abuse more.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: A "petard" is an explosive device. You can't be hung by one.

The Exalted said...

Ann,

Would you agree that the police murdering an innoncent, and then attributing suspicious activity to that innocent, leads to positive utility, because then people will be less likely to engage in that suspicious activity?

J. Otis Jr. said...

Per Merriam-Webster...

Main Entry: pe·tard
Pronunciation: p&-'tär(d)
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French, from peter to break wind, from pet expulsion of intestinal gas, from Latin peditum, from neuter of peditus, past participle of pedere to break wind; akin to Greek bdein to break wind

Considering it's roots, dave was accurate enough.

FloydFlanders said...

Actually, the Shakespearean phrase is "hoist in your own petard", which Ann you certainly were.

Dave was just off by one word.

Why should anyone want to beat back the quite reasonable characterizations of your nasty old post? You really should be rather ashamed that you even posted something so foolish.

Mom Underground said...

Looks as though Dave's been hung by his own retard.

Mom Underground said...

Further elucidation on the origin of the phrase as it was used by Shakespeare:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_295b.html

(Dave was wrong)

Smilin' Jack said...

Who knows what policy the police were following the day they killed Menezes? Fortunately, there hasn't been another incident like it, at least not yet. I would think the incident itself has forced them to change whatever that policy was.

If the new info is correct--that through incompetence and recklessness the police killed an innocent man and then tried to cover it up--there should be more than a change in policy. There should be homicide and conspiracy charges, just as if civilians had done it. The "good" that should come of this incident is that the police are reminded that they are not themselves above the law.

mrgumby2u said...

Regardless of the meaning of "petard" and whether it was properly used by Dave, I don't notice any of your "fans" rushing to the old post to bail you out in the comments. Perhaps even they can recognize that the original post was indefensible, even before the recent relevations of what actually happened.

Scipio said...

Hmmm.

I fail to see anything indefensible in the earlier post. Factually errant, certainly. But then, that happens when the facts as presented turn out to have been falsified.

Hindsight is a right bitch sometimes.

J. Otis Jr. said...

It's the reflexive cheerleading of official violence, that brings the foul odor of a fart, to the discussion, regardless if the original facts were right or wrong.

Roger Sweeny said...

Dave and FloydFlanders,

I don't know how much time you've spent on this blog but Ann is one of the most reasonable and fair people you'll find on the web. She doesn't repeat anyone's talking points. She isn't a "my team is great; your team sucks" person. She believes in saying things that are true even when it's easier not to.

Her initial point was totally true. If someone acts extremely suspiciously and is shot, fewer people are going to act that way. That doesn't mean the person should have been shot. It's just a valid observation of human nature--and of the fact that clouds often have silver linings.

Now it seems that the person wasn't acting so suspiciously at all; rather that the London police are %$#@! lying. I fell absolutely certain that Ms. Althouse doesn't think it was right for the police to kill him and lie about it, no matter how much that would deter suspicious conduct in the future.

Jonathan said...

j. otis jr. wrote:
It's the reflexive cheerleading of official violence, that brings the foul odor of a fart, to the discussion, regardless if the original facts were right or wrong.

I see a lot of reflexiveness here, but not on Ann's part. Some of the new commenters seem certain that anyone who disagrees with them is not just wrong but evil. The only odor is the stench of rotting leftist orthodoxy.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't know why anyone would be so worked up over the old post. The original post basically says two things: (1) The man's death was horrible and sad. (2) Maybe something good can come of it in that people will avoid terrorist-like behavior,(Same as people in the US knowing not to reach quickly for things or leave the interior lights off in a car with tinted windows when being pulled over by the police.) thus making terrorists stand out more. Terrorists being easier to spot = saved lives.

Then the update notes that the facts on which the initial post was based have turned out to be false and so perhaps nothing good can come of the man's death.

What's wrong with any of that? Why so much outrage? Lack of reading comprehension maybe?

Roger Sweeny said...

J. Otis Jr.,

I don't know how much you've seen of this blog but I can assure you that Ann does not do "reflexive cheerleading of official violence."

If this is your first visit here, you don't know whether Ann's response was reflexive or not. And it certainly wasn't cheerleading. And yet you interpreted it that way. Are you too quick to think bad things about people who say things that you disagree with?

Too Many Jims said...

The Exalted,

Ann either has not gotten around to it or has not taken the bait but I will (acknowledging up front that Ann's answer will be far better than this if she chooses to take the bait). But first let me point out that when Ann wrote the original post it was not suggested that the police were "attributing suspicious activity to the innocent". Rather, it was reported that the innocent was "engaged in suspicious activity".

That being said, I do believe that "the police murdering an innocent, and then attributing suspicious activity to that innocent, may lead to positive utility, because people will be less likely to engage in that suspicious activity thereby making it easier for authorities to identify genuinely dangerous behavior."

Does that mean I think that the authorities should kill innocent people? Hell no.

Does that mean I think that in this instance it would have (had it not been discovered that the police were lying) lead to an increase in utility? Not necessarily. That's an empirical question. I do wish, however, that if people disagreed with that premise they would give a reason why they disagree with it (e.g. it is not empirically correct) rather than just dismissing it with name calling.

J. Otis Jr. said...

There's not much good that can ever come from violence. At best when it's just, you can say that justice was served. When an innocent person was the target, nothing good can come from it, unless the there are measures put into place that will prevent this in the future.

I've not seen anything substantive done yet, to prevent this in the future.

Troy said...

J. Otis, Jr. said, " There's not much good that can ever come from violence."

That is patent nonsense. The Holocaust was ended by violence. Many crimes every year are stopped by violence. Your dinner (or any non-veg) is made possible by violence.
A bully stopped bullying me in 3rd grade because I popped his nose -- that was good for me -- not the jerk's nose.

A good friend of mine almost died of meningitis and due to his going to the hospital rthe doctor discovered he had a tumor growing in his sinus cavities. Tumor was spotted early enough that he got it trated and is cancer free for 12 years now. Good things happen from tragedies ALL THE TIME. The man's death at the hands of the UK police is tragic, horrible, etc. That does not preclude ANY good whatsoever from coming from it. Such a conclusion: that NO Good comes from tragic or even evil circumstances is childish to the nth degree and not supported by everyday experience.

All any of you petard retards have to do is read Althouse back even a week and you get the knowledge that Ann is decent and not a lover of violence - official or otherwise.

"Dave" sounds as if he would do his own violence -- of course that would be justified because he's righteous. Real tough guy Dave kiss your mommy with that keyboard?

Roger Yamada said...

"Real tough guy Dave kiss your mommy with that keyboard?"

How old is this kid, ten?

The Exalted said...

Jim,

I just wanted to see who I'm dealing with here.

If she is consistent in her logic, if she truly understands the economic analysis she is trying to utilize.

I suspect the answer to both those questions are No.

But if, the answer to these questions was Yes, then at least she would be consistent as a ruthless utilitarian, willing to condone all sorts of government malfeasance in the name of the greater good.

Because, to attempt to divine positive utility from this clear government wrongdoing, is clearly to operate on a truly amoral utilitarian plane.

(Note, I recognize you were engaging in a thought experiment)

Ann Althouse said...

The Exalted: You don't seem to understand time! To say good can come from something that has already happened is not to say you'd authorize it back at the point before it happened! You really aren't thinking straight. Really, you should be embarrassed to keep posting such foolish things. How do you get through life getting so angry at phantoms? And when did I ever advocate utilitarianism and economic analysis? Learn to read! And think before you write! Clearly!

Too Many Jims said...

A "ruthless utilitarian" might condone or carry-out the killing of an innocent. A "pragmatic utilitarian" might look for positives that come out of the killing of an innocent while condemning the killing.

Jack said...

I have not had time yet to read in detail all the comments to the original post in question, and I do not wish to add to the relatively irrelevant discussion here regarding "petards" and the possibility of being hoisted by one.

The message I wish to convey is this:

Recently, I have had to deal with more than one instance of being either quoted out of context or attacked for saying something (through selective quoting) that was not the point of my post.

In all cases, the attack was added to by a piling on in the comments of my weblog by the sycophants of the blogger who chose to attack me or quote me out of context.

It is one of the costs of having a weblog with comments enabled.

I have chosen, both because of the hateful comments I have had to deal with along with the problem of dealing with comment spam, to personally approve or reject ALL comments before they appear on my site.

In other words, since I'm paying for the bandwidth and hosting service (I'm not on Blogger, I have my own web host), I believe that I have the right to censor, the same as a newspaper that chooses which letters to the editor to publish.

There are plenty of free (as in no-cost) outlets for others who disagree with me to express themselves, enough so that I feel absolutely no responsibility to give them a venue to abuse me that *I* pay for.

So...

I do not know if this adds anything or not beyond an expression of commiseration: "I have been there, experienced that, and yes, it sucks."

I will try to make the time to read the comments of the original post and respond appropriately. I have read the original post itself along with the recent updates, and given the limited information available at the time the origial post was written, it is not unreasonable. The update, well, to me it seems to lack acknowledgment of the subsequent revelations, but I believe some reticence is indeed in order now, after the new information shows how little we really know about what happened.

My $0.02 expressed using $5.00 words.

Pogo said...

Some on the left are addicted to hating the West.

Days before this man was killed, Islamist terrorists killed more than 30 people and injured about 700 others. This was an act of war. In the seething 'calm', the police gun down an innocent man, thinking him another terrorist.

To the slobbering writers here, the latter is worse than the former. But where are the streams of invective directed against Muslim supporters of the bombing (e.g. as appeared in the Guardian)? Where is the vitriol against OBL, Zarqawi, and the London mosques spewing hate?

Your comments aren't meant to be helpful a la "How terrible; Apologize; What can we learn from it?"

No, it's far easier to gnash one's teeth against the awful West. You fear and admire the Islamists. Your silence about their evil acts and your relentless hatred of the West provides support for their cause. You are worse than useless, worse than a useful idiot, you are on the other side.

D-Day said...

Reading the comments here reminded me of an incident when I was a little girl. My dad heard the phrase "hoisted by his own petard" and assumed, for some reason, that it meant to have your head impaled on your own spear after a battle or something like that. One day he was doing a jury trial and was working himself into a righteous rage and then used the phrase. He came back to the office confused as to why the jurors were giggling during his argument. He came home mortified to find out he'd basically made a fart joke in open court.

This thread reminded me of that happy memory. Who would've thought these comments would have resulted in some social utility?

Troy said...

I'm amazed the jurors got a Shakespearean fart joke. How did they ever get past voir dire?

Smilin' Jack said...

To say good can come from something that has already happened is not to say you'd authorize it back at the point before it happened!

It's still a grotesque thing to say. On 9/11, were you talking abuot the "good" that might ensue? (Well, too bad about all those deaths, but maybe now they'll stop building ugly skyscrapers...)

It appears that an innocent man was wrongfully killed, so we should be talking about what we always do in such cases...about punishing those responsible to prevent recurrences.

Pogo said...

Re; "an innocent man was wrongfully killed, so we should be talking about what we always do in such cases...about punishing those responsible to prevent recurrences"

Are you speaking about going after the Islamists responsible for an act of war on British soil? Or did you mean something else?

Jonathan said...

The phrase, "hoist by his own petard" isn't a fart joke. It means "blown up by his own bomb." A petard was a bucket of gunpowder used by besiegers to blow down fortified doors.

Ann Althouse said...

Smilin' Jack: Did you read the post? I absolutely did say something good came from 9/11. It was the very model for the point I made.

And we still don't know that he was wrongfully killed. I don't think the police killed him for no reason. I don't think they made up a false story about his behavior for no reason either (if that's what they did). I think they must have believed he was about to blow up the train. Nothing else would make sense.

By the way, we still don't know if the leaked information is true. Why are my critics so eager to believe that? The police at most, it seems, believed something without adequate proof and told a false cover story. But maybe the leaks are false, or maybe they are true but the police actually had good proof.

Assuming the police acted without adequate proof, you ought to learn a lesson yourself from that. You actually don't know what happened yet, so why have you gone so hard on the attack. You're just letting your own prejudices dribble over everything.

I'm trying very hard to resist airing a little prejudice of my own about anti-war folk. Believe me, if I was willling to swing as freely as you are, I could return insults far stronger than yours.

Amandita said...

Smilin' Jack, I feel you are one of the many attacking Ann now that just likes to see his own type, and doesn't care to engage in too much mental activity. She was not suggesting that it was a good thing that the incident occurred. She is suggesting that some manner of good may come from it. It was a tragic occurrance and she recognized that fact. You completely misconstrue the point with your off-base 9/11 analogy.

Sorry you're taking so much heat Ann. You know, my father always said that profanity is the eloquence of the ignorant, but it seems like some of the ignorant like to write eloquently as well. You have both going on here.

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

It seems to me (and, frankly, I can't bear to read repeated argumentative comments by the same handful of hysterics) that Ann didn't say anything wrong, and somehow people have got all afternoon to call her vicious names without any reasonable basis for doing so. It is a shame the man was killed, IF he wasn't acting suspiciously, then -- it would appear -- heads will roll. What else would you suggest be done? Would you like to cut them off yourselves?

trza said...

Let's go to the tape:

"A further good has been created."

The shooting/murder/execution/ of an innocent man created a good. Crass, at the very least.

"As ordinary persons change their behavior and drop the bulky clothing and unnecessary running, the real terrorists will stand out more."

As electricians leave their workbelts at home? As brown-skinned men go without denim jackets in the city?

"Indeed, if anyone ever behaves like Jean Charles de Menezes again..."

um, oops.

"the presumption that he is a terrorist will be so overwhelmingly strong that the police really must kill him."

An innocent man wearing his electrician's belt and a denim jacket swipes his card Underground card and gets on the subway. Take it away, Ms. Althouse:

"the police really must kill him."

If you don't recognize the sick nature of that comment, you are being deliberately obtuse. How hard is it to say "I'm sorry. I was off base?"

knoxgirl said...

I'll never cease to be amazed at how much free-floating vitriol people on the left can muster for just about anyone but the terrorists. Some cops in London who are under the most extreme pressure imaginable and made a horrible mistake become uber-villains, and the rage directed at them by the left is vicious and instantaneous.

The commenters here who suggest that the cops did it on purpose, or carelessly, or gleefully, or whatever it is they think happened... and similarly condemn the author of this blog out-of-hand... well, that just confirms the sad state of the left at this point. They repeatedly attribute the worst motivations to everyone but the people who are BLOWING PEOPLE UP every day. And the language and hostility with which they express themselves is truly unhinged.

Is it anti-capitalism? anti-semitism? anti-western-ism? anti-Bushism? I don't even care anymore. It's just stupid and ultimately self-destructive. Both to their political credibility and to western civilization were we to put them in charge.

The Exalted said...

Well, sorry Ann, but your language "a further good" is the language of utilitarian analysis. Add in the fact that you are a law professor, and I assumed that was the rubric under which you were operating. You say you were not, so fine, but I'll add that the content of your comment, that a tragedy can be a good thing because the change in behavior it inspires, aka the massed good outweighs the loss, is indeed a utilitarian argument.

I, and many others I suspect, take such issue with your comment because of the way it is framed. When you say it is unlikely to happen again, you point not to the fact that maybe now the police will use sane procedures, training and sense of rationality, but instead posit that people will no longer unnecessarily run and wear bulky clothing. As a law professor, I would think you understand that you are putting the onus of change on the wrong parties. Perhaps it is those who have unlawfully killed who should be altering their behavior?

And, fine, this information as to his innocence is not confirmed. Lets say he was wearing a bulky jacket. Lets say he was running. You think this gives the police license to shoot him in the head, after he is restrained? I am sure you realize, even in a war zone, soldiers are not at liberty to take such an action. And, contrary to what this cretin Pogo seems to think, London is not a war zone.

Compounding your strange tone is your update, where you opine that perhaps the fact that the shoot-to-kill policy resulted in an innocent man's murder within days of its enactment is "something we should worry about."

Well, I'll say.

Lastly, it is rich for you to ask me to write and think clearly. Need I remind you, you offered that we should create lightweight jackets as a solution to either the problem of 1) Islamic terrorism in London or 2) Police shootings of innocent civilians.

Bravo.

Sam said...

"And we still don't know that he was wrongfully killed. I don't think the police killed him for no reason. I don't think they made up a false story about his behavior for no reason either (if that's what they did). I think they must have believed he was about to blow up the train. Nothing else would make sense."

It's incredible to me that you automatically accept the police version of the story when there is empirical evidence that the amended version of events as reported in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and on the BBC is correct. There is nothing, except wishful thinking, that could lead you to believe that the police version was anything but false. If there are two contradictory versions of events, why would you believe the version of July 24th? It makes no sense!

Sam said...

"And we still don't know that he was wrongfully killed. I don't think the police killed him for no reason. I don't think they made up a false story about his behavior for no reason either (if that's what they did). I think they must have believed he was about to blow up the train. Nothing else would make sense."

It's incredible to me that you automatically accept the police version of the story when there is empirical evidence that the amended version of events as reported in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and on the BBC is correct. There is nothing, except wishful thinking, that could lead you to believe that the police version was anything but false. If there are two contradictory versions of events, why would you believe the version of July 24th? It makes no sense!

trza said...

knoxgirl,

Most people, on the left or elsewhere, can walk and chew gum and at same time. For example, Mayor Ken Livingstone:

'London's Mayor Ken Livingstone called the killing a ''human tragedy.''

''The police acted to do what they believed necessary to protect the lives of the public. This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility,'' he said.'

http://www.officer.com/article/article.jsp?siteSection=8&id=24907

The point isn't that people on the left hate the cops or think what happened is worse that the bombings. Nice try at the bait and switch, though.

Ann Althouse said...

The Exalted: "Well, sorry Ann, but your language "a further good" is the language of utilitarian analysis." Did you sincerely misread that? Maybe English isn't your first language. I actually can now see what you might have thought you read, though it's rather bizarre. Did you think I meant, the victim died for the greater good? That it is worth it that he died because of the good it brought? I'd never noticed the possibility of seeing it that way before, and obviously I've said over and over that that isn't what I meant. I meant that two positive effects flow from the unfortunate event. The first is that people will know not to behave in the way that looks suspicious to the police and the additional one, that is the "further good," iis that actually guilty people will stand out more. If that's what you've been blowing off steam about all day, please just say I'm sorry I misread that and be decent about it. Otherwise I'm going to say that Knoxgirl hit the nail on the head.

Pogo said...

Re: "I am sure you realize, even in a war zone, soldiers are not at liberty to take such an action. And, contrary to what this cretin Pogo seems to think, London is not a war zone."

Hey exhalted one, I went to Creighton, a college in Nebraska, not Cretin, a high school in St. Paul.

The fact that you seem unable to recognize a war, so declared by the enemy themselves, seems the more cretinous comment, really. (Apologies to CDH alumni).

Sam said...

"I meant that two positive effects flow from the unfortunate event. The first is that people will know not to behave in the way that looks suspicious to the police and the additional one, that is the "further good," iis that actually guilty people will stand out more."

I'm really, really trying to get this but I'm not smart enough on the first try so please have mercy and help me through this one more time. What was suspicious about his actions again? How exactly can the innocent citizenry of London avoid behaviors that are suspicious if they don't know what those suspicious behaviors are? And how exactly can the police distinguish between the bombers and all the other miscellaneous brown people again?

The Exalted said...

Ugh, Ann, you are a piece of work.

Nice, asking if English is my first language.

Is this one of the high minded tools of debate you use in your lectures?

And, you continue to say that, as a result of an innocent being killed, that now people know not to act suspicious. You continue to put the onus on the populace at large, and not on the police who commited the wrongdoing here.

Truly amazing. And contemptible.

And you highlight "Knoxgirl" as "hitting the nail on the head," who posits that anyone who disagrees with 1) you, or 2) the police, is necessarily anti-western, anti-capitalist, anti-semitic, and anti-bush.

Well, if this is the kind of rhetoric you endorse, then I'm clearly wasting my time attempting to debate with you. I could point out that one, such as myself, could cherish the rule of law and basic human rights and still be pro-capitalist, pro-western and not an anti-semite. Indeed, such principles are what guide and keep our system afloat. But, clearly, such subtleties are lost here.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Ann's opening paragraph pretty much summed up her whole post:

It's terrible that the poor man was shot to death yesterday by the London police who had reason to think he was a terrorist. But should we worry that the shoot-to-kill policy will result in more deaths?

I have yet to find an actual comment in the above that proves malicious or indefensible, especially coming two days after four bombs went unexploded in London, and two weeks after 52 commuters were killed.

Rather, she takes an incident, and after acknowledging the tragedy, suggests how such an unhappy occurrence might in fact prevent future unhappy outcomes.

If Ann had only used her powers of omniscience, she would have known the police made a major mistake the moment she blogged about it. Her point, however, takes on no dark or evil hue with the addition of new facts or theories, accept in the minds of certain gasbags who dance the happy dance at getting an opporunity to fling smelly petard around.

Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Overall, looking back at that old thread, what I'm seeing is a deep-seated hostility to the police by a lot of people who are jumping to take advantage of one bad incident to push a big generalized position they have. The incident was really bad (as it looks on incomplete knowledge), but the solution is to do better police work, not to overreact and swing way they hell into an anti-police position. You know, they have a terribly hard job, and they failed to stop the bombings on 7/7 and were engaged at that point in stopping others. In the course of doing that worthy job, which saved many lives, they made a mistake, and no one is happy about that. Assess the facts for what they are. I'm not seeing that here. I'm seeing anti-police radicalism behind your little adventures in blog commenting. It's really pointless to try to reason with you and to talk to you in serious debate form, but I'm a law professor and perhaps some of you are my students, so it is my policy to try to treat you as if you were my students. So I'll just say office hours are over for me on that post. I've closed the comments for it and will close the comments here as well if people don't figure out how to behave.

miklos rosza said...

the self-righteousness and self-satisfaction on display by some here today truly repels me.

i agree with knoxgirl. i guess that's all i have to say.

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

The term "debate" assumes that someone wishes to be persuaded, or can approach the issue in a listening way. Which of any of the Ann-is-a-utilitarian-@$#%^@& demonstrates a willingness to do that? And, Officer Guano, do you understand that the initial blog was posted 3 weeks ago? So -- Ann, close it -- don't give them the satisfaction.

Smilin' Jack said...

Smilin' Jack: Did you read the post? I absolutely did say something good came from 9/11. It was the very model for the point I made.

Yes, 9/11 taught us that we must rush hijackers, but it's weird to call that "something good." We must learn to defend ourselves against many dangers in life, but that learning is not in itself "good", just necessary.

By the way, we still don't know if the leaked information is true.

That's why my posts contain phrases such as "If the new info is correct..." and "It appears..." Your own update that started this whole thread begins "Leaked information from independent investigation indicates..." so I think it's reasonable to take that as the basis for discussion.

And we still don't know that he was wrongfully killed....The police at most, it seems, believed something without adequate proof and told a false cover story.

If you kill an innocent man and are caught lying about it, I'd say that's a pretty strong indication the killing was wrongful. If not, what is the false cover story covering?

You're just letting your own prejudices dribble over everything.
I'm trying very hard to resist airing a little prejudice of my own about anti-war folk.


You're dribbling prejudice here yourself, Ann. I'm not anti-war or leftist...quite the opposite. I don't have to be to deplore police misconduct and want to see it punished.

Believe me, if I was willling to swing as freely as you are, I could return insults far stronger than yours.

Stronger than mine anyway, since I don't believe I've insulted you at all. In general I respect you and your blog...that's why I read it (and to keep up with latest from Madison.) But as another comment put it, this post was not your finest hour.

Ann Althouse said...

Smilin' Jack: "If you kill an innocent man and are caught lying about it, I'd say that's a pretty strong indication the killing was wrongful. If not, what is the false cover story covering?" But it's not absolute proof. They may have been trying to hide the intelligence they had on the terrorists.

Sam said...

This whole thread is kinda petering out. Obviously, no one can speak for Althouse but Althouse. My suspicion, as a deeply emotionally intuitive being (85%...yeah baby!), is that Althouse wrote a post which sounded good to her at the time, ended up being based on flawed information, and chose to defend an essentially untenable position because a bunch of "guests" from other blogs stopped by to cross-examine her, sometimes not gently. Now, I disagreed with everything she said, and almost always do (I loooooove mayonnaise). But let's head on back to our side of the tracks and leave this poor woman alone for a while. She's suffered enough. I don't think Althouse has adequately repudiated her flawed initial position, and I'm not qualified to argue against her position from a legal standpoint. However, this whole dialogue or argument seems to me to boil down to a fundamental and irreducible world view about law and order. Althouse will always, without exception, defer to authority, in this case the police. That's neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It speaks to a essential component of personality and, like all personality traits, is beyond reproach as long as it doesn't stray into the sociopathological. A lot of the visitors from other blogs have a contrary position, deeply held, that we must always, without exception, be suspicious of authority. Nobody's gonna change my mind, nor yours about this. That is the great and potentially harmful failure of the blogosphere is it forces us into camps. It's rarely that anything approaching thesis, antithesis, synthesis can occur in an environment like this place. My deeply emotionally intuitive nature (85% read it and weep) tells me that Althouse isn't one millionth as surly with her students as she is in her comments. I promise you that I'm not this snotty in the real world either.

We've vented, gotten our blood pressure up, decided each other is crazy, so let's eat dinner and start again tomorrow.

Sam said...

One last thing before I dig in to my chicken panang: http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1551199,00.html

Very sound and reasonable commentary.

Aaron said...

One suspects that there would be no "utilitarian" confusion if your post had made the case that some good had come from Casey Sheehan's death since it gave Cindy Sheehan a platform to bring out the truth. I think it is that some folk don't see any police actions or citizen involvement in the war on terror as a good. The rest is just sophistry.

Ann Althouse said...

Aaron: Thanks. I was thinking of Casey Sheehan's death in this context too. Basically, a death becomes an occasion to get attention for a preexisting political message and to claim special authority for it and to act like people who disagree with you don't care about the loss of life.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm going to close the comments on this post too. I'm maxed out on responding to people. This has been a dispiriting attempt at trying to respond to criticism. The nastiness today epitomizes for me the problem people on the left have speaking with ordinary moderate Americans. They get off on a blustery MoveOn.org attitude and lose track of how to talk to people. I'm not for unnecessary police violence! It's just inflammatory to keep saying that about me. How can you expect me to listen to you when you're absurdly combative like that? And then you never acknowledge the side of the story that's about taking the war on terrorism seriously! How politically inept! You don't even seem to have any memory that there were once people called liberal hawks. If someone takes the war on terrorism seriously, you start right in calling them not just conservative but right wing and even go for the Nazi references. What a sad, sorry display!