There are no enemies here

I thought my modest proposal would be the last thing I said about this, but I feel compelled to add something else.

Some of us hard polytheists have come off too strong in the debate. I know that I, personally, stopped listening to people, stopped considering the nuanced arguments of the other side and resorted to cheap theatrics to make my point. I tried to rectify that with the show where I made a concerted effort to give a balanced presentation of my opponents’ positions and gave them space and time to be heard. But throughout this I and others have acted like belligerent assholes.

The other side has gone way beyond that though. They have resorted to name-calling, mud-slinging, slander and dragging in completely irrelevant details about our personal lives.

I have pointed this out before and explained that I thought it was not only childish and a breach of etiquette but was also clearly an effort to distract and derail the argument since they had nothing constructive to add.

But I have been too generous in that.

Let’s be perfectly clear. When you call someone a Nazi, a fundamentalist, a domionionist, a bad person, the enemy you aren’t disagreeing with them anymore. You are demonizing them. You are shutting down all lines of communication. When you say that something needs to be done about these sorts of people, when you are suggesting that they need to be shut up and driven out of the community you are playing with fire.

You may be a reasonable and rational person. Most of the folks who read you and who comment on your posts may also fall into that category.

But there are a lot of people on the internet and a lot of those people are dangerously unhinged.

And you are giving them ammunition.

You are giving them permission.

Look, you yourself said it. These people are bad. These people are Nazis. These people are the enemy.

You can’t talk with a Nazi. You can’t reason with a Nazi. Nazis are evil. Nazis have to be stopped, at any cost. Nothing you do to a Nazi really matters because they’re a Nazi.

If you think I’m over-reacting then you’ve never received an e-mail threatening violence against you and your family. You’ve never gotten phone calls in the middle of the night or had someone show up on your doorstep or contact your place of employment.

Consider yourself lucky. Because I know plenty of people that this has happened to.

And that’s why I’ve tried to keep this about the issues, and not individuals. Why the worst thing you’ll see me say about someone is that they’re wrong or they’re acting stupid.

Calling someone stupid doesn’t justify violence against that person. If anything it suggests you should take extra care in explaining things to them.

Calling someone a Nazi, calling someone a domionist, calling someone the enemy, does.

If I met John Halstead in a pub right now I’d probably exchange heated words with him. I might even bloody his nose. What I wouldn’t do is use language like this, giving some deranged lunatic carte blanche to do him real violence.

Think about your words, people. Think about the effects that they have.

If for no other reason this is why I’m taking the month of July off.

You all are acting completely insane here. And when a Dionysian is telling you that you’re too crazy, maybe it’s time to pause and reflect.

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