De Re Patientia Et Intolerantia

Or, as they say in English, "On Matters of Tolerance and Intolerance", assuming I've got the Latin right...

 

The story goes Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela spent 27 years in jail as a political prisoner/terrorist and came out as a man, president and icon of forgiveness, tolerance and inclusion after enduring together with others circumstances and injustices which have turned many people into justifiable burning beacons of hate and desire for retribution. How he did it is beyond my capacity to understand and emulate- and God/Yahweh/Allah etc. knows I’ve tried for decades.

 

 

Until DARPA’s invention went mainstream, space was the final frontier. These days, the internet is either a close second or an earthbound match, with its promises of Artificial Intelligence, crowd-funding, enabling of mass communication on a planetary scale, global trade, the 24 hour news cycle, access to porn of all kinds, nearly unrestricted access to knowledge previously held only by high-ranking specialists and an increased effect of rapidly spreading speech, which used to take years, diligent effort on the part of publishers and huge efforts to spread causes and stories.

 

 

Still, the internet is under increasing threat from those who would censor and control its content, and there are fewer and fewer platforms which those who use the internet can climb digital soap boxes like they do to this day in London’s Hyde Park Fools’ Corner. Most, if not all those who regularly surf ye olde interwebs know stories of people being banned from social media platforms for their remarks, of harassment and bullying, slander, torture, and lives destroyed to the point of suicide. Most, if not all of us, know it can happen for the best and worst, wisest and dumbest of reasons, something that undoubtedly weighs heavily on the minds of good people who could contribute to mankind’s base of knowledge and wisdom if only they didn’t have to fear for their lives and reputations whenever they step out of digital front doors like ghosts into an electronic fog, to paraphrase Counting Crows’ song Round Here.

 

 

The illustrious American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson once said “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it”. I believe he was right, but also that like myself, he left out something that ought to be self-evident, but when looking at what’s happening, is not, and that is “the use of freedom must not be in such a way as to wrongly paint with a malicious brush or attempt to oppress the opinions of those with whom we disagree, just because we disagree”. For my part, I left out of the “Thanksgiving South African Style” post that “comparing evil or hardship and always finding something worse or someone worse off than us, does not excuse us from constantly trying to improve our situation or those of whom we see suffering to a degree we find intolerable”. In other, less PC words, I was saying “just because there’s somebody worse off than you does not mean you should do nothing about sorting your shit out- reach for the stars, damn it!”

 

 

The parts (PC and otherwise) I left out are my own quotes and all those who read them are free to repeat them until their friends and readers get sick and tired, whether they give me credit or not, although credit would be nice...

 

 

Okay, so what happened? Leroy called my post another attempt at playing the “be glad” game, and I responded it was no game. Then Jeff Michka said something which prompted Michael B. to defend me (I was absent due to lack of data for my internet connection) and he went off on Jeff with everything from the literary equivalent of flechette rounds to Willie Pete that had Jeff’s surname mutilated rather badly. To make matters worse, Jeff retaliated with some arty of his own which implied Michael B. and I were Nazis. That got my batteries wet and bunched the G-string I don’t wear in quite a knot, so I told Jeff to kiss “the aperture to a tight, dark and smelly passage found in Michael B. and my nether regions”. It may have been witty and clean(er) use of language, but it was still uncool of me even though I had clear justification for it, because I aim to be above such behavior.

 

 

Every once in a while, though it seems like once a month, our doyenne, dungeon mistress, indulgent mother and gently chiding host publishes the complaint of a reader who decided to leave Writer Beat (or Beat a Writer as I lovingly call it) in a huff and puff of what I think of as thin-skinned and limp-wristed indignation. I say this because I am of the firm opinion that one ought to be willing to stand one’s ground and fight to the death for principles and views held so dear that dying would be preferable to living without them, especially after leaving with an outraged whimper the bare knuckle, unlimited mixed martial arts ring sans Marquis de Queensberry rules that is my social home on the internet.

 

 

Writer Beat-ers have seen controversial writers come and go, a few of whom lasted longer than others while even fewer are here today. I’d say of those who stuck around, Tom C. Purcell and Billy Roper are probably the most controversial after Ryan Messano stopped bugging the shiznit out of us all, and it’s fair to say they get the bulk of invective flying around. Of course, Michael B. frequently annoys the PC crowd with his irreverently funny posts and comments that if we’re honest, we can all admit to thinking or even having said at one point or another, so he might very well be the third most controversial on WB.

 

 

Look, like others, I often disagree with a lot of stuff in Tom Purcell’s posts and the same goes for Billy Roper. Nevertheless, I try to avoid engaging in what I called “Smite, smite, smite and repeat 22 more times” kind of dialogue because it shuts down the conversation and leaves physical or cyber warfare as very unpleasant and uninformative alternatives. Besides that, Billy and Tom do make very shrewd observations about the nature of humanity and its history, and that gives us all room to learn a few things as well as bring our arguments to the table and teach them something in return, like I often do by explaining to Billy what I know of the reality of race relations in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa, along with refutations of assertions regarding WW2 and explanations of what communism was like to Tom.

 

 

Not long ago, a Christian monument was built with taxpayer money in some American state, in contradiction to constitutional stipulations against this practice. Not to be outdone, the Satanists demanded the same and eventually built a temple (at own expense, not the taxpayers’ from what I know) in the face of strident and even violent Christian response, which by their uncharacteristic meekness and reasonable behavior, the Satanists managed to come through looking better than the supposed servants of God and followers of his/her/its/whatever’s Son.

 

 

Herein lies the rub. Those who see themselves as on the side of righteousness engage in unrighteous behavior so often that they discredit their beliefs and undermine claims to the moral high ground- a bad move, as any military man or woman who’s had to fight uphill can attest. Furthermore, they make followers, allies and fence-sitters take notice of this failure and causes them to ask “what the f$%^ am I doing following these idiots?”, and that ain’t good if you want Good to triumph over Evil.

 

 

A lot of people have called Billy and Tom Nazis, denialist of the Holocaust, liars, and worse, when these guys did nothing of the sort to them. Can anyone call that smart or effective dialogue? Hardly, and I certainly don’t.

 

 

It seems counterintuitive to engage in civilized dialogue with those we often disagree with to the point at which we want to strangle them, but very often history has examples of deadly enemies sitting across a table to work out a deal and become known as peace makers, among them Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Itzhak Rabin and Rahman al Qudwa (aka Yasser Arafat), Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, and so on. Renowned physicist (who wouldn’t have survived the Nazis) Stephen Hawking said once “For millions of years, men had lived just like the animals, then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination- we learned to talk”.

 

 

Ryan Messano once exceeded my (until then) sorely tried tolerance level and I blasted him for it in ways that were unworthy of the ideals of civilized discourse, and greatly though I regreted having stooped down to his level, he deserved it.

Michael B. stood up to defend my point of view and I applaud him for it. He used some strong language which hurt Jeff Michka’s feelings and I asked him to tone down a little, then dished out some of my own to Jeff, admittedly more “refined” insults- but insults nonetheless. Tom and Billy discuss topics guaranteed to generate heated debate, yet in spite of a lot of abuse, respond with calm politeness while those who are in the right undermine the ground upon which the truth of their arguments rest.

 

 

Ain’t none of us candidates for sainthood here, but hasn’t the time come to acknowledge that being correct does not confer the right to be assholes at the slightest provocation, instead only after a veeeery long fuse has been lit? I think we need to look at our behavior and find more constructive ways to deal with those who provoke our anger, and we had better do it soon. What do all my fellow Writer Beat-ers think? Bring on the words, sticks and stones.

Comments

Thomas Napers Added Dec 2, 2016 - 6:01am
What do your fellow Writer Beaters think about what?  I have no idea what this post was about let alone any knowledge of all the random people you mention having conversations with.  For all I know, Leroy is a little voice inside your head. 
Billy Roper Added Dec 2, 2016 - 6:48am
Good article. I'm always open to some healthy self-examination and introspection. In the Aristotelian sense, I feel that many people are simply driven by ethos and pathos, rather than logos.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 7:33am
Thomas, it was about how we are quick to judge and condemn, to resort to verbal and literary violence in order to suppress the points of view of those with whom we disagree. It was about a call to all of us on Writer Beat to be a bit more civil and do what we can to keep conversation flowing, along with acknowledgements of some of my mistakes in this regard.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 7:37am
I agree with you on that one, Billy, though I'd like to add most people are driven by a rampant ego that's overly sensitive to criticism or challenge and frightening overdose of ignorance (bolstered by lack of will to learn) which manifests itself in childishly destructive behavior.
EXPAT Added Dec 2, 2016 - 9:24am
My how literary you have become. Thank you for the word "shiznit " . Sometimes the latest Social Babble doesn't reach Thailand.
I call Billy a Nazi, because Billy calls Billy a Nazi.
Stephen Hawking said once “For millions of years, men had lived just like the animals, then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination- we learned to talk”.
If Hawking really said that, I think he has been trapped in a useless body for too long. Yes, I know I am talking about someone who has been called the greatest living mind today. But man in his present form has only been around for 200,000 years. What enabled this frail creature to survive was the ability to coordinate a hunt, tell of danger, and exchange information on where to find water, fruit trees, etc.



Why does Ryan's Christianity offend you, but Tom's rewriting of History excite you? Both are beliefs that defy physical evidence. And both, to me are flights of fantasy. I must have missed the "shrewd observations" because all I saw was distortion of documented events, to cover atrocity by people they sympathize with. It is far too common in American Society.
 
I'm sure you had a point to make with this lengthy random literary exercise, but I missed it!
 
MJ Added Dec 2, 2016 - 10:20am
Mircea, good post--someone had to do it!
I have great respect for people that don`t share my views that have the ability to convince me with good, sound arguments, without trying to show off or foul language  ...........that I regard as priceless!
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 2, 2016 - 11:14am
Mircea,
 
The timing of this post is very appropriate.  Few write as balanced as you do.  I welcome disagreement, dissent, debate, but it's a real drag on the intellectuals when the dialogue takes a nose dive, like in too many of my articles, articles of which I try to rescue from the crude language.
 
Since I was a mentor to junior underwriters many, many moons ago, I learned that people, however intelligent, really only get frustrated when there is something that they don't understand, especially when they've spent a lifetime being conditioned to feel one way, to hate one way, without really knowing why. 
 
Instead of stepping away, contemplating, pondering and reflecting on the matter, folks sometimes let anger or even blind hate get the better of them.  I don't know exactly how smart people grow conditioned to be afraid to ask questions.  The most difficult thing for me, is to get most commenters to respect the fact that I understand far more than the average Joe, far more than most people because I've devoted so much time and energy to this niche of history.
 
My favorite is, in so many words:  "I know more than you do because I have more gray hairs".  One WB writer just recently told me that has a "license to teach the truth".  Yeah, I couldn't resist making Swiss cheese out of that comment.
 
Anyway, Mircea, this one was refreshing.  Since you have a thorough understanding of the history in the east, in Soviet occupation and in your travels, I would really like to read more from you about the sentiments in your homeland and so on.
mark henry smith Added Dec 2, 2016 - 11:29am
Mircea, I am in complete agreement. People have become so sensitive about having their opinions belittled. I think it's because they've been taught not to argue. Not in my family. We argue like hyenas over a fresh kill.
 
My problem with Ryan was the constant hypocrisy and fabricated assessments of my character, but he often had interesting things to say,  presented like cake with a four-inch layer of religious icing smeared over it.
 
I disappointed myself in my interactions with him, stooping to the name calling he made a habit of, that I find Trumpian.
 
Thanks for clarifying so many things.  
Bill Kamps Added Dec 2, 2016 - 11:57am
The only time people in WB annoy me is when they hurl personal insults.  Its not that I cant take it, it's just unnecessary and does not move the debate, it ends the conversation.  Regardless of Billy and Tom's view of things, I dont think they have ever insulted me, while some people on the left have done it as soon as I disagreed with them.
 
Ryan usually didnt, but sometimes I think we have off his meds, and rather than have an intelligent reply, even though unprovoked he just said FU. 
 
By the  way, did Ryan just decide to leave ? or did he get a job and no longer have the time ? or is he hiding under another name ?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 2, 2016 - 12:41pm
Mircea
 
Another goodie of one of our best writers here in my opinion (I can't call myself a writer, really. My English is not good enough to be published anywhere else, that's also why I've been staying here - one of the reasons, anyway).
 
Keep up the good work. 
 
but very often history has examples of deadly enemies sitting across a table to work out a deal and become known as peace makers
 
Ah-huh. Too bad my good and wise friend Tony iWiz of OZZI is not here anymore. His "read-listen" expression will stay in my mind forever. I'm pretty sure when there'd be a personal WB meeting we all would find common ground here and there. Humans have the same basic needs - whatever -ism or religion they're into.
 
The new defense guy of Trump, a US general, said about torture:
 
"I can achieve a lot more from a captured enemy with a pack of cigarettes and a few beers than with waterboarding."
 
That stuck. Military guys often have a lot more common sense than all those desk criminals, because they know what they talk about and were part of it...
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 2, 2016 - 12:56pm
That's classic interrogative psychology, Stone.  First the bad cop that wants to kick his ass, then the good cop that actually likes the captive, has sympathy and wants to help him out of his mess.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 2, 2016 - 12:58pm
Tom
 
...and I like it. The kidnapper and his victim LOL
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:05pm
EXPAT, I got the word "shiznit" from Men In Black III, when Agent J played by Will Smith got angry with Andy Warhol, and I thought to use it in order to avoid the amounts of profanity which are so close to my attempts at reasoned arguments that the expression "F-bomb" is dwarfed. Hawking said that as part of a video clip for Pink Floyd on the album The Division Bell. I didn't take the "millions of years" thing as anything other than poetic licence because I know humanity hasn't been around that long.
 
Ryan's Christianity, belief and dedication did not offend me, but his hypocrisy and attempts to make porn the root of all evil and constant blasting about the alleged evils of sex drove me nuts, especially when it had nothing to do with the topic and he was definitely not conceived through immaculate conception.
 
Tom exposes nuggets of information not often found in the public domain and one of his shrewd observations along with backing arguments, was how victors wrote their history to make things more perfect than they were. In that regard, both U.S. and Soviet governments played "catch the most Nazi scientists" and tried to keep quiet the fact that a lot of later advancements came from that side. Furthermore, U.S. Unconventional Warfare doctrine was until the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq mostly based on Nazi practice and doctrine which they got from high-ranking officers in Wehrmacht, SS, Luftwaffe and Gestapo during Project 1946. Even more, American medical schools use both data and sketches made by Nazis during highly unethical experiments on Jewish and other victims in concentration camps because they are more accurate than other sources, despite the evil and suffering attached to what came out of that period. Such knowledge is more often found among dedicated Jewish hunters of Nazis than publicly released government documents and commonly known facts. As for the Soviets, there is no denying they hammed up post-WW2 stories about Nazi facilities and atrocities for quite a few reasons, not the least being to undermine the legitimacy of Allied (and later NATO) support for West Germany and the drive for that nation's unification. Tom sometimes draws attention to factoids that lead to research on my part on this subject and it makes me just that much more determined to know the truth about the Holocaust so I can do its victims proper justice, even if it's only to honour them adequately, with truth instead of propaganda.
 
Billy has clear inclinations and they are not in dispute. Nevertheless he makes valid observations about human nature and most people's inclination towards homogeneity, as well as how this will lead to a split of the United States along racial and ethnic lines. Much as I hate the thought of such an event occurring, I've seen enough in the histories of other countries to think this is possible- yet I still tell him "I hope history will prove you wrong", while attempting to correct some of the misunderstanding he has about South Africa and the problems of its people.
 
If I engaged in laying conversational mines, building walls and aggressively shutting down conversations with which I disagreed, I'd die a far more ignorant man than I am today and certainly not be as wise as I hope to be on my last on this planet. This is why I acknowledged my faults and promised to do better.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:14pm
Michael, I commended you for rising to my defense, and still do. My concern was over how quickly the fight went bad, and was dismayed that you too had fallen into the name-calling trap like I did with Ryan Messano. I do not ask you to censor yourself, especially when people deserve it, because that just smells of communist censorship to me, and I detest it.
 
Furthermore, I asked everyone to think more carefully before losing their tempers and find ways to do things with style so as to keep the conversation going, not to allow abusers to get away with anything without a proper telling off when all other measures have failed (ie. escalation until Defcon 1)- so you and others are free to use your judgments because we're grown-ups and this ain't kindergarten. Like I said, you may have been tough with Jeff, but in my opinion you were right to do it and I certainly don't like it when people attack your personality instead of posts, so I wouldn't hesitate to jump to your defense either.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:18pm
M.J., thank you. I try to steer clear of foul language too, but sometimes it's impossible, a point I just made to Michael above. What I've noticed is that discussions tend to go nuclear a lot faster than they should and wish to see restraint and a gradual rise in tempers instead of "Dude, you're wrong and here's why", then the guy gets "F#$% you so-and-so and blah blah for challenging me", because that's childish and cuts off conversation, making me think it's actually a form of censorship through verbal assault and intimidation.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:29pm
Tom, thank you. You and I don't always agree, but at least we provide arguments to back up what we say and we're civil- how many times did I and others not give you well researched counter-arguments? Man, I've lost count, but I think it's important not to give in to the temptation to throw labels at you and afterwards stop interacting just because your agenda is seen as different from mine. This is what I'd like to see us Writer Beat-ers try until it becomes clear there's nothing left but foul language. As for my experiences behind the Iron Curtain, there are many who write far better and more knowledgeably than I. What I can do is to provide some examples of real-life incidents and how some systems worked in order to improve understanding, but make no mistake, I'm about as far as one can get from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's superb work on The Gulag Archipelago.
 
He he he! I've got gray hairs too, and in places I'd rather not mention, but have met enough old (and young) fools to know hair color has little to do with education, knowledge and wisdom, not that I'm the wisest guy on the planet either. 
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:34pm
Mark, thank you for your input, it means a lot, like all the others. I read Ryan's stuff too, but refrained from commenting after my tiff with him because I feared losing my temper again. He had good, true things to say, but yeah, it was buried under a thick layer of nonsense and I couldn't take having to wade through so much dross to get to it.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:37pm
Bill K., thank you for your words. I found much the same thing to be true and would like to see many of our fellow commenters and writers be more civil before finally bringing out the heavy guns. I don't know why Ryan quit because I missed his post due to lack of data, and crazy though he drove me, I think it's sad we lost the opportunity to better connect with him, like a lot of others I no longer see on Writer Beat.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:40pm
Michael B., I hope Ryan took your advice, because un-PC though it was, he seemed to embody that Robin Williams line from Good Morning, Vietnam!, when he told the sergeant major "Sergeant Major Dickerson, you are in more dire need of a blowjob than any other white man in history"...
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:46pm
Lady and gents, I am not for one minute advocating censorship or taking it easy on people who are unwilling to acknowledge the truth or worse, pervert it. I am asking (without coercion) that we start using a Defcon-based escalation system before conversations degenerate into outright war, though as you can see in my last response to Michael B., I also love saying naughty things. Once again, many thanks for your input, ass-chewing (hey, it sounds better than "derriere-chewing), tough questions and compliments because this is why I love Writer Beat above the Book of Face (or ass) and StinkedIn- the frank discussions and getting what we deserve, myself included.
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 2, 2016 - 1:52pm
...Wiser than most, Mircea, and I have no doubt about it.  To your point, the willingness to think before speaking/typing, share what we know, admit what we don't know and above all, listen/read as closely as possible.
 
I am extremely interested in some examples of incidents from you, pros and cons of Soviet life (or that which you lived under and around), and especially, the feelings of those in the east, towards the west.  What makes the Russians and close relatives so different from us (those like me, I guess), other than what might be obvious?  How does the east understand the west, at least based on your experiences?  What is beautiful about your country?  How has it changed since the 1980s?  Does the architecture resemble the Russian minarets?  - And more than anything, what should I/we know over here?
John Minehan Added Dec 2, 2016 - 2:00pm
"Until DARPA’s invention went mainstream, space was the final frontier. These days, the internet is either a close second or an earthbound match, with its promises of Artificial Intelligence, crowd-funding, enabling of mass communication on a planetary scale, global trade, the 24 hour news cycle, access to porn of all kinds, nearly unrestricted access to knowledge previously held only by high-ranking specialists and an increased effect of rapidly spreading speech, which used to take years, diligent effort on the part of publishers and huge efforts to spread causes and stories."
 
The Net is the Great Library at Alexandria of our time . . . and has the significant advantage of being distributed and de-centralized.
 
Mircea Negres Added Dec 2, 2016 - 2:07pm
Good one, John. My hope is that it remains free of censorship and government control, that it spreads knowledge and does not go up in smoke or vanish in an EMP burst.
John Minehan Added Dec 2, 2016 - 2:17pm
Much harder for Romans/Christians or Muslims to burn down ABSENT EMP!
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 2, 2016 - 2:19pm
Mircea
 
The net has become too big to go up in smoke. However, censorship will increase. The ruling class cannot allow the net to stay an open POV space, and certainly not a space where their fake info and biased information can be exposed.
MJ Added Dec 2, 2016 - 2:37pm
Stone, I am afraid you might be right!
The money mongers/monsters cannot sow division among us like they used to do without being exposed and they will find a way of curtailing internet users.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 2, 2016 - 3:41pm
MJ
 
I guess it will take Africa longer to react and accept that. As you know a bit of cash can change a lot, and Africans are not the ones following the West for free LOL
Mircea Negres Added Dec 3, 2016 - 1:39am
Stone-Eater, I was wondering when you'd reply to my post, but there was a little whisper like "it's Friday, the man's probably out having fun". Yeah, one can get more out of people with some kindness than brutality, though there are a few cases in which nothing works. From what I know, there was at least one guy at Guantanamo on whom torture didn't work, and he went back to the Taliban after release. The thing is, we need to start off nicely before breaking out the nasty party toys.
 
Honestly, your written English is good and can even write letters to a newspaper like I do. You make very few mistakes and express yourself clearly for somebody whose first language is not the one he writes in. At least that's my opinion, and I reckon others will agree with me on this. Keep writing, man.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 3, 2016 - 1:45am
Yes, Michael, I was uncharacteristically brutal. Afterwards I apologized to the guy on whose thread Ryan and I argued because it seemed he and a woman were in shock at what unfolded and I had gone overboard in pent-up anger. As for the porn movie, I remember a scene from the movie Kingsman: Secret Service, in which the character played by Colin Firth goes to an American church and everybody gets affected by the bad guy's gizmo which turned them into raging homicidal maniacs. I can just imagine sex monsters in there... :-)
Mircea Negres Added Dec 3, 2016 - 1:47am
Tom, I'm going to think about your questions and write a post. I might even scan some photos (need to visit a guy with a scanner) I took during my last visit to Romania and put them on for you and others to see what it's like.
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 3, 2016 - 12:02pm
Mircea,
 
Please include photos, if it's convenient.  It might help reflect the message you aim to get across.  Either way, I'm really looking forward to that and, thanks.  :)
MJ Added Dec 23, 2016 - 2:45pm
Merry Christmas Mircea!

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