Freedom of speech – only there to defend those we agree with

I’ve just had a very odd thing happen. I have had comments which I made and which have already been replied to deleted off a political blog for no better reason than I can see than that I disagreed with the person whose blog it is, and could cite sources.

It’s his blog. He can do what he likes with it and with the comments made on it.

Even so, I find it deeply ironic that his tagline is “Winning friends and influencing people for better or for worse”. I cut my cyber-teeth on a site where nothing was ever deleted unless it was illegal, racist or homophobic. Having my words removed is an odd feeling.

So, if you don’t want comments deleted from a political blog which purports to invite civilised debate, then don’t do any of the following:

Don’t point out an uncomfortable interpretation of the bible and say “I have not verified it” – to do so suggests that you don’t have access to the Bible which means you must be – spit the word out – an atheist.

Don’t say “what I meant was that I did not check it out with a Greek scholar” when you are abused for failing to verify it. Don’t cite your mother who did study New Testament Greek as the otherwise unverified source of your comments. Presumably to do so implies you don’t trust your mother, which undermines Americans’ faith in motherhood and apple pie and breaks the commandment to honour your parents. More atheism. Evil evil Aphra.

Don’t challenge an unsubstantiated and frankly incredible statistic posted by your host by looking up relevant statistics in the National Statistics Office of the UK, the CIA, the French Embassy in Washington and British Census data and quoting them with links. To do so undermines an otherwise perfectly good argument which manages to vilify both the French and the Muslims living in France. I’m an enemy of Freedom. Obviously.

Don’t answer a post containing a series of loaded political questions simply and honestly, and above all don’t put in a slightly flippant reference to the 45 minute warning and WMD in the last reply. I am not sure what it means if you do those things, but I do know you won’t be granted the freedom of speech to do so.

Don’t suggest that you find the social darwinianism of the US unpleasant, and that you prefer the shared responsibility of loving your neighbour, paying your taxes and having health-care free at the point of delivery. To do so suggests that you are European, addicted to welfare and therefore plainly a socialist, and – as we all know – there is no evil greater than socialism. Unless it’s to be French. Or a Muslim. Or to oppose the war in Iraq.

Don’t say that America is going to be in the 2nd league in 50 years time. To do so shows you are an obvious enemy of freedom and are casual about the end of American hegemony. (That is one of those words which I can never quite remember what it means, so I guess I must be casual about it).

Don’t blog pseudononymously. To do so indicates that you …. wait for it …. have no sense of pride. Presumably only people who are ASHAMED of something would use a pseudonym.

Oh, incidentally, as well as all the above, I have high-school debating skills, (which may well be true). In case you didn’t know already I had better warn you that he can tell that I am an atheist, a socialist, an international pacifist. Oh, and most of what I say is plainly gobbledygook.

You have been warned.

In some respects it’s impressive that I got so far under his skin, and it does mean that I won’t be wasting my time bothering him any more, which will be good for his temper and for mine.

I am however shocked that someone who claims to invite active debate on their blog will simply delete the posts of those he disagrees with. My few original comments which have been replied to by other commentators are “awaiting moderation”. I am not sure if that means that anyone other than me can see them.

If that is what American Freedom of Speech is, then the good goddess help us all.

22 responses to “Freedom of speech – only there to defend those we agree with

  1. righto!

    blogs are dictatorships

  2. Do you really think it will take another 50 years for China to supercede the increasing ostrich-like USA? My estimate is 10 to 20 years. They are going broke at a great rate of knots. Just beware of their flailing death throes.

  3. What? You mean china hasn’t already passed us? Or is our totally skewed balance of trade not indicative of anything?

    Am I the only American that is made fearful by the fact that the people who hold most of the bonds floated to finance the Mania in Iraq are the Chinese? What if they decide to call in their loans?

    And today, on front pages everywhere, we read that there is evidence that Iran is providing weapons to insurgents in Iraq. “Really, truly, we have serial numbers, people” Doesn’t this sound like a new version of weapons of mass destruction? Let me see if I can guess which country our fearless leader wants to invade next. a

    Obviously he has learned nothing from Napoleon or Hitler about what happens to aggressors who overextend their military.

  4. Yes, Aphra Behn, the same thing has happened to me. This guy is nothing but contemptible. And, yes, I’m following your advice not to post anything else in his blog, only one last post for him to see, and of course delete, that there still exist freedom in the world despite strenuous efforts by some to suppress it.

    I’ve added you to my blogroll.

  5. Ah, and, Aphra Behn, those posts are not sent to moderation, there is no prior moderation in that blog because I’ve checked my posts come up in the normal thread. They are deleted later by that particular blogger. The problem for him is that posts sent by us in Europe reach his blog when he’s asleep and he can only read them in “his” morning, that is at least 6 hours later.

  6. Ah. Him. Why does this not surprise me?

  7. Thanks for the support guys and gals. I was more upset by his behaviour than I’d like to let on.

    More, later.


  8. why don’t I know who “him” is? did I miss something?

  9. Hi Shaikh – One of the fascinating things about blogs is the different way that people treat their little corner of cyberspace. Some are soapboxes, some are diaries, some are notebooks, some are floorshows, and some are a waste of pixels.

    I have no idea which category mine comes into – but thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    Archie and HMH – no I don’t think it will take 50 years, but that was the timeframe in the question that was put. The very American phrase for this is “dead man, walking”. The US is riding its own momentum, but about to tip over the top of the rollercoaster and on to the downward plunge. I give it 10-15 years before it is plain to the rest of the world, and 20-25 before it is plain to the US.

    Hi Jose, one of the nicest thing about this episode is discovering just how pleasant the people are whom that man considers to be his enemies. Welcome to my blog.

    Sol – Why does that not surprise you? Do tell!

    Tammy – I’m not going to put a link here, but I have sent you an email.


    On the subject of things not to say:

    Don’t explain that the reason for your remark about America sliding into the warm waters of superstition is the prevelance of the teaching of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory in US Schools. Even if you tell him that you accept its place in schools as a piece of theology, the fact that you consider this to be preventing young Americans from understanding the nature of science is enough to get your comment deleted.

    Don’t use the example of Cassandra of Troy, who warned the Trojans that they would lose the Trojan War. It is perfectly obvious that to predict the fall of the US is to desire it. Didn’t you know that?

    Don’t tell him that you are sufficiently politically aware and engaged to have marched four times in the last 10 years against the decisions of your government, twice in support of rural communities and twice – international pacifist that he accuses you of being – against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Don’t back up your opinions about welfare and migration in Europe by saying you have lived and worked in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Naughty, naughty, “worldly” Aphra.

    DO get your comments replied to by others, so he cannot delete yours without making a nonsense of the entire thread. He does not want to be seen to censor free debate, you see.

    Ach. Enough. I cannot fight every prejudiced and sanctimonious bigot the US springs upon the world, even though I hate and fear them more than I can say.

  10. Dear Aphra, there are so MANY of the prejudiced and sanctimonious bigots. That is what makes them so scary. I live in a community that is rife with them. This school board believes that teaching abstinence from sex will curb the teen age pregnancy rate. Our county has one of the highest teen age pregnancy rates in the state. Does this fact make them change their minds? Do I need to tell you the answer?

    Bigots are bigots because they don’t WANT to hear or learn something different than what they believe. As my mamma used to say, “There is none so blind as them as won’t see.” I say, stop wasting your time and precious intellect on this guy.

  11. hmh, I am taking your excellent advice.

    One nice thing about this situation is that I’ve got to know some rather classy people he has disappeared from his comment threads.

    As my ex used to say “you can tell a gardener by his anenomes”


  12. Hi Aphra, One of the things that amused me about ol’ redneck was that he hadn’t a clue about who your prototype was! So invincibly ignorant, these “patriotic” guys in their Bushie bunker.

    I’ll give you a link to ‘anticant’s arena’, and hope you’ll reciprocate. Spend a few minutes looking around there, and in ‘anticant’s burrow’ – a friendly, more gossipy watering hole – and post comments when you feel inclined. I see from some of the things you say here that we won’t agree about some important matters, but I promise not to delete any criticisms. I believe in debate – not censorship.

    Sadly, though, many of the more illustrious blogs don’t. “The Guardian” has a site called ‘Comment is Free’, and they regularly delete comments they, or some of their resident trolls, dislike and even ban some posters. I refuse to ‘join the fray’ there for that reason on principle. It’s a gross betrayal of the historic tradition of a great liberal newspaper.

  13. Thank you anticant. I’ve linked to yours. I’m sure when you are as old and wise as I am young man, you’ll realise the error of your foolish youthful ways. 😉

    In the meantime I rather naughtily put t’other blog through the word-cloud generator.

    If these are the thoughts swirling in his mind all the time, no wonder he is so angry and afraid.

    I almost feel sorry for him.



  14. You must, Aphra Behn, he deserves it. He is but a lonely child begging for love (my God! what am I saying?).

  15. The reason it doesn’t surprise me is because of the nature of his questoins on my thing about headscarves. The tone of them was definitely of someone trying to bring a foolish person to their senses.

    And then I peeped at his blog. And I rather tiptoed away very quietly and quickly…

  16. You are wiser than I am then, Sol. But I think I knew that already.


  17. Ah, Mr. ICanPlainlySee, right..? Some people cannot take criticism, and many of these are unfortunately Americans.

    Interesting latest article, where he discusses America “being at war”. The last time I looked, a war consisted of some countries being attacked by each other, each following similar rules. However, any attack on the mainland US, or on American troops, is always by definition “an act of terrorism” while any attack by the US is always “war” or more usually “self-defence”. Time they made their minds up.

    Iraq is not a war, it’s a turkey shoot, except that the turkeys are angry and have big bazookas made in Syria.

  18. I decided that I’d ignore him because not ignoring him would serve no earthly purpose. I’d get ariated for no good reason, and post stuff which OnlyHeWouldSee. On t’other hand, he does have a classy group of dissenters.

    You are right, whatever is going on in Iraq is not a war, or not a war between nations. The depressing thing is that I can see no sensible way out, and certainly no honourable one.

    We have created an open abcess there. Even if we leave, the wound won’t heal, but if we don’t leave the wound will never heal. To give it any kind of chance of healing, I believe, we should remove the foreign body from the wound.


    Nice to meet you Paddy K. Welcome to my blog. It’s not particularly political. Eclectic. Random. Diverse. Foolish. I like sparkly things you see.


  19. Hi Aphra,
    I am sorry I am just seeing this post and its relevant threads just today.

    Having been censored on ICPS’s threads at the same time as yourself, and also it being the first time I’ve been censored, it effected me more than I expected.
    But, know it no longer does. His blog is what he makes it…a church of bigotry.
    There is always good that comes of evil. The classy anenomes are born.
    Your blog is what you make it. Not for others to decide.

  20. *Blinks* I am most certainly _not_ wiser than you. You’re the wisest person I know I think, Aphra.

  21. Hi 1loneranger. Glad you know you aren’t the only one to be censored. It is unpleasant to be silenced and depersonalised in that way, isn’t it?

    Sol, I’m not wise. I am clever with words and sometimes I’m smart, (so long as you discount personal appearance which is a bit tufty at times). But I really amn’t wise you know. “And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire”.

    *looking pensively at her singed hand*

  22. Well, I suppose we could add ‘… and a slow learner…’ then.

    Ok, ok, what shall we go for instead? Deep thinker? *Grins* I shall think of more (much deserved) compliments so it’s best if you sit back and take it…

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