The Morality Mirror

Not that he needs me to defend him; Utah is perfectly capable of doing that for himself.  But I feel I owe the RNL a double apology.

 

First, I want to apologize to Utah for Melfamy.  I was primarily responsible for his being a contributor on the RNL.  Initially, Utah did not want to add him, but I convinced the boss to add him to the rolls.  As time passed, Utah’s reservations were proven correct.  That’s why he is the boss and the rest of us are not.  Now, Melfamy has finally proven he has no interest in contributing to civil discourse and his contributing privileges have been suspended.  As Utah pointed out in a comment to Melfamy’s last post, it wasn’t that Melfamy had a differing opinion; it was that he had lost touch with reality.  So, I apologize to Utah and the RNL for my lack of judgment and my part in asking Utah to allow him to be part of the RNL.

 

My second apology is to Utah and you, the RNL reader, for having lost my own focus.  A new reader and commenter, Justin, chastised me in the comments section of my post on Valerie Jarrett – and rightly so.  I have allowed myself to be caught up in the emotions of this election, and I have been much less than disciplined in my recent postings.  But I see my own reflection in the morality mirror, which is why I heard Justin and recognized the truth in his words.  I thank him for his time and concern to offer his correction, and I will adjust my behavior accordingly.  So, again, I apologize to both Utah and you, the RNL readers.  I will do my best to get back to posting material of the quality that originally motivated Utah to ask me to be a contributor.

 

Now, all of this said, it got me to thinking about how it is we, as individuals, come to the point where we lose control of ourselves and start to act out of character.  In the case of Melfamy, I asked Utah to add him to the RNL at a time when Melfamy was flirting with Libertarianism.  As a reforming Liberal, Melfamy was starting to be rational and reasonable, and, though we still disagreed, we found a way to do so civility.  As a result, I was finally able to learn from him, and I thought he had learned from me.  This is the way Utah and I would like the RNL to function: as a place where serious people can disagree with civility, so we can learn from each other and carry what we learn into our daily lives.  But Melfamy slipped back into his old ways, back to the way he was when I first encountered him on our local news paper’s online forum.

 

Now, Melfmay will probably disagree with me, but this is said in a manner that allows me to be as charitable to Melfamy as possible.  I believe the reason Melfamy reverted to his former self is because, as he spent more and more time listening to the arguments on the RNL, he realized more and more that we are correct in our world view and he is wrong.  To be sure, he would disagree with many of the detailed points, but, deep down in his heart, he knew that the conservative world view is correct and that of the Left is wrong.

 

Now, when we are faced with such a revelation, most of us prefer to live wrongly but happy than accept that the world and we are not what we thought because, if we accept that we have been wrong about so much for so long, it means we have to do a lot of hard work to remake ourselves and our world view.  So, rather than face what such a humbling and daunting task, we dig in and double down on what we know in our heart is wrong.  I have to believe that this is what happened to Melfamy because, if it isn’t, then it means Melfamy actually doesn’t see his reflection in the morality mirror.  I could be making a mistake; Melfamy may not see his reflection in the morality mirror.  I simply do not want to believe that about the man I once called my friend.

 

So, what do I mean by the morality mirror?  I could make this post longer by trying to explain it with words, but this may actually work better.  In his last post, Melfamy posted a picture that is meant to be insulting, yet he claimed it was “humorous.”  The picture he posted is insulting because of the title of his post: the title betrays the true intention of Melfamy’s post was to insult, not to make a point with humor.  That Melfamy seems to believe Utah and I just can’t see the humor in his last post reflects an inability to see his reflection in the morality mirror, but here is the illustration I think will make my point more clearly:

 

To the Left, this is political humor:

 

But this is a sure sign of racism, hatred and fear:

 

Obama Joker Poster Stirs Outrage, Bush Joker Poster not so Much

 

This is what I mean by not seeing your reflection in the morality mirror: when you cannot see the same wrong in your actions that you criticize in the actions of others, then you do not see your reflection.  No, it does not matter if you believe you can rationalize or justify your belief that your situation is different: it isn’t.  That’s why I chose the example I chose: they are directly equivalent, yet many would think their use of the Joker’s image is defensible where the other side’s is not.  If you cannot see and understand this, then you do not see your reflection in that mirror.

 

I see my reflection.  That’s why Justin’s words got through, and why they stung.  I’m going to do my best to correct my actions going forward.  The questions you have to answer are, do you see your own reflection, and will it change your actions going forward?

24 thoughts on “The Morality Mirror

  1. I believe all of us are allowing our tempers to become flared by this election. (I showed my tail on another site.) I do not understand why G. must be punished.

    We all have different beliefs with regards to different issues. For example, you know that I sympathize with Muslims, as well as Mormons, Christians, &c., and yet; I am far more conservative in my beliefs on abortion than you boys.

    Honestly, even with all the silly and snide comments, I still thought we all loved each other. I’m just terribly sad and disappointed. :cry:

    • Kells,

      I can and will only speak for myself, but I do understand that there is a difference between stating your position affirmatively — even if it is contradictory — and INTENTIONALLY asserting your opponent’s position falsely.

      In this case, Melfamy knows very well that he is making a claim that has been rejected by most on the right — especially those of us on the RNL. I also understand that you sympathize with G on this: you both think I “hate” Muslims. But how many times do you have to be told it is the religion, the teachings that are actually in their holy books, that I oppose — not the people?

      If you insist on stating that your opponent believes something they have told you is not true, or worse, you do so in an intentionally insulting and inflammatory manner, you have crossed the line of legally protected free speech. Unless you can actually support your assertion with a solid argument supported by fact and example, you’ve entered into the area of fighting words. In this case, not only are fighting words not protected, they are contrary to the posted rules of this forum.

      • You hypocritical and unemployable buffoon ! B, In your posts, almost without fail, you make historical errors, you quote people completely out of context, a la George Soros, (who’s philosophy,you, if you were not so pre-judgmental, would adopt without changing a word.) You could not even get the history of your precious Marines correct. Your reliance on Beck reminds me of the way a drunk uses a lamp post, for support, not illumination.
        When I would point out your errors, i became the bad guy. I was trying to make you better, B. But it became obvious that you were uninterested in getting it right, just in getting it RIGHT.

        Utah, you have never even tried to be fair when it came to talking about liberals, you were as quick as B to equate them with nazism and the rise of Stalinism. you mischaracterized positions and slandered good people, called them names.

        Come to think of it, one only has to substitute your name for mine in B’s screed to make it more accurate. Everything you accuse me of, you (and B, and some of the others) are guilty of, and do it much more often than I. You sat there while B called me a liar, right after hypocritically calling for less personal attacks. Of course, he IS your doppelganger, saying what you yourself are afraid to say.

        I do not want back in; morbid curiosity will lure me back on occasion, even though being out of this morass of self-congratulatory marginalism leaves me feeling as clean as if I had taken a hot shower.

        You guys are neither moral nor honest, not with others, nor with yourselves. go have a crappy four years, you and all the right-wing haters brought them on yourselves.

        PS, yes, I am more moral, more honest, and a heck of a lot better American than either of you two. Neither of you would recognize Jesus, were he to walk the earth once more, Neither of you even seeks to walk in his path.

        • B, In your posts, almost without fail, you make historical errors, you quote people completely out of context, a la George Soros, (who’s philosophy,you, if you were not so per-judgmental, would adopt without changing a word.)

          No, sir, I do not misrepresent or take history out of context, but you wouldn’t know that, Greg, because you do not do the hard work of actually researching history. You go no further than the posts you find written by people who quote other people who — often times — are quoting the opinion of still other people. I try — TRY — to go directly to the original source, or as close as I can get to the source.

          Case in point: Soros. I HAVE read his agenda. He believes in a one-world govt. without borders. That is called MARXISM. I most certainly will NOT “accept” that — I will resist it until my death. And THIS is what I mean by you knowingly, purposely and intentionally putting forth a version of what your opponents believe. You KNOW I would not agree with Soros, yet you tell people I would but I didn’t bother reading him.

          Truth be told, this is what you tell me every time you run into something that you believe but realize it makes you look bad. Soros is the perfect example. You seem to embrace his ideas. His ideas ARE Marxist. Thereofre, when I point out the truth of what the man says and wants, it shows you to be sympathetic to Marxism — as I have been telling you for years. You simply cannot and will not deal with this, so, simple solution as always – I must be wrong.

          Well, I’m not, at least, not in the way you believe. But I am wrong in one sense. For all these years we’ve known each other, I have been making the mistake of believing reason can reach you. It can’t. So, reason dictates to me that further discourse between us is futile.

  2. I disagree with your post almost in it’s entirety. The only part I do agree with is the use of your illustration of the Joker; what some see as humor, others see as insults. While greg’s wit was certainly acerbic at times, and he wielded it many times to back his position, I don’t believe he ever did it with malace. Several posters here could hardly abide greg’s position on the Muslim community. It really chapped some people’s asses. kells and I have the same problem as she supports (as do I within certain boundries) the American Muslim community. The difference between kells and I, and greg, is that we’re not so much in-your-face or “acerbic” as greg was. Greg was not racist by any definition, as far as I’m concerned.

    There is no need to apologize for Greg Cobb. He is his own man with his own beliefs and mores, as we all are. He offered an opposing view on a decidely right-wing blog site and he took a lot of abuse for it. When he gave it back, he was chastised by all, sometimes in a most rude manner. He stuck to his guns. His opposing view will be missed and TRNL will be poorer for it. If we all are of the same beliefs, and we all agree on every subject, then we have no dialogue, no opposing views, no reason to discuss issues. We can’t demand that all posters agree with us, or allow them to disagree with us within our own guidelines.

    I understand Utah’s position, but again, I believe TRNL will miss greg. I will.

    • FC,


      I disagree with your post almost in it’s entirety.

      As is your right. I was speaking for myself — no one else.


      Greg was not racist by any definition, as far as I’m concerned.

      And I did not make a charge of racism against him.


      There is no need to apologize for Greg Cobb.

      I didn’t. I apologized for my part in his being on the RNL.


      When he gave it back, he was chastised by all, sometimes in a most rude manner.

      Like this?


      That is a badge of honor, and I thank you profusely, you insufferable asshole.

      In spite of what you and others may believe, this is why Greg was actually removed from the contributors list: not because he held opposing opinions, but because he was one of the primary sources of the uncivil discourse on this board. Contrary to his pleas of innocence, Greg has a history of “firing the first shot” going all the way back to the old News Herald forum.

      Utah’s blog; Utah’s rules. Greg broke them and now people are upset because he is being held to account for them.

      TO ME, as in THIS IS MY OPINION, that reaction is as illustrative of the issue as anything Greg ever said.

      [NOTE: in case you missed it, or feel it wasn’t strong enough, I did my best to actually be decent to Greg in this post.]

      • “First, I want to apologize to Utah for Melfamy.” Your words.

        No, you didn’t accuse greg of being racist, augger did, and we both agree that he did.

        Yes, greg did call Utah an insufferable asshole, after Utah chastised him and took away his posting rights. I offer no excuse for greg. He is his own man. Greg, on the other hand, has been repeatedly called all sorts of names, including being given a fake Muslim name, by people on this board. He has reponded in kind, and in fact, instigated it some instances, but it has been a two-way street all along.

        Utah’s blog, utah’s rules. Greg broke them. Utah’s blog – Yes. Utah’s rules. Greg broke them. Maybe, maybe not. Utah has prided himself (rightly so) for allowing the board to take it’s own course without monitors to help prevent the name-calling and insults. When you allow the board complete freedom, someone will step across the line. Problem is, in that circumstance, you can’t be sure where the line is until you have crossed it.

        Did you bash greg? Not in so many words, just in your usual left-handed way. You could have just left it alone, much like Utah said to James’ post when dusty got kicked off.

        • “First, I want to apologize to Utah for Melfamy.” Your words.

          Touche. But I was not trying to apologize for Greg, but his behavior. I guess I didn’t make that clear enough. But then, in my heart, I thought I did my best to show I did not hold any animosity toward Greg. If I failed at that too, well… :-(

          No, you didn’t accuse greg of being racist, augger did, and we both agree that he did.

          Agreed.

          Yes, greg did call Utah an insufferable asshole, after Utah chastised him and took away his posting rights. I offer no excuse for greg. He is his own man. Greg, on the other hand, has been repeatedly called all sorts of names, including being given a fake Muslim name, by people on this board. He has reponded in kind, and in fact, instigated it some instances, but it has been a two-way street all along.

          FC, I am only going o tell you that I know the point where this started was noted, and it was Greg who first started with the ugly language. I can assure you, Utah’s action today was a long, long time in coming, and even now, I know as a fact it was done with great reluctance.

          Utah has prided himself (rightly so) for allowing the board to take it’s own course without monitors to help prevent the name-calling and insults. When you allow the board complete freedom, someone will step across the line. Problem is, in that circumstance, you can’t be sure where the line is until you have crossed it.

          As I said, I know that this was addressed and struggled with. If you chose not to believe me, well, I can;t help that. But I am in a uniquely suited position to speak tot he fact that this was not a knee-jerk reaction, nor was it done simply because someone didn’t like Greg’s opinions.

          Did you bash greg? Not in so many words, just in your usual left-handed way. You could have just left it alone, much like Utah said to James’ post when dusty got kicked off.

          Perhaps. But then, I don’t see it that way because I know I wasn’t trying to smack him. I saw an opportunity to make what I thought was a relevant and point, and I aimed it at all — especially myself.

          FC, do you remember commenting today that you are an acquired taste, but once acquired, people love you? Well, I’m much the same way, only it is difficult to actually come to understand me through nothing but the written word — especially when you refuse to grant me the truth of what I tell you about my motivation. If you read everything I write as though I speak with the voice you assume I am using rather than with the tone I tell you it is offered, then you will believe as you apparently do. HOWEVER, if you were to grant me what I say, I suspect you would have a very different opinion of who I am. Part of what hurts ME over all this is that Greg knows better because he does know me — at least, I thought he did.

          But, you’re right, we’ll drop it from here (at least, I will. You are welcome to have the last word — I won’t reply).

      • B, are you myopic? Utah called me an idiot! And you are a liar as to who ‘fired the 1st shot’, it was always someone else, if you were the least bit honest, you would know that, you probably do realize that, but you are a congenital liar!.

        • B, are you myopic? Utah called me an idiot! And you are a liar as to who ‘fired the 1st shot’, it was always someone else, if you were the least bit honest, you would know that, you probably do realize that, but you are a congenital liar!.

          IF you were the person you want people to believe you are, then you wouldn’t have just posted those words. AT BEST you are the flip side of the same coin — at best.

          That said, Greg, you started the war between you and Utah and I way back in the NH. I convinced Utah to give things a new start when he agreed to let you post here…and look how you returned our hand of friendship and reconciliation.

  3. “I could be making a mistake”

    I think you are. If Greg is truly misguided, and you feel that he is, then you’re supposed to keep trying to put him on the proper path. Now, you cannot mix politics in with your judgment, because if Greg doesn’t have malice in his heart then he’s not wrong and you right. You, as Utah said in another post “just disagree”. I hate that now he’s not considered your friend.

    “the conservative world view is correct and that of the Left is wrong”

    It depends on who’s doing the viewing, what’s the definition of conservative and of the Left in that statement. The American Socialist Party says no way Obama is on “the left”. Western Europe says he’s right of center and no way any socialist would ever bail out any privately owned business. Republicans and Democrats feel Obama is on the American left (I guess that would be a fitting term). I would consider the above statement relative for lack of a defined view of who’s on “the Left” and who’s Conservative.

    I also don’t feel like you should apologize for Greg or feel guilty for allowing him to post here. He did so on his own accord just like the rest of us here. If Utah feels like that’s not the direction he wants his site to go in, he has every right to restrict Greg’s privileges. Greg said what he said, and as I always say, everyone has a right of freedom of speech. It just comes with consequences sometimes. If he doesn’t regret it, neither should you.

    It’s sad that he’s banned but it is what it is. C’est la vie.

    • WM,

      I think you are. If Greg is truly misguided, and you feel that he is, then you’re supposed to keep trying to put him on the proper path. Now, you cannot mix politics in with your judgment, because if Greg doesn’t have malice in his heart then he’s not wrong and you right. You, as Utah said in another post “just disagree”. I hate that now he’s not considered your friend.

      This is a difficult and truly complicated issue. First, it’s not me who I believe has place an obstacle in what I thought was a friendship. That then brings us to the truth in your observation: the mixing of politics in my judgment. I agree. The problem for me is that I can and do separate the two — and better than most. And that is why I feel conflicted over the entire issue with Greg. The one thing I know, and I mean I KNOW, is that I do see truth through opinion. I have often had to admit I got the mixed up, as I did in this post (hence my thank you to Justin). But Greg has real trouble with this. There is such a thing as objective reality, and he simply does not see it. What’s more, he has demonstrated a insistence that opinion is fact and must be accept as such. There have been many times where one of us was right and the other wrong, more where we were both wrong, but — and be honest — when was the last time you remember Greg admitting he was wrong about anything, let alone something as patently factual as what someone said vs what he wants to think they said?

      It depends on who’s doing the viewing, what’s the definition of conservative and of the Left in that statement.

      Agreed, and that would be something I would love to see discussed here. I have offered a definition, and it was THE definition listed in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It was rejected. I was told I was wrong because various people saw it in a different way, similar to the examples you listed. And there’s the rub: if we are going to deny the established definition of words and terms, how do we have a reasonable and civil discussion about anything? We can’t, because we can never know that we are using the same words in the same way. Greg repeatedly objected to my use of dictionary definitions, so how do I deal with that? That effectively ends rational discussion, doesn’t it?

      It may just be me, but I take offense to being told I am wrong and then insulted simply because I am trying to accept and apply the rules. In essence, I try to follow the rules of the English language and of logic and am insulted and attacked for it. If we’ll do that over something this basic, what hope have we of following the rule of law? Personally, I agree with Utah: this is the result of post modernism, and you cannot “deal with it,” it has to be eradicated or it destroys — eventually it even destroys society (at least, historically it has, because ours is not the first generation to delve into nihilism).

      I also don’t feel like you should apologize for Greg or feel guilty for allowing him to post here. He did so on his own accord just like the rest of us here. If Utah feels like that’s not the direction he wants his site to go in, he has every right to restrict Greg’s privileges. Greg said what he said, and as I always say, everyone has a right of freedom of speech. It just comes with consequences sometimes. If he doesn’t regret it, neither should you.

      I take that advise with sincere humility. I see sound wisdom in your words. Thanks.

    • “then you’re supposed to keep trying to put him on the proper path”

      Only to a point. Then, you have to reassess, and determine if it is a lost cause.

      In this case, it doesn’t take long to make that determination.

      • Augger,

        I came to that same conclusion this morning. I believe, at this point, we are all passengers on the Titanic. Time to separate from the crowed and start looking for some way to stay afloat when this ship finally goes under — but go under it will.

      • ” Then, you have to reassess, and determine if it is a lost cause.”

        In Christianity, there are no lost cause. It he’s truly lost, he can be saved. He should be given up on.

        Maybe this would help:

        “Amazing Grace
        How sweet the sound
        That saved a wretch like me”

        “I once was lost
        But now am found
        Was blind but now I see”

  4. ” if we are going to deny the established definition of words and terms, how do we have a reasonable and civil discussion about anything?”

    Agreed 100%. That’s the kicker. Until it is established what’s left and what’s right then you can’t have rational discussions. Case in point:

    If Greg and Dusty each got banned for the same behavior, how can one be on the left and one be on the right? I believe, and I may be wrong, the message either of them sent was irrelevant. It’s the progressive behavior that’s the matter at hand. But what we all tend to do is give a pass to the person that are said to stand on the side that we feel we are on. Even if it means we accept a undesirable trait that we commonly attribute to the side we are opposed to.

    This takes me back to my original point of who’s view it is. It also takes me back even further, and I know your remember this B, of my point about labels. I don’t like them because too many times that aren’t very accurate. It also lends credibility to the issue of people being liberal or conservative depending on circumstance, but too often feel that because they label themselves one or the other then that’s acceptable behavior for that philosophy. It’s simply fallacy to consider a person conservative or on the right that engages in leftist behavior. We all have a problem with that. It’s rampant in our 2 party system. Some that label themselves conservatives no longer not spend more than we have, now they just spending less than the people they call liberals. That’s not consistent with the definition of conservative.

    • WM,

      Agreed 100%. That’s the kicker. Until it is established what’s left and what’s right then you can’t have rational discussions. Case in point:

      In American politics, this has a definition: no govt. is the far right, total govt. is the far left. The rest is a scale of degree. then we have this:

      If Greg and Dusty each got banned for the same behavior, how can one be on the left and one be on the right? I believe, and I may be wrong, the message either of them sent was irrelevant. It’s the progressive behavior that’s the matter at hand. But what we all tend to do is give a pass to the person that are said to stand on the side that we feel we are on. Even if it means we accept a undesirable trait that we commonly attribute to the side we are opposed to.

      Well, it is quite possible for people to have the same attitude and be on different ends of the spectrum, but it is more likely that this is what you point out: they represent two sides of the same coin. In this case, if the coin is that of trying to control others, then you have to add an “up” and a “down” to our left/right scale and system of degrees. It makes no difference which way you assign, but we could say Greg is up and Dusty is down, but both are to the Left as they are both trying to force a response. (keep in mind, this is a hypothetical, I am not assigning anything to the names involved, only using them as an example). This is the problem with communism and fascism. People think one is left and the other is right, and in EUROPE, this is true — but not in the U.S. Here, they are up and down to each other, but BOTH to the far Left of the American spectrum.

      And all of this is by definition — not my opinion. The key — again — is in what you said: we have to look to our selves first, to make sure we are not reflecting the same attitude only in the opposite direction. I trust you will remember that I have been quite harsh toward my conservative friends since I realized what their ideology actually stands for. Utah was most unhappy with me for a long time, but the case remains, in many ways, the conservative is nothing more than a Republican Progressive, and the liberal is a Democrat Progressive: both believe in big govt., just so long as THEY get to control it and what it focuses on.

      This takes me back to my original point of who’s view it is. It also takes me back even further, and I know your remember this B, of my point about labels. I don’t like them because too many times that aren’t very accurate.

      Agreed, an though it may not be very apparent, I have been consciously modifying my comments to accommodate our discussions. It’s just that general labels still have use in written discussion, and often do apply, as long as it is understood they are generalizations and not specific to an individual.

      It also lends credibility to the issue of people being liberal or conservative depending on circumstance, but too often feel that because they label themselves one or the other then that’s acceptable behavior for that philosophy.

      And that is where the sliding scale of degree enters into the political spectrum. that’s where we get the “cross-over” in individual beliefs. As I said, I listened to you way back when, and I incorporated what I learned from you. But I learned because we actually spoke to and not over each other. Had we been forced to start with something as basic as dictionary definitions, and then got caught fighting over those, I would have never learned anything from you. See where I’m going?

  5. “Had we been forced to start with something as basic as dictionary definitions, and then got caught fighting over those, I would have never learned anything from you. See where I’m going?”

    I’m smelling what you’re cooking. We agree on what certain terms mean; like same sex marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Same sex marriage means the definition has to change which I can’t agree with.

    ” but we could say Greg is up and Dusty is down, but both are to the Left as they are both trying to force a response. (keep in mind, this is a hypothetical, I am not assigning anything to the names involved, only using them as an example).”

    This is true and I can say it because I don’t care if I hurt someone’s feelings. The assessment is accurate so stand by it. They are on the same coin in this instance. We have to make sure that others understand that it’s the behavior that’s the key not the message.

    “the conservative is nothing more than a Republican Progressive, and the liberal is a Democrat Progressive: both believe in big govt., just so long as THEY get to control it and what it focuses on.”

    The coals are hot and you just threw a big 16oz Ribeye on it with that statement. That’s the way I see it. Medium rare please.

  6. Dusty posted lies, I posted truth, or obvious humor with truth mixed in, plus, I busted you, B, for all the lies that you post. And that, not my attitude, is why I am gone, because I busted utah’s mouthpiece.
    Dusty is not on the opposite side of the coin from me, Dusty is not even currency compared to me.

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