My comments at the Vanishing American blog, which VA has deleted along with the entire thread

Vanishing American has removed the entire comments thread from her February 15 blog entry, “Can’t please everybody,” in which she and her commenters engaged in numerous personal attacks on me as well as on VFR commenters. I’ve never heard of a blogger eliminating an entire, lengthy discussion like that. She unleashed and participated in a concerted attack on me, I and others replied in that thread as well as here, and now she wipes out the whole discussion as if it had never been. She has in effect removed the evidence that was the basis of VFR’s discussion. That is an appalling and unethical thing to do. I call on VA to put the thread back on the Web. If she can no longer stand by the discussion that she unleashed, she ought to take responsibility for it, instead of covering it up. [Update: As of midnight Sunday, VA has also eliminated the original blog entry as well as the comments thread, so nothing remains.]

I had posted three comments in that thread, in which I discussed this attack, and similar attacks I’ve received, as a manifestation of a liberal mindset in which logical arguments are seen as immoral, and personal smears as virtuous. Fortunately, and really just by happenstance, I copied the three comments, so they are not lost. I reproduce them below, along with a comment by “Dr. D.”

First LA comment

When Sage McLaughlin in his comment at VFR mentioned Vanishing American by name among the blogs he thinks are overly wordy, I agreed with his general point, but I did not mention any blogs, including Vanishing American, by name. In fact, since I don’t read VA often, I don’t even have an opinion about VA’s writing style and was not thinking of VA. I was agreeing with Sage’s general point about excessively wordy writing today, which is a special gripe of mine as well. One other commenter in that discussion, while defending VA philosophically, also said he found her articles too long. That was the sum total of the criticism: two commenters at VFR said they found VA’s articles too long.

VA is acting as though I was hosting some kind of concerted attack on her, when nothing of the kind took place. The only criticism of her by name was not over her character and beliefs, but simply over the length of her articles. Is criticism of one’s writing style off limits? Yet, in response to this mild and non-personal criticism by two commenters at VFR (not by me), she has unleashed a blog discussion which is indeed a concerted personal attack on me, for my “meanspiritedness,” my “typical snits,” my superior attitude to commenters, my preference to nasty confrontation, and so on and so on.

Thus, in protesting criticisms made of a blogger by commenters at another blog, Vanishing American has provoked the very thing she says she disapproves of.

She has made this an issue of character and manners. But who has attacked another person’s manners and character? I haven’t attacked hers. She has attacked mine, and invited her readers to swell the chorus.
Lawrence Auster | Homepage | 02.16.08—9:12 am | #

Dr. D. comment

A typical Auster response. Just why I never read his blog anymore. So superior.
Dr.D | 02.16.08—9:22 am | #

Second LA comment

To continue my previous comment, this is the pattern I’ve encountered over and over in recent years. If I make an intellectual criticism of a writer (or, as in this case, if a commenter at my site makes an intellectual criticism of a writer), that is the same as an unwarranted and illegitimate personal attack on that writer, which in turn justifies REAL personal attacks on me.

This is a symptom of the age of personalism and multiculturalism in which we live. It’s important to understand this. People today believe—and this view is actively taught in the schools—that intellectual disagreement is a personal attack, an act of discrimination, and therefore should be avoided. As a result, if a person engages in legitimate intellectual criticism, he is seen as a transgressor of society’s basic standards. And because he’s a transgressor of society’s basic standards, every manner of personal attack on him is now justified.

Thus morality is turned on its head by a liberal belief system which prohibits intellectual criticism as a form of inequality and discrimination, while justifying personal attacks on the critic for his supposed act of discrimination.
Lawrence Auster | Homepage | 02.16.08—9:31 am | #

Third LA comment

The comment by Dr. D. preceding my second comment perfectly proves the point of my second comment. I responded to VA’s charges against me, and to the personal attacks against me in this thread, by laying out the facts of what happened and making a reasoned argument about what it all means. And how does Dr. D. reply? By saying how this shows how “superior” I am. And this was exactly the point of my second comment. In today’s culture, if you make an intellectual argument showing that another persons’s position is incorrect, you are making yourself “superior” to the other person and making the other person “inferior” to yourself, and that is not allowed. But if you personally attack another person as “superior,” “nasty,” and “meanspirited,” that is perfectly ok.

The analogy would be to race and sex relations under liberalism. Any statement, no matter how modest, factual, and correct, about race differences, is a horrible thing and is not allowed. But what is allowed is calling the person who made that statement a racist and bigot. If Harvard President Lawrence Summers makes the most tentative, cautious, and reasoned statement that the evidence suggests that women do not have the same abilities as men at the upper levels of math and science, that is a horrible statement that he should never have made. But for people to smear Summers and drag him down and get him fired for saying it, well, that is the right and just thing to do.

Thus, under liberalism, reason is “superior” and banned, while the personal smearing and destruction of the “superior” ones is an expression of righteous virtue.

Obviously I’m not equating what happened to Summers to this present situation. What I am saying is that the operative liberal principle is the same.
Lawrence Auster | Homepage | 02.16.08—10:10 am | #

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 17, 2008 02:00 PM | Send

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