Blogs, Democracy, free speech, and The Joker

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Recently, I banned a commentator from this blog. It was the first time that I’ve ever had to do this. And I recently boycotted another blog, which I have commented on for several years, and run by a friend of mine,because the same person I banned trolled there to the extant that the posts were monopolized by hatefulness, repeated and unwarranted antisemitism, as well as personal attacks on other frequenters of the blog. I declared that I would no longer comment on the blog until the offender was banned.

Several people who frequent my blog expressed disgust at the offender, who goes by the screen name, apollonian. Some hinted that I should ban him, and another poster stopped posting after apollonian stated he hoped they “suffered”. That’s when I decided to deploy the ban hammer.

I felt badly about boycotting my friend’s blog. First, I like several of the other posters, who also comment on this blog. I learn a lot from them. I do not blog and comment on other blogs because I think I know everything, even though my blog covers a wide variety of topics–more than on which anyone could be called an expert. I blog and comment to learn. Sometimes I will have a growing interest in a topic, and blogging becomes a way to learn by teaching, which is widely considered an excellent way to learn. Mostly I blog to make myself less stupid. Secondly, I felt badly because in some way it could appear that I am trying to force my friend’s hand in banning someone he does not wish to ban (he has a no ban rule).  However this is not the case. It is perfectly accepted practice to walk out of public forums in protest to what one party feels is an abuse of the forum itself. All the way from town hall meetings, to UN councils, this is standard practice.

Even in democratic forums, not everyone is welcome.  Democracy is not the abolition of common sense in exchange for tolerating all behavior. Democracy is rule of the majority, and to say it is anything else is to expect too much. Democracy is quickly hijacked by forces of idiocy and evil when those on the other side view force as inherently evil.  Some people refuse to ban others from blogs out of a “democratic spirit”. In the case of apollonian, this kind of thinking is like Batman letting the Joker run Gotham out of a sense of fairness, while everyone is begging the Dark Knight to take action.  The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Rises,  are two of my favorite movies of all time, for several reasons.  They analyze very well how democracy needs someone who’s going to step up, even when it means they won”t be popular and what can happen when envy takes hold and the mob rules.

And besides, a blog or forum is not a democracy. Allowing people who are disruptive, hateful, or senseless to run rampant out of a sense of ideology just ruins the experience for everyone else. I used to play a lot of table top wargames while growing up. Entire summer days were spent in this manner, and everyone had fun. If someone showed up that lessened the fun for everyone else, that person wouldn’t get invited back. A blog should not be taken so seriously as to equate to the politics of a nation. No one’s freedom is being denied them when they get banned from a blog.

We can see what this attitude of “open mindedness” has wrought for America. For decades now, those who fundamentally opposed what made America so strong, its industrial and military might, its meritocracy, its familial bonds, those people have been allowed to run rampant and spread the propaganda that all ideas and cultures have equal value.  But I’m going with Carlyle’s Great Man Theory. Great societies are not created and maintained by the random actions of a directionless populace. At some point, the Imperator is called to do his duty. That man is the one others look to emulate and set the example. America was fortunate enough to have been founded by a quiver full of great men who knew that liberty requires action. I believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the level of tolerance we show in America. Even Jefferson, that man of the people, knew when crushing action was needed, just as is recorded when he decided to take a military course against the Barbary Pirates. Jefferson writes:

protect our commerce & chastise their insolence—by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them



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As some know, I’ve been deployed to Afghanistan. I’m preparing a travel blog, but I’ve been extremely busy and expect to be for a while longer.

I’ll be sure to send you dispatches soon.

Off to refresher training

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I’ll be at tactical refresher training in Grafenwoehr ’til Friday. See ya then…

New theme

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I chose this new blog theme because the old one was not wide enough to support some images. All the links and categories are at the bottom of the page.

Why I considered quitting blogging

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I’ve often thought about the thing I write about on this blog, how they may affect the Army’s morale, and what boundaries I may step over in regards to my thoughts on the current president. President Obama, is after all, my Commander in Chief.

Things like Twitter, Facebook and military blogs have become a rather large issue in the military culture. In some occasions, the Pentagon has outright declared war on social networking, and in other instances blogs are encouraged, and even used by people like General David Patreaus to communicate and lift the morale of troops. Heck, the chief of NATO has a Facebook page!

But then the real Army steps in. The one that simply can’t stand a free thinker. Apparently, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran aren’t keeping out senior people busy enough, so they’ve set their sights on a decorated Master Sergeant named CJ Grisham, who for 6 years running has managed a popular blog that managed to ruffle some Royal commissioned Feathers.

So Grisham is forced to quit his blog.

So what’s little ‘ol me to do, I thought? If the Army will take down someone who’s been in for 15 years, surely it’ll stomp the crap out of someone who’s been in for 2.

Fact is, the Army needs to toughen up. It’ll be the first to tell a soldier, “stay flexible” (what they really mean is, our planning never goes the way we want, so be ready to do whatever at all times). Ok–the Army needs to be flexible, too. From what I’ve seen of the average soldier’s ability to read, write and spell, the Army should be encouraging blogging, not crushing it. And I refuse to write propaganda for the Army. I write propoganda for America, because I think America has it right and it’s truly troubling that the military would crush one of the very essential aspects of Americanism: Freedom of Speech.

I know I’ve been down on the Army in my most recent postings. But the Army needs a boot in the butt every now and then. And I figure I’m the perfect person for it, because if they piss me off enough, I’ll simply go do something else. I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me, and excelled. It’s a slap in the face to soldiers, who are told to go to the worst places on Earth, but cannot point out obvious problems right here in this organization without someone getting butt hurt.

Yeah, I considered quitting his blog. But I won’t. If I’m overseas fighting, the Taliban can pry my M-4 carbine from my cold, dead fingers. While I’m here in garrison, the Army can do the same with my keyboard.

Twitter: Spreading truth in Tehran

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Micro blogging circumvents media blackouts in Tehran. Totalitarian regimes find keeping power more difficult when people talk.

Rolling Hot is now Twittering…

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Everyone can now be burdened with the everyday minutiae of my life. Twitter widget added to sidebar.