[ExI] Why do we get personal? (Was EP and Peak Oil)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 1 17:25:06 UTC 2008

PJ writes

> There are some on this list who could use a little femoral nerve
> deadening right around their patella.  Stop looking for commies
> under my bed, Lee.  All you'll find there are dust bunnies.

and then

> Wait a second... maybe that's why Lee and others like him are on a
> transhumanist list... he wants us all to have a free market neural
> transplant, so the dream of Homo economicus could become a reality!
> Now if we could only find the part of the brain that governs free
> markets...  ;-)

(I admit readily that my complaint here is about something that is
nothing compared to the *really* ad hominem attacks that frequent
most mailing lists.)

But I'm reminded of what Margaret Thatcher said

     "I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly 
     wounding because I think, well, if they attack one
     personally, it means they have not a single political
     argument left."

By contrast, I do not generally characterize my interlocutors
in negative ways, certainly not by name. True, I have sometimes
referred to "those of previously leftist dispositions who...", etc.,
but it's not quite the same thing, of course.

Is it a form of insecurity, or just bad manners?  The condescension
from several people on this list who I'm currently talking to looks a
little pathetic and desperate to me, honestly. It's also as though
they're perhaps just not very good at keeping their disgust at certain
*ideas* from translating into disdain for certain *persons*.

I request that we try harder to keep the focus on ideas, to try
to avoid making these issues personal, and to avoid general
negative characterizations of others.


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