While I’m having colloquies with the mostly rational and open-minded visitors to Ethics Alarms, I am also fending off nut-case invective by, fortunately, the Angry Left, who are generally less frightening than the Angry Right, on my private e-mail account. Their discourse is instructive.
These sad zealots have been cyber-stalking me for several months now, I know not why. Clearly, it was some post that was critical of their One True God, President Obama, and this, in their eyes, labelled me a Tea Party member (since only Tea Party members are capable of identifying a hopelessly inept administration, apparently) and deserving of receipt of links to every news story that reflects poorly on a member of the Republican Party. Most of the time, I have already criticized the conduct involved, but never mind—these Furies seem to think that every example of a Republican’s misconduct is a dagger through my heart.
The most recent of these, copied in to a vast collection of fellow Leftists, plus my wife, just to clutter up her in-box as well, came from someone calling himself “Kenneth Martin”—I say this because I suspect that he uses other accounts and names to harass me. Ken–can I call you Ken?—sent me a link to the story about Rep. Grimm, which I had already posted on, with this typically fair and well-considered commentary, in bold:
“Funny!!! The idiot’s already under investigation and they caught him on camera with an open microphone threatening a reporter who’d just interviewed him and asked him something he didn’t like. So the ass walks away… and THEN comes back… didn’t realize the cameras were still running and threatens to throw the reporter off a balcony and to beat him up. Don’t you lu-uv the Republicans!???! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!”
I know, don’t feed the trolls. Still, I couldn’t resist pointing out his logical fallacies to his large, copied-in audience, so I wrote back to all:
Hey, Ken, Thanks! I didn’t know Obama had appointed a Republican as Secretary of the Interior! http://ethicsalarms.com/2012/11/14/a-no-tolerance-rule-for-cabinet-members-dont-threaten-reporters/ Or that my own Congressman, serial thug Jim Moran, was a Republican
Of course, attributing Grimm’s thuggish conduct to all Republicans is not just something like, but exactly like, attributing Anthony Weiner’s conduct to all Democrats. Or Elliot Spitzer’s. Or Rod Blagojevich.
Please keep your hyper-partisan ignorance and bias out of my inbox. I have spam to read, you moron.
Ken, wounded, then proved my point by sending—just to me, this time—the following devastatingly witty retort:
“GO FUCK YOURSELF WITH YOUR INSULKTS!”
Which, you must admit, is as good an example of res ipsa loquitur as you are likely to find. Then, this morning, I hear from one “Kol Altai,” who may or may not be Kenneth Martin, and who also regularly sends unsolicited political rants and links, some of them completely incomprehensible, to my in-box and that of my long-suffering wife. Kol (is that name an anagram?) writes,
“Wow, Jack! One really has to admire YOUR “professional ethics”!!! Name calling!! Insulting people because they don’t like a Republican who threatens to toss somebody off a balcony or break them in half like a boy. Yeah, Jack, you’ve got real “ethics”!!! You’re really “professional”!!! “
“Hard not admire someone as lowlife as you!!!”
“GO TO HELL!!!”
I mention this because of the ongoing civility debate currently raging on Ethics Alarms. Is there anything unethical about labeling the hostile sender of a moronic, unsolicited e-mailed message a “moron”? I don’t think so. I did not say that his opinion was moronic because he was a moron—that would be an ad hominem attack. There is no question that to conclude from the actions of one Republican congressman that all, most or even any other Republicans behave this way is a something only someone cognitively impaired could do. I pointed out the obvious and foolish flaw in Ken’s reasoning (Jim Moran (D-VA) is my Congressman–talk about thugs), and diagnosed the likely malady of its originator. Any other response would be to give the comment and the commenter more respect and credibility than he deserves.
Moreover, bestowing a title like “moron” communicates that fact that this e-mail and its author are not welcome in my in-box, and thus I will not treat them with the usual gentility that I would bestow on a guest. I might also call some screaming Eric Holder fan who bursts uninvited into my living room an “asshole” before I call the police, or have my son shoot him. Kenneth/Kol would probably argue that would be unethical of me as well.
But then, they are morons.
I just thought some of you might appreciate a glimpse of what befalls anyone who tries to render objective ethical judgments in hyper-polarized, 21st Century America.