Welcome Back, TGT!


Today the multiple winner of Ethics Alarms’ annual “Commenter of the Year” Award, “tgt” returned to the ethics wars here without warning or fanfare after many months away.


I hope I don’t embarrass him by officially welcoming him back, and pointing out why my enthusiasm is based on more than nostalgia. Since he first engaged here in 2010 until his sudden exit last July, tgt was the most prolific, relentless, and among the most articulate and provocative of the many excellent participants here. His obsession is logical inconsistency and flawed reasoning (as he sees them), and he has often served as my harshest critic, as well as my most reliable barometer. He has his biases, and his alignment on the political scale is clearly different from mine (and what is center depends on where you are standing), but his dedication to objectivity and integrity has impressed me from the beginning.

Do I frequently think he’s wrong? Sure.

However, what is important is that tgt represents the high level of discourse and the intense interest in ethics that Ethics Alarms was created to encourage, and the debate here cannot help but be enhanced by his return. I know many of you have had your battles with him in the past, some quite heated: Mr. Pilling’s epic spats with tgt were especially notable for their duration, which I considered spinning off into a separate blog. Perhaps his return will also lure back some valued progressive readers who for various reasons fled the field in recent months, as he can be a strong ally. He will find the landscape a bit changed–No Curmudgeon, or Karla;  JJ seems to be gone, and Ampersand, with whom I had, as they say, irreconcilable differences. The newer participants are in every way their equals, however, and many of the long-time regulars still surface when the topic energizes them.

This week the list of the top 50 “Blawgs” was published, the most popular blogs in 2013 written or compiled by law professors. I’m not a law professor, though I regularly teach lawyers, but Ethics Alarms covers many legal ethics issues, so if I were one, Ethics Alarms would qualify for the list. If it did, it would be 14th, with over 1 million page views last year. That is the doing of the remarkable, passionate readers here, and the serious, inquiring, ethical community built by tgt and all of you.

So welcome back, tgt. I missed you, my friend, and so did Ethics Alarms.

And I promise to remember that when I think you are full of crap, as I most certainly will, sooner or later.

44 thoughts on “Welcome Back, TGT!

  1. Interesting. It will be enjoyable destroying his litany of logical fallacies he uses to back his arguments. His expertise in them lay primarily in using them.

          • Thanks for the warm welcome!

            Tex, SMP, I look forward to the rare times we will agree on a difficult topic, so I can be near 100% confident I’m in the right, and the many times we will disagree, so I’ll be challenged to rethink my positions. You may not believe it, but I realize that you’re each occasionally more right than me.

            Down with zero-tolerance! Down with censorship! Long live logic! Long live arguments!

            • Viva! I hope you’ve been doing okay. Just a few days ago, I was cleaning out some old posts on my email column (some of them two years old!) and was struck by the huge, lengthy debates we had. I haven’t been able to post or respond as often as I’d like this last year because of the volume of other concerns. This probably means I’ll have to reshuffle my priorities yet again! Anyway, God bless.

              • I’ve been anti-censorship and anti-zero-tolerance forever. I included them as topics pretty much everyone here is with me on.

                  • I was against school backed religious speech in that thread. The school picking a religious speech would be an issue. A school not disqualifying a religious speech from a handpicked student would also be an issue, as there’s a captive audience created by the government. If the school had set up a limited public forum where every student who wanted to could give a speech, then banning this student’s speech would be the problem.

                    • Wrong. The speech was not selected to push religion. That the girl mentions God is therefore a non-issue. If you lefties were truly about cultural celebration, this wouldn’t be an issue in this instance. That your nearly programmatic application of this rule towards Christianity and no other culture, is fairly indicative of your virulent hate as well as support of censorship.

                    • The speech was not selected to push religion. That the girl mentions God is therefore a non-issue.

                      I didn’t say the speech was selected to push religion. I didn’t say it here, and I didn’t say it in that thread. Do not put words in my mouth.

                      As I said in that previous post, if there was a contest and best entry was to be presented, then the school should have said that religious entries could not be included, as there would be a captive audience.

                      I’m pretty sure we talked through many of the various possible cases for what could have occurred. If you want to re-litigate that post, can we jump back to that post?

                      If you lefties were truly about cultural celebration, this wouldn’t be an issue in this instance. That your nearly programmatic application of this rule towards Christianity and no other culture, is fairly indicative of your virulent hate as well as support of censorship.

                      Uh what? I’m against tax payer funding for Muslim schools just as much as I’m against tax payer funding of Christian schools. I’m against local governments banning mosques like I’m like local governments enforcing Orthodox Judaism like I’m against Blue laws. I’m for the free speech rights of Christians just as much as I’m for the free speech rights of Muslims and Atheists.

                      That you see so many more attacks on improper actions by Christians in the US is because there are so many more improper actions by Christians in the US. It’s a numbers game and a assumed privilege game. Christians dominate our government bodies, and due to their severe majority, have gotten away with violations since the states were founded.

                      I’d say that it’s actually people on the right that are hypocrites on this issue. They vote for public funding for vouchers for private schools, with the express intent of allowing them to be used by Christian schools, but they fight when one Islamic school starts getting vouchers. High schools allow Christian fellowship clubs to form, but they freak and try to ban SSA clubs. When the Air Force made saying “so help me God” optional, right wing groups freaked and claimed that the MRFF was trying to prevent people from saying “so help me God”.

                    • Ok, then you admit it was not an establishment of religion issue. Stopping the speech then because of a passing reference to God is censorship. Its blandly simple.

                      Mentioning God is not compulsion of the captive audience to partake in religious practice. Only the most virulent and most unrealistic interpretation of things could allow that.

                    • Are you the bird seed that has lured back so many commnenters I haven’t seen in months? There have been about six or seven. I think I’m insulted, but you should be flattered.

        • Sounds about right – although you left out his endurance and inability to let things go without having the last word. I’m sharpening my sword.

    • Yeah, but in the context of the blogosphere, a fanfare can be a couple of kazoos operated by people who understand (and can reasonably execute) the interval between a one note and a three note. Or a three and a five.

      I, too, am glad you’re back, regardless.

  2. Late to the party (as usual, and for the best of reasons), I sincerely am grateful to see that tgt has resumed commenting in this blog. In the Bible, the effect of his presence and effort is referred to in a context of iron sharpening iron. Tgt may not be any more perfect than any of the rest of us who comment here. But in most respects, as far as I have observed, he is a loyal and trustworthy friend, even to his “foes.” Thanks in advance, tgt, for your contributions which upgrade the blog’s debatology (I don’t want that to become a word; I know it’s inferior to wackosity and consensuality, but could not resist using my own “Haigution.”)

  3. I don’t post much, but I will be reading more often. Tgt is fascinating. He debates online the way that Crystal Cox blogs.

      • I agree. I’ll remember that calumny the next time Scott calls someone a generic “cunt.” There are far worse things than vulgarity, and comparing anyone to Cox is a great example.

                • I did that, Scott. While I’m not against the citizen journalist online by any means (having done this myself!) it likewise behooves the person who would undertake this role to keep themselves spotlessly ethical. If those allegations as to her activities are accurate, it doesn’t speak well for her character, as it comes down to character assassination at best to downright extortion at worst.

                  Some years ago, I published some pretty damning things about some Hollywood types as the result of a hard, but honest investigation. I was aware then of how spurious allegations can wreck someone’s career if that career is in anyway dependent on a good public image. And, since the case was one of child sexual exploitation, it was REALLY vital that I kept everything above board and in perspective. At the same time, I was aware that the reverse was true. A citizen blogger/investigator who’s looking into malfeasance from public figures runs the risk of media resources being turned against him, as he’s liable to be stepping on other important toes beside those of the ones at the center of the case.

                  That said, I’ll hold off a judgement against this woman until I gain a little more info. It’s being charged that she set up hate blogs specifically aimed not only at this Marc Randazza, but for his wife and young daughter as well; tying it to an alleged attempt at extortion. If so, it’s a criminal case and needs to be taken from there.

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