Here’s a “special interest” post that might lead to some fun ones in the future – not political per se, but something of interest from the Tenth Amendment Center inbox over the past week or so. I thought some people might be interested in this little back and forth I had by email with someone recently.
Setting the Stage
1. We ran an article from Rob Natelson just have health care passed, called “Had Enough?” In it, Rob gave a list of a number of things that should be pursued to stop federal violations of the constitution – state sovereignty laws to resist it, mass civil disobedience, 2010 elections, and even an Article V convention. He’s a big proponent of the latter, so finished his article by focusing on that.
2. In response, we received mostly positive feedback – but the Con-Con part of the article really gave some people a difficult time. For some reason, there’s a significant number of people out there that have a knee-jerk reaction and consider anyone who proposes (or prints) such a thing to be their enemy, to be a conspirator, and the like. In response, I or someone else will often times try to open discussion with people, or point out some of the other action items for them to try. Some will open up to a discussion, others will simply call us traitors for even discussing such a thing – (which is part of the Constitution, by the way).
3. One of the leading organizations in the country that opposes a Con-Con is the John Birch Society. The president of the organization, John McManus, wrote a letter to Professor Natelson and myself personally. He said some positive things, such as “your outrage about the healthcare measure is well-stated and welcomed with pleasure. It’s good to know that some academics see through the danger in this latest move toward socialism in our nation.” And then offered his position that he opposed the convention call, in a strong, but respectful way.
4. Another person, who refers to himself as the “Old Dog” wrote an article and sent it in. I figured he wanted me to consider it for publication. He made some very good points in the proposed article, but parts of it were what I considered to be attacks on Professor Natelson’s character, such as “all who support this insane proposal must surely have nefarious intentions.” [emphasis added]
5. My response? I asked him to consider rewriting it and simply make the case for his viewpoint without such statements. I figured that would be understandable that we’re just not going to run articles here that claim any long-time contributor is nefarious or evil, or anything of the sort. While agreeing with everything every contributor says here is not my cup of tea, I’m still going to show each of them respect for their efforts. Period.
6. His response? He tells me that I’m, in essence, insulting his intelligence by asking him to not attack my friend in an article to be published on my website. Because, according to him, it’s not possible to consider such a proposal and be anything other than a person with a “surreptitious plan.”
7. Shocked by what I thought was his complete and utter arrogance, I was more curious than anything – normally I throw rude commentary into a folder instead of spending time on them – but I decided to give the friendly, open option another chance. I wrote again:
All I’m saying is we’d be happy to publish your views, but we don’t accept articles that personally attack any of our contributors. Period.
Are you unable to offer your view on a topic without insulting my friend on MY website?
8. His response was much nicer this time – he explained that another website, DumpDC, a good site run by my acquaintance Russ Longcore, was going to run the original, but that he’d write another article for TAC:
I am willing and I believe capable of elucidating the extreme danger of another Continental Congress at this particular time of political turmoil and prejudice media without any personal attacks.
Then followed up with this – in the same email, just two paragraphs later.
I understand that all of this is offensive to you personally, and to Rob, but it is equally offensive to me that men of your education and intellectual level could publish their support of this Trojan horse.
9. Old Dog followed up with another email – with an article about his opposition to a Con-Con. He didn’t really give any details as to why it was a bad idea – covering the nuts and bolts of it, that is – but he gave a strong personal opinion that I felt deserved to be published, especially since I know he must’ve spent some personal time with it and I figured it would’ve been rude to reject it completely at this point. I ran it here on the blog – “A Constitutional Convention Needs Years of Preparation.” I enjoyed reading it and think others did as well.
10. Got another email from Old Dog – he mentioned that he was having trouble viewing the 1 comment on the article that had been made thus far (how he knew there was a comment if he couldn’t view it, I don’t know) I didn’t have time to look into it much, but checked to make sure things were running fine. They were. I filed his email away to be responded to later.
11. A few days later, I replied to his email – all I said was “I’m sorry for the slow reply – it’s certainly been extremely busy here of late! I definitely appreciated your article and look forward to discussing things like this more with you in the future. By the way, what state are you in?”
12. Old Dog’s response – why should I be surprised at this?
You can be sure I am surprised to hear from you, as I have not been able to view my letter past the first day it was published, and could never view any comments to it.
What really blew me away was when some friends emailed congrats to me, and after my reply to them, sent me copies of the comments. I have never encountered this problem before, and normal web viewing continued on other sites throughout this problem.
I finally concluded that my IP address was black balled from your site, and after a short period of rage, decided that your previous warning of not insulting your friends made the results my own fault.
I have made a friendship with Russ Longcore and wanted to do the same with you, so all of you who have much higher education could get the common mans view of what’s happing to our country.
You can be assured we are disappointed in those of you involved with supporting a dead document, and want to open communications with you, but emotions run high on both sides. It will take much discipline to proceed.
13. Great – Mr Positive thinks he’s so important that I’m going to spend time finding his IP address (I guess from the emails he sent to me, somehow), and then deal with customer service at DreamHost (our web host), to get them to block him from viewing this website. Um…yeah. right. And then, on top of it, he’s disappointed in people interested in the constitution. My response:
I really don’t have the energy or the time for much more back and forth with you – if you find our work disappointing, please go elsewhere. That’s sincere, and while you may find it hard to believe, it’s really from a place of friendliness in my heart.
— You don’t like the Professor’s article, so I offer to give you space on my website for a rebuttal, but I have to spend time and energy convincing you to not insult my website or my friends. (on my website for that matter)
— I give you space to run an article anyway. I publish it. You have a problem getting to it. Rather than thinking you have a problem, your instinct is to think I’m some kind of backhanded sneak that blocks you from my website.
I know I’m doing good work here, and in general, all I’ve gotten is complaints from you. You are not blackballed, you have a problem with your pc that I don’t know how to fix. Your article is live on the site and it’s pretty good – all I wanted to do was thank you for the nice contribution and I get a response with more complaints and negativity from you. It’s not something I want to spend my time on. The only reason I’m communicating this to you is I have the impression you’re really not a jerk that has nothing nice to say – I believe you’ve got good intentions.
You really don’t think very highly of me or my work, or my friends, so why are you wasting my time? Please go away. Or, if you can figure out the problem with your computer, just leave your negative thoughts as a comment on an article – that’s the place for the debates.
I now have a filter on, so I won’t have to see your emails immediately anymore.
That’s it in its entirety. James is obviously important enough for me to spend this time on him and his post (far too much time, for that matter). Or, maybe I find it interesting that there are some people out there (normally they’re politicians) who just can’t seem to do or say anything positive if you don’t agree with them 100%. “My way or the highway” or so it goes. In my opinion, it’s pretty arrogant.