Friday, December 17, 2010

Anonymous Comment to: “Angry gay activist behind Wikileaks treachery”

SlantRight 2.0 Editor: Below is a comment that should have been posted but was not. The only reason I know of its existence is that the email made it through even though the comment post did not. It was not posted because the content was too long.

I am making sure it is being posted not that I agree with Anonymous Comment, but because it is a reasoned and thought out rebuttal with an absence of ad hominem language.

Below is the beginning of the comment with the whole comment posted in its entirety as a standalone post.

JRH 12/17/10
Posted by Anonymous
Originally: December 16, 2010 8:48:38 PM

Of course a member of a vilified group is likely to harbour resentment against those who vilify him. This is the summation of that verbose post, a truth obvious to even the most ignorant individual.

However, this post goes wrong when it veers into identifying a singular attribute of a person as a dependable indicator of weakness or vulnerability, especially when the presented evidence is quotations from a sixty year-old study heavily biased by the social mores of the society in which it was conducted.

It helps to analyse quotations for those kinds of biases before using them to make an educated point. For example:

Senate committee reports from the 1950s concluded that "moral perverts are bad national security risks ... because of their susceptibility to blackmail" [...]

This quote could easily be applied to a large range of human behaviour since the term 'moral perverts' is subjective, relying upon a moral framework defined in the reader's mind and the society in which they live. Take that quote and apply it to an intelligence agency operating within a society with strict moral codes, such as Sharia law, and the subjectivity of 'moral perverts' becomes clear. A woman leaving her house alone would qualify as 'moral perversity'. However, the overall point is still perfectly valid: people vulnerable to blackmail are security risks.
Blackmail only works when someone doesn't want knowledge about themselves shared. It's about maintaining secrecy. Is it then right to say that if we make it easier to open up these 'secrets', it nullifies the security risk for all concerned?

This is a significant aspect of the anti-DADT effort: opening up these kinds of secrets so that anyone willing is able to serve their country without the fear that an irrelevant secret could someday cost them their dream or their country a dedicated soldier. In an open, accepting society, blackmail becomes an unusable weapon. Social vilification, arguably responsible for some or all of the "emotional instability and moral weakness" observed in a particular group, is also nullified.

I'm certainly not of the type to say "Let's make everything legal!” This isn't a rational way to run a society when its members are unpredictable human beings of questionable ethics when unsupervised. While civic liberties are paramount, a careful, objective analysis of the long-term effects is necessary. I've spent a long time thinking about gender and orientation equality, and I've concluded that they're the least of our worries when it comes to society crumbling.

It's clear that many religiously-based moral and ethical hurdles exist for you before the reasoning in the paragraphs above become clear, acceptable and the goal attainable. I honestly believe that many religious beliefs stand in the way of true rationalism and comprehension of the world around us -- as I'm sure you feel that Islam or non-mainstream "Christian" schism churches deny the rational themselves. It's also true that I look upon many conservatives these days with disdain, since a heavy religious undercurrent has overwhelmed the reasoning centres of both major American political parties and (for whatever reason) we've fallen into classifying people as 'us' or 'them' -- 'left' or 'right'. This is sad because in many ways I identify with conservative opinion when it's independent of religious overtones and nationalism, and it's becoming harder to find.

Anyway, the question still remains as to whether Manning copied those documents out of spite for DADT or a sense of ethical responsibility to expose the illegitimacy of our Middle-Eastern wars. Perhaps a mix of both? But it can't be denied that annihilating DADT would have calmed his internal conflict. Personally, I think he would have released them regardless.
SlantRight Editor Note: If the Anonymous Commenter ever discovers that he/she’s comment was posted a standalone piece, that person should know that I performed a spell check for grammar and clarity reasons. Also the reader should not a significant amount of spelling that would be misspelled in America is not misspelled in Britain; ergo I left those words alone.


  1. To the editor:

    Firstly, whilst our political similarities would disagree on everything but Democracy, I thank you for the responsible demonstration of free speech, and respect the mutually respectful way you both considered a well constructed opposing view, and went to lengths to share it with others.

    I'd like you to consider however, that added Editors Note should be omitted on the grounds that it unintentionally evokes the oft-used internet 'spelling ad-hominem'. I think it misrepresents your character and undermines the gesture you have displayed here.

    Fingers can do strange things like auto-completing words for you, when one is typing at the speed of thought. Mistakes can occur, but it shouldn't undermine the message. Similarly, pointing out spelling errors (or the removal of them) should be avoided as it undermines and distracts more than it assists.

    I'd like to point out that you mistyped the intended word 'now' in the message. Now both you and I are guilty of an irony (and perhaps an ad-hominem) that is better left unsaid.

    Thankyou for facilitating free speech. I request that if you do decide upon consideration to remove the Editors Note, please also delete this comment mutually.

  2. Thank you for your insight Sam. I am leaving the post as is though.