Jose – of all people! – says he is withdrawing from anticant’s arena because he is not prepared to consider the views of another blogger, Yankee Doodle, whose comments, he says, are lacking in “respect” to him. Untypically for such an even-tempered person, Jose seems to be offended by having a cherished point of view contradicted. But is it logical to state one’s beliefs, as Jose frequently and properly does, with a qualifying “only in my opinion”, and then to take umbrage when someone questions them?
Surely, if we adopt this attitude, we shall close ourselves off from new information and different perspectives, so that political blogging becomes a pointless exercise. I blog in order to discover what others are thinking, and to identify new sources of insight into what is going on in this increasingly disturbing and uneasily dangerous world. We all of us have our preconceptions and preferences – largely drawn from reading and reflection rather than from direct experience – and the great virtue of the internet is that there are all shades of opinion, and a great deal of expertise, out there to be consulted, considered, and – sometimes – rejected.
I do not expect to agree with, or to receive deference from, everyone whose blog I peruse or exchange comments with. All I ask is that people keep a civilised standard of politeness and good humour, and in the end agree to disagree if there is nothing further to be gained from the exchanges.
In this instance, however, I find it hard to believe that there is nothing to be gained from studying such well-informed posts as those of Yankee Doodle, who is obviously engaged on much thorough hard-working research. He says things which are alarming and even distasteful, but which we need to know and evaluate. To ignore the implications of his material would, I believe, be very negligent. In a comment I posted on the thread which has upset Jose, I asked: “Do you think there is a mephistophelian hook-up between the Bush, bin Laden and Saudi families to screw