Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Ring: Blogs Leaning Toward the Center

This page is being mirrored elsewhere, so if Blogger seems to be running slowly, you can wander over there. Don't worry - everything links up, so you will be able to find your way back to the ring, easily, when you're done. You should even be able to find your way back to this specific post, without difficulty, if that matters to you.

Formerly, this was known as "Blogs Leaning Slightly to the Right" (and before that, "Blogs Slightly to the Right"), and was described thusly:

Old Description

"Finally! A ring for bloggers who don't talk about their families online, in the Ringlink system! And all I have to do is ... ummm ... become a right-wing nut. Great." It's really not as bad as all of that. Centrists and Moderate Liberals are welcome on this ring - note that the name of the place includes the word "slightly". Who I am excluding, most pointedly, are those on the Far Left. "Why, don't you think that they have a right to be heard?", is a common question, as if a little ring like this was the focus of the world's attention, but you know what? No, I don't think that they have a right to be heard, because there's this little thing called "the social contract", and when one goes out of one's way to tear it to shreds, that little bit of history does not go away the moment one ceases to have the upper hand. One might agree with the neo-cons or disagree with them, and I certainly will do the latter quite often, but one can't get past the fact that the Far Right in this country (the United States) did not abuse the system in order to try to silence its opposition. The Far Left did, and continues to do so up to the very time of this writing (July 2007) in Europe and Canada, where the hated speech codes, so much the bane of American campus intellectual life during the 90s, now often carry the weight of law. That being the case, I don't feel that our belief in tolerance should lead to a hesitation on the part of the rest of us to silence the Moonbats in our midst, any more than a love of peace should compel one to not strike back when one is being attacked without provocation. Those who will not honor the rules of civil society forfeit any legitimate claim to protection under those same rules, and this is an American-administered ring.

To say "you're not welcome in my home" is a very mild expression of intolerance directed toward those who, in their heyday here, expressed their own intolerance through such charming means as phoning late night death threats to the critically ill parents of those who dared to disagree with them, physically assaulting dissenters, attempting to get them dismissed from their jobs or expelled from school, and so much more. These people, like the McCarthyites before them, have forfeited their place at the table of discussion, and so this ring excludes them and includes everybody else, resulting in a potential distribution of political orientations that will, on the average, tend to "lean slightly to the right". There is no "do you agree with Joseph Dunphy" litmus test for joining - that would tend to make for a one site ring, wouldn't it? Just a "have you guys been playing nicely with the other children", which would probably be enough to explain why White Supremacists and Nazis aren't welcome on this ring either, even if I weren't Jewish and not as "racially pure" as some would prefer. I'm thinking that not actually killing the other children is a fairly basic part of playing nicely with them; apologists for gangs, terrorism and the like won't be welcome here, either, and wouldn't be even if Bravenet's and Spiderweb's respective TOS agreements didn't make that an issue.

To get on the blog, you need to sign up for my ring management list and post a request to join, talking a bit about your site, being sure to name the ring you want to join, because I run more than one of them. I reserve the right to reject any application for any reason or for no reason at all - there will be no "playing lawyer" here - but in subjective terms, I can tell you what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a blog that gives me, as a stranger who doesn't know you and might not agree with you, a reason to be glad he came. Just writing "Representative Smith - what a jerk!" doesn't do anything for me. Neither do pictures of your latest litter of kittens. A beautifully done piece of artwork or photography, an article that doesn't just tell me what you think but why (in some depth), a well written story or essay about a subject of interest or something else that represents a real creative or intellectual effort and is relevant to somebody other than the author just might.

Please be patient, because I do have a life outside of the Internet and don't log in every day or even every week, especially during the warm weather. I will get back to you, eventually, and if you do get on the ring, by all means, please stay subscribed to the list. I do ask for feedback from current ring members about pending applications to their rings, so that homelist I'm asking you to sign up for is more than a fancy mailform. It is your means of participating in an online community that you're asking to become part of, and helping it to become more the kind of place where you would feel at home.

Update and Revision

I'll stand by my earlier remarks about the failure of the Far Left in the United States to honor the social contract and the moral implications of that failure, but as I've looked at my earlier words and my gaze has crossed the ones in which I said that the Far Right has done better, I've found that something has begun to bother me. I can almost hear that proverbial nagging voice in the back of my mind asking "Really, Joseph, do we really forget that quickly"; in my well-justified irritation with the Political Correctness that has come down to us from the Clinton years, I forgot the superficially differing but no less obnoxious and intolerant Political Correctness of the Right that held sway during the administration of George Bush the elder, and is just as much a matter of record.

"So, Joseph - when some that you knew went out questioning the pursuance of a war intended to put an absolute monarch with a deplorable human rights record back on his throne, the difference of opinion was greeted tolerantly by a nation whose people were willing to listen respectfully and with an open mind to the arguments of their dissenting opposition, right?" Ummm, wrong, judging from all I've heard, often from the guilty parties themselves. While the pro-first gulf war people were allowed to leaflet freely, one could watch the police, with widespread popular approval and cheerleading from our friends on the Far Right, seize on the anti-littering laws as an excuse to curtail the distribution of antiwar literature, making a mockery of the free press provision of the First Amendment. Any failure to "support our troops" (ie. favor the war) was labeled a form of treason by the administration, a verdict eagerly embraced by the dull-witted drunken fratboy contingent that seemed to be the base of the Elder Bush's support. Any public questioning of that war was good for getting one shouted down, fired from one's job, physically attacked - and all of this defended on the basis that others were "offended" by one's point of view. Sound familiar? But that was a fleeting thing, wasn't it? Just one presidency? I mean, you'd never see the Right Wing acting that way again, would you, now that times have changed and our views are so much more modern?

Than they were way back in the early 90s? We're not exactly looking at the Middle Ages when we criticize the "Heck Yes, Blood for Oil!" contingent of the Republican party of that era, but let's take a look at the present (January 2008 as I'm writing this) and see what we find. Apologists for the use of torture to extract confessions and information from suspected terrorists, which really shouldn't surprise me too much, because I've had the experience of hearing the man in the street in Chicago passionately defending the right of the police to get the accused to confess in murder cases in the same way. Reports of revelations of prisoners being shipped off to Eastern Europe in order to legally facilitate the use of said torture being responded to with calls for the imprisonment of the journalists who broke the stories on the basis that the information they leaked was "classified", and hysterical screaming when one has the bad taste to ask questions like "what if the suspected terrorist is just some unlucky felafel vendor that some bigoted yahoo of an agent grabbed off the street" and "what happened to the eighth amendment" - because I'm sure we had it laying around here, somewhere. We probably left it somewhere near that right to privacy that we're all supposed to pretend that we never had. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, ..." "I'M NOT LISTENING!"

No, if anything, the Far Right is worse now than it was then. I won't say that I've been willfully blinding myself to that reality, but I must admit that I have pursed the truth in this with less than due diligence, reacting to the slow rise of a genuine homegrown fascism of the Right with the weary indifference that remained after years of dealing with the slow rise of a genuine homegrown fascism of the Left. Maybe there's some basic common sense buried in that lack of motivation; if a people are so eager to get themselves oppressed after centuries of freedom that they can be seen first pursuing this group of tin plated despots and then that with arms outstretched and the fond hope that shackles will soon be produced, there may be something said for not thinking too much about the future of a nation that arguably doesn't deserve one. There is nothing, however, to be said for the maintenance of a double standard, so while an understandable fatigue can and should get me to slow down and take it easy as I get to where I'm going, conceptually, it shouldn't change where it is that I'm headed. My thinking on this point was in error, an error that I am now correcting in a way that is reflected in the new name of the ring.

Watching the Far Right in action during the Star Simpson case and the Kerry Taser incident was the wakeup call that a weary centrist needed, one that made me think "long and hard" about the nonsense that I had just written, and briefly about the bad grammar in that colloquialism, but - no matter. The Far Right is now as unwelcome on this ring as the Far Left; this place is going to be rededicated those who one could, with a straight face, refer to as being Moderates or Centrists, more or less.

Both the Moderate Left and the Moderate Right are still welcome.

A brief comment about navigation, since I will be putting this ring on a few other rings: if you travel my ring, and want to get back to one of the rings to which it belongs, click on the link marked "return to your ring" or on the picture of Gutenberg's printing press on the navbar for the "Blogs Leaning Slightly to the Center" ring.

Enough of this. Let's go to the ring.

Return to Your Ring

If you entered my sites though the Blogs Leaning toward the Center ring and its homepage, then you should see the navbar for your ring, below. If you entered anywhere else, then you should go to the local ring return page on the blog homepage, and continue from there.

If you entered through the other copy of the blog homepage and have to, just positively have to return to your ring through the same copy of the blog homepage you were on, when you first came in, even through exactly the same ring code is present in both locations - why not? You can go here, instead, having done your part in the fight for total Webring navigability. I guess. Who needs all of that bandwidth, anyway? Just go here and be happy, as long as you don't tell me about it.

Blogs Leaning Slightly to the Center

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