From: Lee Corbin (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jun 19 2003 - 19:19:43 MDT
(I have missed practically all the posts recently, but this one
came to my attention by chance just now)
> > > The attacks are baseless slander. They are based on these people
> > > not jumping on the bandwagon to support the war and the president.
> > > Any liberal, democratic or peaceful position is being lumped in as
> > > being anti-American. This is incorrect.
> > But doesn't it all depend on how you conceive of what your
> > proper duties are as a citizen? Is it not also highly parameterized
> > by circumstances? I'm sure that you can think of many historical
> > situations (or simulations) in which sufficient danger would exist,
> > or in which sufficient fealty would be the norm, that it would be
> > true that "if you are not with us, then you are against us"?
> No. It is baseless slander to accuse people of supporting persons and groups
> there is no evidence, except trumped up questionable reading into statements
> or absence of same, that there is any such support.
Right. What you literally write here is absolutely correct.
The particular question concerned the charge (against an
American) of being "anti-American". It is an exaggeration
to say that this is necessarily slanderous. It will depend
on what "anti-American" means: for example, it may mean those
who are always against American foreign policy. Still, I
totally agree that such a charge, if not expressed as a possibility
or phrased as a question, could turn out to be not only wrong,
but insulting and inflammatory.
> > I readily understand that you cannot take insults lying down,
> > and that you need to defend what "anti-American" would mean to
> > you (not that you and others have neglected this). I myself
> > doubt the utility or the wisdom of such provocations---yet if
> > you could (and I don't know---perhaps you've tried) get those
> > people to explain more concretely what they mean when they use
> > such terms, perhaps the disagreements would be loftier.
> Why is the burden of effort on those who are the victims of the
> slander? The slander itself is against the principles of this list.
Because, Samantha, it cannot be so easily established that it
*is* slander! In fact the charge of slander fits into this
very same category: if it is not expressed as a possibility
or phrased as a question, then it itself may turn out to be
wrong, or at least insulting and inflammatory.
You can't *automatically* declare something to be slander
and thus make it so!
> > > These are our friends being accused of war crimes. This is
> > > excessive. What is going on here?
> > What is going on is differing conceptions of what a country
> > or a nation should be, and the proper amount of allegiance
> > that is due. ;-) Your cries of "slander" are just as much an
> > overreaction as theirs of "war-criminal", or "traitor", though
> > perhaps they did start it. Sorry to keep beating on my theme
> > here, but it's the underlying assumptions that need to be
> > argued about, not the surface phenomena.
> No, I do not believe that is what is going on. Actually real
> slander is being done and the quotes are misplaced. [To] Point
> out that it is slander to call any of us a "war criminal" and
> so on is not in the least on the same level as using those
> terms against those who oppose some of this country's recent
"War criminal?" I'm sorry, but do you have a reference of someone
on this list being called a "war criminal"? I can't find one.
Anyway, you are absolutely right that to call someone a war criminal
would qualify as slanderous because the meaning is so concrete, and
cannot be dismissed.
> In this country it is also not a matter of debate whether simply
> disagreeing with the actions of the government and saying so makes
> one anti_US or unpatriotic much less a "traitor". The freedom to
> do so is one of the defining principles of this country.
Absolutely. But in time of war (as in March), the specific meaning
of traitor ("giving aid and comfort to a nation's enemy", see the
definition of "treason") makes this less clear.
The solution is to avoid charging people with this or that. Because
there will always be counter-charges.
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