I think that way when the person belittles their opponent, uses obviously inflammatory language, or overly aggressively gets in their face.
Y’know. Being a dick.
Again, to be clear, I did not say we should back down when confronted. I did not say we should be weak against ignorance. I did not say we shouldn’t be angry. I did not say we should be passionless.
In fact, I argued the exact opposite. We need our anger, or strength, and our passion.
The Liberals, in their continuing discussion of the late trial of the infidel Scopes at Dayton, Tenn., run true to form. That is to say, they show all their habitual lack of humor and all their customary furtive weakness for the delusions of Homo neanderthalensis. I point to two of their most enlightened organs: the eminent New York World and the gifted New Republic. The World is displeased with Mr. Darrow because, in his appalling cross-examination of the mountebank Bryan, he did some violence to the theological superstitions that millions of Americans cherish. The New Republic denounces him because he addressed himself, not to "the people of Tennessee" but to the whole country, and because he should have permitted "local lawyers" to assume "the most conspicuous position in the trial."
Once more, alas, I find myself unable to follow the best Liberal thought. What the World's contention amounts to, at bottom, is simply the doctrine that a man engaged in combat with superstition should be very polite to superstition. This, I fear, is nonsense. The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge. Did Darrow, in the course of his dreadful bombardment of Bryan, drop a few shells, incidentally, into measurably cleaner camps? Then let the garrisons of those camps look to their defenses. They are free to shoot back. But they can't disarm their enemy.
Odds are that people being polite and tolerating spiritual and moral hucksters, shimsham artists, cons, frauds and other weasels has probably done more for continuing human suffering over the last two thousand years, than the occasional "dick" calling it out.
Would "Muslims shouldn't be dicks" be a good article? It's true, right you guys?? No one should be a dick.
My questions were asked in earnest, Blazecock Pileon. It genuinely seemed like you were saying that skeptics should be uncivil as a matter of course.
Countess Elena: Plait's specific example of dickery was name-calling: "asshole, retard, idiot." That need be no part of getting in anyone's face. "How many of you here," he says, "lost your belief [in anything] because someone called you an idiot?"
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