Reagan’s “Eleventh” Commandment

February 15, 2009

If you are not familiar with Reagan’s “Eleventh” Commandment:

“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”

The principle is that you (assuming you are a Republican) do not perform ad hominem attacks on other Republicans. You are to be civil; even if the person you want to be talking smack about disagrees with you on some things, they are still an ally as long as they are promoting party principles. Insulting an ally is a good way to make him into an enemy.

12 February happens to the birth day of two prominent historical figures: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The parts of the blogosphere I happen to read made note of the fact. A couple of blogs (Hot Air and Little Green Footballs [LGF], if you want names) decided to break Reagan’s rule over Neo-Darwinism; basically, they repeatedly implied that people who do not buy into Neo-Darwinism are stupid, anti-science, et cetera, especially LGF. There are ways to civilly display your feeling on the subject without busting out the sarcasm stick to mercilessly beat your opponents with.

As such, I am instituting a new rule. Call it a modification of Reagan’s Commandment, if you will:

“If you claim to be conservative and speak ill of a fellow conservative, I will no longer link to you.”

In other words, if I see somebody call someone else stupid (or ugly or whatnot) over something that sensible conservatives can disagree about, I will no longer give him the courtesy “tip of the hat” whenever he gives me the scoop on something; in fact, I may stop reading him all together. When and if I start a legitimate blogroll, I will exculde him from it. You are welcome to argue policy, just do not break down into ad hominem attacks.

And I do not care if that hurts the viewership average. Civil discourse is a requirement in the marketplace of ideas. Using bullying tactics to get your way destroys that marketplace like mobsters forcing people to shop at union stores at gunpoint would destroy a financial marketplace.

Power Line is rapidly becoming my favorite newsish blog because of this. Instead of using the 12th to insult creationists, they ran a number of posts about Lincoln and his influence. Give them a look, if you would not mind.


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