Monday, February 27, 2012

Killing the messenger not so softly

Every so often you are criticized for being “radical.” So triumphant is the critic that it is as though once the word “radical” is laid on you, nothing you have said is of any worth, the foundation of your argument collapses on contact, and you are defeated and dispatched.  On the other hand, your critics never say a thing about the atrocities of the government perpetrated over decades, they hold no principles against it and have unlimited tolerance for it. They suffer from severe Stockholm syndrome without knowing it; they even feel complacent about this mental deformation.

Before I get into the source of that quote, I think it's important to consider context here, particularly for the first part of this statement. Frankly, when I first read it, I considered politics in the US and the carelessness with which terms like "liberal" or "commie" or "radical right" or "religious fundamentalist" are bandied about by political opponents. Quick, if you want to discredit someone, assign some label to them which will be readily interpreted by your followers as a symbol of denigration and therefore not worthy of consideration! It is a sad and unfortunate commentary that when people are unable to argue the merits of a particular point of view that they then reduce themselves to demonizing the ideological view of their opponents. I am not so naive as to argue that we should all agree but no justice is served by attacking the messenger when the message itself cannot be refuted.

For reference, the above quote comes from Ran Yunfei ( 冉云飞), a Chinese intellectual and blogger, in relation to the government of his own nation. It's sad, however, how applicable it is elsewhere throughout the world... *sigh*


  1. I agree, it is sad.

    It seems many people want to find a point to dispute, and read just until they think they've found one, and jump all over it, desperately trying to expand the importance of the disagreement, instead of looking for the points of agreement and accepting that nobody will agree with you on 100% of your beliefs or understanding of the world.

  2. Ah, yes, the power of the internet where you can say what you want with relative anonymity and you can be as confrontational as possible with limited consequences.