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Anonymity = cowardice?

On his AnalPhilosopher blog, Keith Burgess-Jackson is engaging in two of his favorite activities: self-aggrandizement and whining like a little bitch.

What would you say about a man who, instead of coming out into the open to fight, hid behind a tree and threw rocks at his adversary? You’d call him a coward, right? I hate to say it, but the blogosphere is filled with cowards. It’s disgraceful.


Many of the comments—and almost all the nasty ones—on The Conservative Philosopher were anonymous. Why is this? Those of us who post on that blog are not anonymous. Readers know everything about us: what we believe, what we value, where we live and work, and even, for those of us who post profiles, what we do in our spare time. If we have the courage of our convictions, why don’t our readers? Are they afraid to associate themselves with their ideas? ... If your ideas are sound, why would you hesitate to take responsibility for them? A real man would say, "Here are my ideas; grapple with them."

Many bloggers blog anonymously. I don’t understand this. Don’t say you’re afraid of retaliation. ... Courage consists in exposing oneself to personal risk for a worthy cause. If your ideas aren’t a worthy cause, then you shouldn’t be publicizing them to begin with ...

Anonymity all but ensures incivility, unfairness, uncharitableness, factual recklessness, and logical inconsistency. Perhaps we bloggers should do everything we can to prevent anonymous blogging, posting, and commenting. If we care about the long-term health and integrity of the blogosphere, we will.

Of course, it's easy for a blogger who is also a Bush apologist to condemn others for their "cowardice"; but for the rest of us, those who are trying to hold the Bush administration accountable to at least the most basic principles of morality and justice, it's not so easy. The prevailing mood on the Right since September 11, 2001 has been one of harsh intolerance for dissent, which is regarded as tantamount to treason.

With the kind of rhetoric that so many right-wingers so casually use to disparage those who don't worship in the cult of George W. Bush, it is not hard to imagine verbal aggression spilling over into physical violence.

Remember when USA Today columnist Al Neuharth dared to write a editorial calling for bringing American soldiers home from Iraq? In case you don't, the reaction was venomous. Letter-writers tore into Neuharth for this 'crime':

Yet another self-defeating fool with a large bank account shoots himself in the foot. Their dissent equals treason. The terrorists got him just like all the other rich liberals who side against our victory. They forget that wars end, and then the country takes stock of who was where. I encourage the fool to keep mouthing against our victory over the Muslim jihad, he'll pay the social price in the end.


Neuharth should be tried for treason along with a lot of other blowhards who should be spending their energies condemning the barbarism of our enemies, the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers.


The Patriot Act will put both of you [note: the letter-writer was also addressing Greg Mitchell, the editor of E & P magazine.-d.h.] on trial for treason and convict and execute both of you as traitors for running these stories in a time of war and it should be done on TV for other communist traitors like you two to know we mean business. This is war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the hell do you people think you are? You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America. Your families should be put in prison with you, then be made to leave and move to the Middle East ...This is a great Christian nation and god wants us to lead the world out of darkness with great leaders like President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will soon be in prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the election and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you people are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with before we put you on death row after a fair trial.

At least the last one is willing to grant him a fair trial before his execution.

So basically, anyone who disagrees with Dubya's war policy (i.e. "all war, all the time") is the equivalent of a terrorist who murders innocent people. At the very least, they are guilty of treason for "giving comfort" to the enemy.

Is it really so hard to believe that one of these wingnuts might not have their bloodlust satisfied by writing hate mail and fantasizing about dead Muslims, and decide to take it to the next level? After all, anti-war people are the enemy, and this is war, and in war you kill your enemies, don't you?

So KBJ can bray all he wants about the "cowardice" of anonymous bloggers and commenters. I don't blame anyone who wants to voice his or her opinion on the internet but doesn't feel comfortable with the maniacs at Little Green Footballs, Free Republic, Stormfront etc. knowing where they and their family live.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Sanity is not statistical.