Ode to Ideas

Sun, 24 Mar 1996 10:52:30 -0600 (CST)

John Fallon writes about Bill Chambers:

No one is discounting you any more on this net. It is you who is
now trampling and disregarding others with disrespect. It is now
you who is acting as if you are above everyone and with no need
to listen to other points of view. It is you who is discouraging
divergent views being expressed. It is you who is insisting
upon one view being expressed (anti or at least
band-wagon-neutral talk). It is you who now wants to shut out
those well published authors from discussion.

Well said! It is this type of behavior (above) that would be
expected from an aspiring cult leader. Ironically, it seems that
Bill C. employs aspiring cult-leader tactics in order to make
himself heard. Worse yet, many in this group seems to be
responding to flaming, terrorist-like tactics of personal attack
and violent diatribe. Bill C. has used the Khadafi-like logic
that violent attack is the only means left to have legitimate
ideas heard. Violence is similarly justified in the mind of
terrorists because, after all, they see themselves as the victims
of similar violence against themselves. Sound familiar?

My attraction to scholarship is the hope (perhaps misguided) that
the solution to problems can be found through intelligent
discourse, and that angry, personal attacks are not legitimate.
The vitriolic attacks pursued here have a better place: The
Geraldo show. And some wish to create a special debate for this?
In my mind that would be like inviting a confirmed terrorist to
Washington so that his ideas can be properly heard (or how about
a joint session of congress?). Meanwhile, most of us on the list
are probably toiling away in obscurity -- really working our buns
off -- and searching for a fair and balanced forum in which to
express our ideas. Perhaps this is not that forum?

Or perhaps I should shout about my pain, my father's early death,
and how I felt left out at early PCT conferences? I think not,
because whether I end up chopping wood or pumping gas, I still
believe there are others out there who are interested in
discussing ideas.

Tim Anderson
Department of Psychology
Vanderbilt University
Nashvill, TN 37240