I have had to refuse another comment, and I had to make another examination of conscience. Do I have the right to refuse comments because I do not agree with the expressed opinions? I have said it before – I think I am open-minded and prepared to discuss.
I posted an article that would inevitably be open to comments about the Welfare State and themes that would bring the 1930’s and the 2010’s to have all too much in common. Before I closed the comment box, I found a pending comment supporting the current political tendencies towards the “extreme right” and an attitude of hatred that would only ignite more bitterness and hatred. We have Le Pen in France and there is Donald Trump in the USA. I think we will regret it if either of these two demagogues get into power, just as we languish in hopelessness in the current climate of oscillation between “conservatives” and “socialists”.
The general situation is getting very ugly, and articles I read in the “alternative news” give reasoned arguments about the imminence of a new world war, which would escalate and kill us all. The “enemy” isn’t only the others. It is ourselves and the political leaders some of us would like to put into power. Who would I vote for in France? I do know that increasing numbers of people are voting with blank ballots, because there is no solution and no hope in the present system or what any that untried parties are proposing.
In spite of our dead-end situation of check-mate, the solution for a better world is not hatred and violence. Wars will be fought and will have to be fought, unless we want to finish up under Daesh or Big Brother – or under the Jackboot!
I will not allow comments that incite hatred, and I wonder how many “borderline” comments I have allowed. It is a difficult responsibility. I ask commenters to self-moderate. I tolerate many things, but gratuitous hatred is something else…
Of course you have a right to refuse comments, even should they be mine. This is your blog, and, as such, a very personal thing, and you have no obligation to let others determine for you what is said in it. Freedom of speech must necessarily include the freedom not to allow ones own efforts to be used to speak what one wishes not to be spoken. That said, I truly do appreciate the kind of forum you have provided here, both providing a place for strongly differing opinions to be aired, and a decency of discourse. Take this little note as a heartfelt thank you
Rest assured, I haven’t refused comments from any who have posted on this thread. It was another person who has already tried to make trouble here and whose e-mail is moderated.
Dr Fr Anthony, I think we all appreciate the freedom of comment on this blog, and I would be appalled if this freedom was abused. The problems that a blog administrator has of reading and passing comments are intense and time consuming. Thank you for providing a forum for us to read and digest and comment, from whatever tradition we come from, or presently dwell in. Best wishes for your Christmass celebrations
Very few comments have to be refused. They are from obvious trolls, people with obsessions or people who believe that progress can only be made with hatred, the very principle of Hitler as he expressed himself in Mein Kampf. Most of my commenters are free to post comments at will and I have every trust in them. I keep moderation to an extreme minimum. I only moderate new commenters and those I have put on a list in the blog configuration. Revealing those addresses in public is against WordPress rules, so I keep that information to myself.
You are absolutely right in your refusal to allow posts which could incite hatred. I think most of us who post comments here would say that your moderation policies are fair and reasonable.
Dear Father Anthony,
I think you are extremely kind and indulgent in the posts you let through. Agreeing with your point of view has never seemed to be the crtierion. All I can say is that the ones you feel constrained to block must be vile indeed!
Considering what is generally approved here, it must take a lot to get moderated.
Sidenote: As an American who has never been to France and finds Donald Trump absolutely revolting (I lean more towards Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, though I consider neither to be perfect), I don’t see an issue with Le Pen. Perhaps your familiarity with the FN allows you to know something I don’t, but – like UKIP – I see them as the undoubtedly the best option of those presented.
We are getting into a domain where I will have to read the manifesto of the FN. What I have been able to understand about the FN is that it is not only nationalist but “statist” in the French republican tradition, and would maintain a massive bureaucracy like the socialists. Policies on immigration and law and order would be tough as for the question of the European Union. The EU is a monster and top-heavy with bureaucracy. The problem is knowing whether European countries could revert to their pre-EU existence and survive in the present US-dominated economic system. There are many unknowns, and we tend to stick with what is known. The present policy of President Hollande since 11/13 is to reinforce security and to do some things that some would like to see coming from the nationalists.
Nationalism is a temptation in the nostalgia for conservative and family-based values, but would we get that with nationalism in the 2010’s. The EU, as I said, is an anti-democratic monster and a building block of Orwell’s dystopia. Perhaps we need much smaller units than nation states – regions or even tribes. How do we achieve that without the present system being destroyed?
So many questions and so few answers…
Switzerland, with its confederation of virtually independent Kantons and the direct vote of the people, who have the ability to overturn law or institute law by popular demand is perhaps the closet thing that we have, and it exists in the 21st century and has proven to be very, very successful.
Oh, personally I view the EU as far more destructive to civilization and freedom than the Front National. French nationalists have always been far kinder than French left-wingers any day.