Honest Debate

By lex, on February 16th, 2010

So, some of you are maybe members on http://www.linkedin.com/, the social media network for working stiffs. I am.

One of the groups I belong to is the US Naval Academy Alumni, and I posted a brief link to the blunt smoking midshipman case. There are nearly 4000 members of that community, and we had a pretty good discussion about the issue in the group’s “discussion” section. It went on for a good two weeks or so, until someone came in and posted the ‘Supe’s rebuttal.

Which is when things got interesting.

Someone changed the post from the “discussion” section to the “jobs” section, which is where alumni post positions that are open within their domains. Unlike the discussion section – which is more or less permanent – the jobs section has a two week expiration date.

It could have been an honest mistake. It could have been that someone was trying to stifle the debate.

I wrote the group moderator, saying that there might have been some mistake. He wrote back, thanking me for the catch.

And then it happened again.

The moderator – being a good egg – changed it back to a discussion, adding this little bit in way of explanation:

I think we have figured out a way to prevent this discussion from being moved to Jobs. Thanks to everybody who has been keeping an eye on this for me.

This little conflict has provided an interesting microcosm of politics in our nation at large, has it not? When reasonable men disagree, they attempt–and sometimes succeed–to sway one another on the merits of their arguments. An intellectually honest man is one who recognizes the superiority of a better argument and changes his position accordingly.

Meanwhile, an intellectual knave changes the subject. He sticks his fingers in his ears and whistles Dixie so loud that nobody else can hear either. Lacking an effective counter-argument, he finds a way to stop the debate. His goal never was to collaborate in the discovery of Truth, but to advance his agenda by any means.

In my opinion, a man who will prevent you from hearing the truth is the most insidious kind of liar. In a forum like this one, where the only assets we have are shared experience and the strength of our arguments, a man who is willing to silence his shipmates in order to quash their ideas is like a thief in the berthing spaces: insidious, intolerable.

Meanwhile, wing-nut, that chilly feeling on the back of your neck is the collective stare of nearly 3,700 of your peers… and we are the exact opposite of impressed.

Roll THAT up and smoke it, why don’t you.

Not going quietly. Not going down without a fight.

That’s Old Navy. Not the kind of navy that’s ashamed of what it’s doing, and tries to hide it. The kind of Navy that’s proud of what it has done.

My Navy.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Politics

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