Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost

I am more than pleased that the moral outrage of The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost has made the news.

I am less pleased that the nature of this moral crime has not been revealed as fully as it needs to be.

There will always be people who will post the deceitful half-truths that have done harm to this family. The problem rests with a culture that is more than willing to embrace half-truths, who care nothing about the truth, and who are willing to pass along this type of trash merely because they want it to be true.

Though liberals are not immune to this type of activity, I suspect that it is particularly common among those who are religiously minded who never seem much interested in digging below the surface of any fact. After all, the 'evidence' against the Frost family is hardly any worse than the evidence in favor of many of the things - young earth, creationism, the literal truth of the bible - that these people believe as a matter of course.

Be that as it may, the scum who did this harm would not have been able to do quite so much harm without a culture that embraced and fed half-truth and lies as an acceptable method of scoring political points. We can make our society a lot better if, instead, we learn to turn on and condemn those who think that there is merit in posting - or in accepting and passing on - half-truths and lies. These type of people make all of our lives worse than they would otherwise be.

1 comment:

Hume's Ghost said...

Ritual defamation

The power of ritual defamation lies entirely in its capacity to intimidate and terrorize. It embraces some elements of primitive superstitious belief, as in a "curse" or "hex." It plays into the subconscious fear most people have of being abandoned or rejected by the tribe or by society and being cut off from social and psychological support systems.

The weakness of ritual defamation lies in its tendency toward overkill and in its obvious maliciousness. Occasionally a ritual defamation will fail because of poor planning and failure to correctly judge the vulnerability of the victim or because its viciousness inadvertently generates sympathy.

It’s important to recognize and identify the patterns of a ritual defamation. Like all propaganda and disinformation campaigns it is accomplished primarily through the manipulation of words and symbols. It is not used to persuade, but to punish. Although it may have cognitive elements, its thrust is primarily emotional. Ritual Defamation is used to hurt, to intimidate, to destroy, and to persecute, and to avoid the dialogue, debate and discussion upon which a free society depends. On those grounds it must be opposed no matter who tries to justify its use.

That kid gave defended a program that he believed in because it had helped his family through a severe trauma. As a result his family's home address was posted on the extremist Free Republic web forum. Michelle Malkin cruised his house and questioned his neighbors. The family received e-mails and phone calls. Mark Steyn called the child "fair game." All this was done in the interest of "proving" that the family was a fraud.

They aren't just scum. These are folks who lack the moral grounding to prevent themselves from turning into authoritarian thugs.