Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Progressive Ethics on Display with Prokop

Well, chalk up another attempt at trying to cause me RL harm for what arguments I get into online.

The first time I experienced  this was over at James McGrath's little hate-blog, where one of his regulars - with the silent approval of McGrath himself - started to awkwardly drop hints about what he was convinced my RL self was, saying how maybe 'my employers' would be interested in knowing about the views I share online, and how I'd best keep my mouth shut if I at all care about such things. McGrath, meanwhile, let that go on because I denied they had my RL details, and he 'thought that settled the matter.'

McGrath also, prior to this, started to opine how he wish people could get some RL ramifications for what they say online, as he think it'd do a fine job of people people civil.

Fast-forward to today, where I was continuing a conversation with Karl Grant over at Victor Reppert's blog. Not exactly a pleasant conversation - there was namecalling on Karl's side, and a heavy dose of animosity on mine. When suddenly Bob Prokop decides to speak up, announcing what he thought was my RL name to everyone.

No context. No prompting. Just suddenly the equivalent of, 'Crude's RL name is (x)!'

Surprise - Bob's not exactly smart, and he misread a comment on my blog, mistakenly thinking my RL name had been mentioned. Naturally, the first thing he does with this information is drop it in the middle of a conversation, and when someone corrects him, fumblingly mention how it was a mistake but, darnit, he thinks everyone would be so much more POLITE if their RL details were shared.

Without going further, let me clearly state: of all the shit I've had thrown my way, I consider this sort of thing the absolute lowest. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called doxing. It's nasty, reprehensible shit, something I do not engage in with even Cultists of Gnu. The closest I came to it was outing Blue Devil Knight's sockpuppet fake-Christian alt, and even then, I only outed his known comment handle. Even with Cultists of Gnu I find reprehensible, I've never dabbled in that, because I find it tremendously foul.

It should come as no surprise that Bob Prokop is, of course, a progressive. A nice little 'Gosh I am just so happy to live in the bluest of the blue states because God and the DNC are basically operating hand in hand in my lunatic world' sort.

I write all this, to a degree, to communicate a lesson. If I seem uniquely animated when I talk about progressives, just as I tend to be when talking about the Cult of Gnu, it isn't because of their mere opinions. I have little ire for someone on account of their believing God does not exist, their lack of belief in God, their belief that the world would be better with this safety net for people, and so on. It's their attitude, their behavior, their general irrationality, and in particular the shit they'll pull when dealing with someone they disagree with.

The funny thing is? The last time I had a conversation with Bob - where I was stone-facedly arguing against him, pointing out inconsistencies in his position - he announced that he no longer wanted to discuss politics. My response? I said, 'Alright' and dropped it on the spot. I was willing to bury the whole thing, without so much as a last word given on my part, out of civility, and yes, some amount of mercy. I largely considered Bob to be a sad specimen, a loyal political party lifer who had grown disillusioned as the progressive movement rose around him, no longer permitting his sort to be anything but an open pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage traitor to his Church. I had sympathy for him.

His response is to try and dox me at the first opportunity.

If ever you wonder, 'Gee Crude, why is it you'll talk with atheists, mormons, hindus, pagans, scientologists, muslims, jews, anarchists and more with default civility, but the moment you catch wind that someone is a progressive or they're big fans of Dawkins, your respect for them goes in the toilet?', consider this a small piece of additional evidence for the pile I've accumulated over the years.

In very extreme cases, I believe in what amounts to political profiling - you can tell you're dealing with a rat-virtued person by the political movements they align themselves with.

Edit: Bob Prokop is saying that he had no intention of trying to out me. I find the timing, and the context, pretty suspicious. But I also have a hunch that I went too fast on this one - so I'm backing off and withdrawing the accusation. I'm also keeping the post up as a reminder to remain civil when I deal with bullshit like this.


Graham Marley said...

The irony. Conservative Christians created a shit storm by posturing sin-language along the lines of cultural taboo and created a destructive power dynamic with gays. Instead of learning the lessons of just how bad things can get in those circumstances, Progressives are relying on scarlet-letter shame culture. Why win an argument when you can just throw someone to the wolves?

Crude said...


Interesting comment. Can you explain more of what you mean about the destructive power dynamic? I -think- I understand, but I'd rather hear more.

Graham Marley said...

So, my assessment of "where the Church went wrong" with the homosexuality crisis was basically allowing the teaching of doctrines about sexuality and sex to piggyback on social taboo. The "those faggots" mentality created a false sense of security, people would avoid a particular sin because the social consequences would be so severely disproportionate that to even anticipate a future cultural controversy probably seemed absurd, because it was a point where the churched and unchurched could fist bump.

"You may be a godless heathen, but at least you aren't a sodomite."

"You may be a loud-mouthed god-botherer, but can you believe those queers?"

There was no urgency to foster compassion and try to figure out how to guide people faithfully, because for so long, same sex attraction was a condition towards losing your livelihood: Sin was suppressed, people felt pretty damn good about themselves, and no one had to ask any hard questions.

Once the controversy actually happened, conservatives tried to leverage whatever was left of the power in the taboo, but the fulcrum shifted so fast that they didn't even realize the conventions of their language had no cultural intelligibility anymore. We're slowly doing the catch-up work, but it's just going to get weirder from here on out. Now in the afterglow, like you've said, it's total capitulation or hit the bricks.

B. Prokop said...

Boy, do you know how to misinterpret things! And here I thought it was me who had made a big mistake.

Crude, I had zero ill will toward you when I mistakenly equated your moniker with a real name. I was actually pleased that I could put a name to someone, with whom I had been communicating for some time now. And you (to me inexplicably) flew off the handle and attributed all sorts of motivations to me that were a total surprise to me, and which couldn't be further from reality if you tried.

Note how I answered your first question about my "thought processes" - in all innocence, I thought you were asking how I had made such a mistake. Not why I had done so. And that's how I answered you, figuring that was the end of it. Because I never dreamed it was a big deal to you.

It's kind of sad, because I'm not sure whether you'll ever believe me, but I'm dead serious here. I never in a million years imagined you (or anyone else) would find my comment objectionable. Never. Call me naive, but please don't imagine I had the slightest evil intent. I was just happy that I no longer had to think of you as "crude". That's it. No hidden agenda. No "outing" intended. No political motivation.

You can believe what you want, but (and I don't use this phraseology lightly), it's the God's Truth.

Crude said...


I have talked about, more than once here, people's attempts at 'outing' me. You decided to throw out what you thought was my RL name, out of the blue, and then you proceed to talk about how everyone would be nicer if their RL selves were known?

Crude said...


I'm so-so on that interpretation. I don't think 'sodomites' were at the bottom of that particular totem pole, below 'godless heathens' - especially considering 'godless heathens' were quite literally killing Christians during an overlapping period of time. I think for the most part, they were either amusingly weird, or pitiably disturbed. In secular terms, they were just plain mentally ill. And in either event, it was only an issue if you were actively engaged in the sexual acts.

I actually am of the mind that same-sex sexual behavior has very little to do with much of anyone's concern. I think there was a 'gay agenda', but it has since been very quickly overshadowed by something far larger, and broader. Put simply, the LGB culture is seen as a proxy fight for everyone else's sexual hangups - it functions more as a kind of minesweeper and litmus test.

B. Prokop said...

What does RL stand for?

Crude said...

Real life.

Bob, I am going to take your word for it and edit my post to reflect as much. I find the timing and the choice of words entirely too convenient, among other things. I think I've made it clear before exactly what I think of this sort of shit. But I'm going off a hunch here, so I'll pull back and give you the benefit of the doubt.

Graham Marley said...

Well, sure, Plymouth circa 1699 had a different taboo structure, but I should specify that I'm talking about the last 100 years or so of American metropolitan culture. If a father disowned his son for being gay in 1949 Pittsburg, religious pressure would have been just as powerful as the boys down at the factory asking about Frank's sissy son.

Crude said...

No, I still don't buy it. It goes against my understanding. And really, I think shockingly few people have ever been disowned for 'being gay'. Now, disowned for doing something unspeakable sexually, sure. But that's an act, not a status.

Graham Marley said...

Fair enough, it's certainly not a hill I'm looking to die on. I'm actually having a hard time finding anything like a history of homophobia in modern times. Most of what I find is vague psychological profiles and "Lots of cultures are into it."

Crude said...

I want to stress, it's not that I doubt that, say... people were bullied or mistreated for being 'queers' or 'sissies'. I just think, when this happened, it likely happened similar to how they're mistreated for being 'slobs', 'weirdos', 'fatasses', 'morons', 'hicks' and more.

What made same-sex attraction particularly key was it being recognized as a mental illness. Then again, I'm not sure it's unique in that sense either.

I'm not sure what you'd be looking for with a history of homophobia. Part of that is I don't think 'homophobia' is, for the most part, real. Not unless fatophobia is real too.

Graham Marley said...

Well, for example, I'm from Boston, which, as a city, likes to style itself as a paragon of progressiveness, which is hilarious because it's profoundly racially segregated. But on the immediate outskirts of the city, where you find the natives, there are neighborhoods that have zero religious ties, but if you insinuate that someone is gay, more than a few are willing to knock your ass out for it. For a lot of these guys, it strikes a deeper nerve than just being a fatass or a moron. But yeah, granted, bullying doesn't need a profound set of criteria.

Crude said...


I am not sure how much of that is due to to the attitude towards the orientation, or the intensity of the word. If a person calls someone a fatass, that can be a pretty modest insult. (A lot of guys will just flat out admit it.) If they say someone's a wimp or a pansy, that may be more potent. If they call someone a cocksucker, that's not so much 'I am saying you are a homosexual' as 'I really dislike you and I may want to beat your ass' for many people.

I haven't been to Boston in ages, and last time I was there I spent more time eating sushi rather than calling people faggots, so I don't know what flies there. I imagine false accusations of this or that act, especially one that can impact a reputation, will be more likely to provoke than flat out calling them a name. 'Jerks off to My Little Pony' probably would provoke an assbeating with many too, but I think onanophobia or ponyphobia isn't capturing what's going on there.

Mr. Green said...

Here’s my reaction, for what it’s worth — and it isn’t worth much… I don’t know Prokop, other than from sporadically reading comments at Victor’s site. I went and looked up the post in question, and the tone struck me as the tone of someone saying, “Hey, you live in Townsville?! No kidding — I grew up in Townsville!!!” Then I came back here and saw Bob had posted saying basically he was pleased to be able to put a name to the, er, verbiage. So that fits my mental image of him. Plus, since Bob (presumably) posts under his real name, he (presumably) doesn’t think putting one’s real name out on the Internet is a big deal. Whereas someone like me cannot fathom why anyone wants to attach a picture of himself to his posts, and finds no use, now or forever, for Facespace other than as the butt of jokes. But that’s just me.

Meanwhile, I remain bemused at the claim that less anonymity on the Internet would lead to less rudeness. The world is full of people who have no qualms about being rude to your face; why should the Internet be any different? Sure, some people would no doubt behave better — and “some” people will behave better when they’re not face-to-face, or when they are anonymous. Are there studies that show otherwise to any significant extent?

B. Prokop said...

"Are there studies that show otherwise to any significant extent?"

Not sure if this comes under the category of "study", but have you noticed how good and decent people can, while driving in the semi-anonymity of one's car, behave in manners they wouldn't dream of using if they were to actually know the person they are cursing out or whatever. Road rage is a pure product of removing the human element from our interactions and reducing us to mere machines. (Something atheists really need to ponder, by the way.)

Yes, I do post under my real name. I am not ashamed of my opinions, and in fact would welcome the opportunity to meet in person with several of the folks I interact with over on Dangerous Idea (where I do 99% of my on-line activity).

Unrelated matter: Crude insists on labeling me a "progressive". I am nothing of the sort. For quite some time now I have been resolutely a-political. Yes, I used to be an unabashed partisan Democrat, but that was long ago - and crude knows this. I know he knows this, because he has more than once referred to the day when I swore off politics.

And if you think such a change of heart isn't possible, then I'll have to assume you also doubt the genuineness of St. Paul's conversion. (Not that I am comparing myself to him - just using him as an example of how people can change, and mean it.)

Crude said...

The problem, Bob, and which makes my ability to accept your word hard, is that you also denied ever being an unbiased partisan, ever. You tried to play yourself off as mister unbiased moderate.

B. Prokop said...

"You tried to play yourself off as mister unbiased moderate."

And compared to many, if not most, posters on the web, I was (and am).

Yes, I once enthusiastically backed the Democratic party (no longer), but my genuinely left wing sister-n-law pretty much regarded me as not much different from Mussolini. Meanwhile, two of my siblings accused me of (simultaneously) being a Communist and a Fascist.

The way I see it, when you piss off both extremes, you're probably somewhere in the middle.

But what I am most against is all the demonization. Ilion calls anyone who basically isn't an anarchist an "apologist for mass murderers". Democrats accuse Republicans of being heartless and Republicans accuse Democrats of being baby killers. You yourself accuse progressives of being savages. None of this is helpful. If you can only see people who might disagree with you in the darkest possible terms, how will you ever be able to compromise (which is the essence of successful governance)?

Crude said...

And compared to many, if not most, posters on the web, I was (and am).

Rush Limbaugh is moderate, because some people are further to the right than him.

Yes, I once enthusiastically backed the Democratic party (no longer)

This is precisely what you denied. Remember the whole 'I was joking when I said I loved living in a blue state, I'm totally a moderate' dance?

And that's water under the bridge - I don't give a shit. But when that sort of thing is said, and then THIS sort of thing happens, it doesn't exactly make 'well he's telling the truth' come out as the obvious choice, especially when you decide to blurt out what you think is my RL name in the middle of a conversation where that's completely not the topic.

You yourself accuse progressives of being savages.

Sure do. And when I'm called on it, I can point at things like the Eich firing, and the widespread support it received, to justify that.

If you can only see people who might disagree with you in the darkest possible terms

I don't. I see assholes as assholes. I defend people who disagree with me and who aren't assholes, at least when the charge is 'are they an asshole'.

how will you ever be able to compromise (which is the essence of successful governance)?

Tell me what compromises you're willing to make on 2nd amendment rights that aren't justified as merely a step towards getting what you ultimately want, for all time?

B. Prokop said...

"'I was joking"

But I was - I was indeed... you just failed to see the humor. Admittedly, it may not have been ready-for-standup material, but we're not all professional comedians. So I didn't "kill" out there. Big deal.

Although actually, I do think for many, many reasons that Maryland is the best state in our Union in which to live. And specifically, Baltimore is the greatest city on Earth. Come visit our wonderful city! Walk around Hampton and check out the amazing shops and restaurants there. Head over to Atwaters deli and market up in Belvedere Square. Stroll around Patterson Park (oldest city park in the USA) and take in one of the free concerts by the Pagoda in the summertime. Spend an evening in Fells Point or Canton. Take in a performance at the Meyerhoff, or the Lyric, or Center Stage, or the Hippodrome, or... well, you get the idea.

All that, plus we're home to one of the finest universities on the entire planet (Johns Hopkins) and one of the best hospitals (same place), a world class art gallery (the Walters), Fort McHenry (think Star Spangled Banner), two outstanding sports teams, the most beautiful baseball park on Earth (Camden Yards), ethnic neighborhoods that rival those in New York, the friendliest people anywhere, and the Inner Harbor. We are the home state of John Waters, painted screens, Frank Zappa, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, tire planters, crab feasts, the Visionary Art Museum, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra... and the Orioles!

Outside of Baltimore, Maryland boasts great beaches, amazing wildlife preserves, stunning fall color in our western forests, the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, dark sky parks (for astronomy), inspiring historical sites such as the Antietam Battlefield and the birthplace of Frederick Douglass, and the oldest mountains on the surface of our planet (the Catoctins).

You can keep the other 49 - we Marylanders have every reason to start each day with thanks to the Almighty for the privilege and joy of living here!

Crude said...

But I was - I was indeed... you just failed to see the humor. Admittedly, it may not have been ready-for-standup material, but we're not all professional comedians. So I didn't "kill" out there. Big deal.

When you talk about how great it is that you live in the bluest of the blue states, then later on tell me that you never meant you were a big leftist and loyal Democrat but are in fact some kind of centrist and moderate, and THEN you tell me that you USED to be very left-wing but now you're apolitical, you've engaged in an intellectual path that means you're bullshitting quite a lot.

No, you didn't say you loved living in your deeply blue state because of the beaches.

B. Prokop said...

Are you saying that people cannot grow and develop, and... (gasp) change their minds every now and then? I think and believe a whole lot of things that I did not 10 or 20 years ago. It's called learning. Show me an old quote of mine and I just might say, "Yes, I wrote that once. I don't agree with that any more."

Yes, I used to be a partisan Democrat. But I no longer am. I'm not a partisan anything.

Crude said...

I'm saying that dishonesty doesn't exactly foster trust.

BenYachov said...


That man has changed his mind.

People can do that.

Crude said...

They sure can. It doesn't impact what I've said.