On banning


I started this blog with the intention of moderating it with a very light hand and resisted the urge to ban people, hoping I would never have to do so. But I have decided that I cannot stick to that ideal and have banned the commenter known as StevoR.


His post justifying the throwing of Muslim off planes because they made some non-Muslims uncomfortable, and even suggesting that they fly on separate planes, was simply the last straw. It was raw, unbridled racism and I just couldn’t take it anymore.

This is the first time I have banned someone and I hope I never have to do so again.

In setting the banning settings, I mistakenly sent to the trash any comment that included the word ‘StevoR’. I apologize to those commenters who found their posts disappearing because they were responding to his earlier comments. That error has been corrected and their comments salvaged and restored.

Comments

  1. says

    No, you will regret it, because now he’s going to be sending you periodic emails whining and begging you to lift the ban. He’ll also continue to try and post, and his comments will pile up in your spam/trash queue.

    At least, that’s been my experience. I finally had to block him in email, too, because he was just too annoying.

    And the funny thing is, he’ll insist over and over again that he’s not racist at all, no sir.

  2. Mano Singham says

    PZ@#3,

    How prescient of you! The first of such pleading emails has already arrived and contains pretty much what you said it would.

  3. Holms says

    Sadly, this will not prompt anything resembling introspection, but will instead cement this blog as beeing irredeemably pro-terrorist or similar. Nothing will be learned.

  4. Johnny Vector says

    Yay, now I will be able to read the comment threads on posts that mention Israel! And, y’know, I don’t have a solution for the problems there, but when every such thread instantly devolves into multiple drunken* posts insisting that he is not a racist , that doesn’t leave much room for the numerator of the S/N ratio.

    *Apparently, and sometimes admittedly.

  5. says

    Dang it. Now who’s going to stand up for the right of innocent Israelis to bulldoze the homes of evil Palestinians and then blame the Palestinians for fighting back?

  6. Randall Lee says

    Mano, on the Southwest Airline post you wrote, “StevoR @3,
    That’s it. I’ve had enough. Your racism is really disgusting. I simply cannot tolerate it any more.
    You are banned from my site. Find some other place to peddle your anti-Muslim bile.”
    .
    First when did Muslims become a race? Bigotry? Possibly. Racism, no way.
    There have been many on this site and elsewhere that have pointed out the barbaric beliefs, claims and absurdities of the Jewish and Christian deity. Many have expressed what could rightly be described as anti-Christian and/or anti-Jewish bile, but they were not banned. I wonder from where does the root of your Muslim sympathies arise. I believe I recall that you were Muslim before becoming Atheist, but that could just be a coincidence.
    Also I was under the impression that you were foreign born and became a naturalized citizen. If that is the case then you have a inherently special legal duty to maintain your oath to the Constitution. That oath was as follows:
    .
    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
    .
    Now the Constitutional principle primarily at issue here is the First Amendment right to free expression. The duty to provide this protection initially applies to the government and government actors. But it also anyone who has taken the oath. If you were to renounce the oath at this juncture, what effect would that have on your legal status? But I have digressed.
    The expression of ideas that are acceptable to everyone have no need of protection. Only those that some people find repugnant are rightful subjects of protection.
    Though I disagree with StevoR and many others on this site, and I am sure that many disagree with me also, I would never support that their posts be banned. Let the better ideas rise and the worse fall. In time the processes of persuasion will operate to the benefit of all.
    .
    You may choose to ban me now for coming to the defense of StevoR right to be what appears a bigot toward particular religious people, or ban me in the future if I should defend another’s right to be a racist, or a communist, or even an Atheist though I would not join their ranks I would still defend their right to be what they choose as long as they do not attempt to violently compel me, by law or otherwise, to conform to their ideas.
    Banning, or the threat of being banned, has the psychological effect on many people causing them to conform with the politically correct norm or remain silent. But banning speech violates the principles of the first Amendment, and I will never engage in its support.
    .
    I would hope that having taken the Oath (if that is the case) you would join me in this position.

  7. doublereed says

    @10

    Dafuq are you talking about? Even reddit, that hotspot of frozen peaches, have subreddit moderators and such sitewide policies that ban people for various reasons. Hell, I can’t think of an online forum that doesn’t ban people at all. Perhaps you simply need introduction to the internet? That’s a complete and total misunderstanding of the principle of free speech and the 1st Amendment. If this was my blog, I’d ban you for the sheer mind-numbing idiocy of your comment.

    This is Mano’s blog, and frankly his patience with StevoR and slc was saintlike (although slc seemed to have left of his own accord).

  8. Johnny Vector says

    Oh look, another person who doesn’t understand to whom the first amendment applies.

    Randall Lee @10, this is Dr. Singham’s space; he is free to organize it as he sees fit. The first amendment does not apply. Further, if you think StevoR is banned because of one post, you really should go back into the hole you crawled out of. Every article about Israel that Dr. Singham posts is immediately overwhelmed by dozens of comments from StevoR, which always start out defending Israel’s right to do anything it wants, and rapidly switch to denying that he has ever said things that are in print just 5 comments earlier. It makes it utterly impossible to have a conversation. As far as I’m concerned, it’s long past time to make this a place where we can discuss such things in a rational way.

    Finally, your comment about this not being racism because it’s just about the man’s religion. Think about this: how did the lady complaining about him know his religion?

  9. Mano Singham says

    Randall Lee @#10,

    You have a truly strange idea of what the constitution requires of immigrant citizens. Show me a single legal case that has been adjudicated along the lines you suggest.

    However, I admit that bigotry would have been a better word than racism but the label is immaterial since it was the sentiment that triggered the ban

  10. Randall Lee says

    Mano, if there isn’t any cases there should have been. Otherwise what is the purpose of the oath?

  11. Randall Lee says

    There should be cases brought by the people against every public servant that violates their oath. Until the Constitution is lawfully amended by the people it should be followed, otherwise we become a nation of men as opposed to a nation of laws.
    .
    Noticibly however is the absence of any statute allowing such actions to be brought.
    .
    How convenient for those who take the oath routinely never taking their own promises seriously.

  12. Randall Lee says

    First of all doublereed, those who have taken an oath to the constitution are held to a much higher legal.standard.
    .
    But all Americans who cherish protection by the government based upon the First Amendment, should extend the same protection to others.
    .
    If I open the doors of my house to the public, I shouldn’t be allowed to complain about their remarks.
    If this is a members only forum, then the private membership requirements need to be posted.
    If the comment section is a private arena then there should be explicit terms set forth as grounds for banning. Maybe I missed them.

  13. Holms says

    The purpose? Jingoism, same as the the daily invocation kids are pressured into reciting every single school day.

    And to add to the others on the topic of the first amendment, it applies to the government. The govermnemt of America may not infring upon the right to freely express political views, even if those views are repugnant. This blog however is not an arm of the government, but rather the personal space of Mano Singham; hence it is at his discretion that people comment here at all.

    Regarding the idea that all ideas should be permitted on a private blog and may the better ones win out, bear in mind that the arguments with StevoR have continued for a good three years or so. There is no convincing the committed ideologue, you need only peruse a handful of the arguments to see that we routinely point out his numerous logical fallacies to no avail. This was a long time coming.

    Also, I was under the impression that Mano was christian before he became an atheist, but I can’t remember where I read that.

  14. says

    Oh my, the crap new American citizens would have to put up with if they had to follow Randall Lee’s bizarre and unrealistic reading of that oath.

    Now the Constitutional principle primarily at issue here is the First Amendment right to free expression. The duty to provide this protection initially applies to the government and government actors. But it also anyone who has taken the oath.

    That is so out of touch with reality. Does Randall go up to immigrants and rant in their face, telling them they have “inherently special legal duty to maintain [their] oath” by putting up with him, and if they tell him to shut up they are essentially renouncing their new citizenship?

  15. Mano Singham says

    @#15,

    The absence of any cases suggests to me that the oath does not mean what you think it means since it is highly unlikely that I am the first person to take this kind of step.

  16. Nick Gotts says

    I forsee that Randall Lee will swiftly become both as logorrheic and as annoying as StevoR, although in his case through sheer bladder-headed stupidity rather than stinking bigotry.

  17. Nick Gotts says

    Does Randall go up to immigrants and rant in their face, telling them they have “inherently special legal duty to maintain [their] oath” by putting up with him, and if they tell him to shut up they are essentially renouncing their new citizenship? – Tabby Lavalamp@15

    I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.

  18. Randall Lee says

    Johnny Vector, the First Amendment protections apply to us all, in different ways.
    Who is the government in this country? If we haven’t been lied to then ‘we the people’ are the government.
    .
    But if we expect our agents, our servants in governmental to conduct their affairs in a particular manner, then let’s not be hypocritical by refusing to conduct ourselves in the same way.
    .
    Anyone who pledges allegiance to the republic has pledged allegiance to the principles of the republic, including allowing others to engage in repugnant speech. This is the inevitable outcome of liberty.

  19. Seth says

    Who wants to lay the odds that this verbose motherfucker is actually StevoR himself?

    By the way, the idea that “support[ing] and defend[ing] the Constitution” means that its provisions somehow apply to one’s own private space is just about the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. In fact, it’s downright incoherent, since forcing a free citizen to tacitly support a viewpoint expressed by another free citizen, with which the host does not agree, rises to a violation of several clauses of the Constitution of the United States of America. See the recent Hobby Lobby decision if you disagree, and feel free to fuck some of those offs you’ve been neglecting lately, while you’re at it.

  20. says

    Randall Lee – nobody is not allowing other to engage in repugnant speech. What they are doing is refusing to provide a platform for that speech.

    But why am I wasting my time? You have a bizarre, twisted vision of what “free speech” is and who is compelled to do what in the name of “free speech”. We can argue with you until we’re blue in the face and you’re not going to change your mind.

  21. Randall Lee says

    Mano, you are certainly empowered to do as you see fit, seeing you control the comment board.
    .
    IMO however, if there are subjects or positions that you find so repulsive as to constitute grounds to ban the poster, would you please either list those subjects or positions publicly or give notice on an individual basis as those subjects or positions arise.

  22. says

    Anyone who pledges allegiance to the republic has pledged allegiance to the principles of the republic

    1) It’s a compulsory oath, so it’s not worth anything.
    2) The state is an emergent property of its citizens. Particularly in a democracy or a republic, both of which the US claims to be. Government by the consent of the governed* implies you’re just swearing loyalty to yourself.
    3) As the legitimacy of the state is open to question; there is nothing to swear allegiance to.

    This “Randall Lee” is not a commenter I am familiar with. Is this just another pseudonym for SteveOr?

    (* Not that the US actually governs with consent of the governed; it never has. The state is illegitimate.)

  23. Henry Gale says

    @Randall re: #10

    I believe Dr Singham was a Methodist prior to coming to the light.

  24. Johnny Vector says

    Yeah, it appears Randall Lee is one of those “all government is communism” types. Whether they identify as libertarian or anarchist, or whether they understand the difference, is yet to be determined. “Incapable of making a coherent argument”, on the other hand, is pretty well settled by a look through their recent postings. Along with “not someone I’d want to be in the same room with.”

  25. Holms says

    #23 Randall Lee
    Johnny Vector, the First Amendment protections apply to us all, in different ways.
    Who is the government in this country? If we haven’t been lied to then ‘we the people’ are the government.

    Dear god, that’s precious.

    #25 Seth
    Who wants to lay the odds that this verbose motherfucker is actually StevoR himself?

    I have no evidence either way, but I’m quite certain it ain’t him. Too grammatically clean, no ‘unedited stream of consciousness’ vibe, and a completely different obsession never before seen in StevoR.

    #27 Randall Lee
    IMO however, if there are subjects or positions that you find so repulsive as to constitute grounds to ban the poster, would you please either list those subjects or positions publicly or give notice on an individual basis as those subjects or positions arise.

    He very clearly identified the reason for the ban in this instance: bigotry.

  26. Randall Lee says

    Mano, it appears your comment section friends have come out like attack dogs against me.
    I assure them all, I am not StevoR. I am not a defender of the violent actions of the Communist/Zionist state of Israel or any other State.

  27. Randall Lee says

    Marcus Ranum says
    “Anyone who pledges allegiance to the republic has pledged allegiance to the principles of the republic
    1) It’s a compulsory oath, so it’s not worth anything.
    3) As the legitimacy of the state is open to question; there is nothing to swear allegiance to.”
    .
    1) There are no compulsory oaths. It is a condition of their request to immigrate. No one compels them to come here. Did somebody hold a gun to their head? Nope.
    3) Those, persons of age, who swear allegiance to the state implicitly swear to its legitimacy and their belief in the same.

  28. blf says

    Another one who thinks leftover1under@7 summarized it brilliantly:

    That it took years says a lot about Mano’s patience.
    That it happened says a lot about StevoR’s behaviour.

  29. doublereed says

    Arguing that banning a person from a comment section is a violation of the oath is so absurd and idiotic that I sincerely doubt a person could honestly believe it. Not only that, but his attitude would require him to be completely nonfunctional in basically any internet space whatsoever, because they all have moderation in one way or another. Does he whine about this literally everywhere? Obviously not. He’s clearly not being genuine.

    Randall’s a troll.

  30. Mano Singham says

    Randall Lee:
    @#10,

    Not that I think it is relevant but I used to be an ordained Methodist lay minister before I became an atheist, something I have discussed before on this blog.

    @#27,

    Why do you say that I am now empowered to do as I see fit, considering that earlier you had said that I was violating the oath if I did so?

    Also, regarding your request that “if there are subjects or positions that you find so repulsive as to constitute grounds to ban the poster, would you please either list those subjects or positions publicly or give notice on an individual basis as those subjects or positions arise”, the answer is no, I feel no such obligation to list such subjects. I may, if I choose, give a warning.

    People are not entitled to post comments here, they are allowed to do so. You may recall that the first time you posted, I had to authorize it. That gives you permission to enter and use this space. I use my judgment as to what is offensive and worth banning.

    Think of this blog as my home where I allow people to wander in and talk, or better yet as a publication of which I am the editor, but reserve the right to ask someone to leave if I find their presence offensive. I feel no obligation to give people a list of what they can and cannot say and can or cannot do at the moment they enter, nor do I feel that I have to submit to any kind of arbitration proceeding to justify my actions. I think I have the right to exercise my judgment.

    If people find it irksome to be here because they think I am high-handed, capricious, and arbitrary and are not sure if and when they are likely to be thrown out, they are free to leave of their own accord.

  31. rpjohnston says

    randall lee

    If this is a members only forum, then the private membership requirements need to be posted.

    private membership requirements of almost any privately-owned forum or discussion place ever: “don’t piss of the owner”. also, “the owner can do whatever they want, including ban you because your face is stupid, then make a novella-length post hacking you to little bits, and you can’t do crap about it because no one owes you a single damn thing.” Back when I moderated a forum for a MMO fansite I would have canned your ass for that comment alone, and I was one of the more lenient mods. You’d get about 5 messages on MSN before I blocked you there too, and then you’d just have to whine at your teddy bear about how people were mean to you on the internet.

    if you really wanna go full pissbaby on this: banning stevor is a form of speech on mano’s part, roughly translating to “gtfo”. randall lee, stop impeding mano’s freedom to freely say gtfo!

  32. Randall Lee says

    Holms says, “He very clearly identified the reason for the ban in this instance: bigotry.”

    Mano initially mis-stated racism as the cause and later admitted it was bigotry. But even the reason of bigotry was given after the boot off the comment platform.
    .
    Where was any prior notice given to StevoR, or anyone else, that if Mano reaches the conclusion that a commentor’s posts are racist or bigotrous he would be booted? We all know now, after the fact, that booting will likely occur.
    .
    I realize Mano doesn’t have to give notice but the well accepted principle of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto’ you does come to mind.
    .
    Everyone, please know I fight not for StevoR, as I have disagreed with him in the past, but for the principle of ‘ uninhibited free speech’, where specific notice has not been given as to what positions are allowed on a particular platform.
    .
    Mano allows uninhibited and vulgar name calling all the time. Isn’t that an allowance of expressed bigotry? See Merriam Webster, “Bigot- a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.”
    .
    Arguments should always rest upon their logical foundations and the empirical facts that underpin them, and not be pressured by sophomoric name calling. Posts 21 and 25 above are examples.

  33. says

    lefterover1under @41

    I did a search for previous comments and am convinced that ze isn’t a sock puppet of StevoR’s. Ze is a bigot, for sure, but zir bigotry lies elsewhere.

  34. Silentbob says

    @ 40 Randall Lee

    Where was any prior notice given to StevoR, or anyone else, that if Mano reaches the conclusion that a commentor’s [sic] posts are racist or bigotrous [sic] he would be booted?

    Yes. StevoR had many warnings over the years. It’s foolish of you to assume otherwise.

  35. Silentbob says

    It’s not StevoR. Those two disagreed prior to StevoR’s banning, and anyway the style (if not the ridiculousness) is completely different.

  36. In general says

    Randall Lee @#10,

    I find religion in general, and Islam in particular, to be silly and even harmful. But people have rights that I think need to be defended however silly or even objectionable their beliefs and at least in the US, it is Muslims who are likely to be the subject of random harassment because of what they believe as opposed to what they do.

    It is for the same reason that I highlight the appalling treatment that black and Hispanic and poor and gay and transsexual people receive though I do not belong to any of those groups. It is because they are the ones whose rights are most likely to be violated.

  37. Sam N says

    Randall, you will find most of this blog’s readership not giving much of a shit about ‘uninhibited free speech’, whatever that invented term means. While I, and I’m sure Mano, and many others are quite committed to free speech, what you’re talking about has nothing to do with that.

    I like Mano’s blog, I read it, rarely I post. StevoR made one of many awful comments and Mano didn’t want his blog used as a platform by StevoR anymore. This blog isn’t for uninhibited discourse, it’s for whatever Mano pleases it to be. And I don’t see how placing the onerous condition on Mano to foresee anything that might make him want to ban someone will improve this blog. It seems like it would just take up a lot of Mano’s time that I’d prefer he use to post blog items. If you don’t like it, may I suggest that you choose to not participate and put your energy elsewhere.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Mano.
    It’s a shame. I agree with your OP entirely. You have my sympathies.

  39. Lofty says

    Thank goodness Steve Oar is gone, it’ll save me having to scroll past his incoherent dribbles of caustic bigotry. The fact that he probably lives within 30 miles of me was a horrible thought too. Anyway, thank you Mano for pulling the pin on him.

  40. Randall Lee says

    Mano writes, “Why do you say that I am now empowered to do as I see fit, considering that earlier you had said that I was violating the oath if I did so?”
    ,
    Having power to do something and having the right to do it are two different things.
    Police have the power to taze or shoot anyone they stop, but most sensible people would agree that if they did so they would be violating their oath and violating the civil rights of those persons.
    In your position, having taken an oath to the Constitution to protect its principles against all enemies foreign and domestic, you would in principle be violating your allegiance to the Principles of the Constitution should you exercise the power to inhibit anyone’s free speech without first laying down the terms and giving notice that by entering your private space, positions on certain topics will not be tolerated. And even in that private space your position would not be consistent with the principles you had sworn to maintain.
    .
    Alternatively, if you were a Senator or Congressman, for instance, and a bill came before you that would effectively operate to change the substance of the Constitution, should you vote in favor of such a referendum you would be actively modifying principles to which you had sworn to maintain.
    .
    If the people at large who have not sworn an oath to the Constitution see fit to amend the same, they are at liberty to do so. Those who have sworn to maintain its principles are not at the same liberty if their oath is taken seriously. But again I digress.

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And, y’know, I don’t have a solution for the problems there

    I have a solution. Two in fact.

    1- One state solution. Israel is now a secular democracy with no special rights for Jews.

    2- Two state solution according to the usual rhetoric, which requires Israel to knock off the illegal settlement building, etc etc.

    The difficulty isn’t determining what the solution should look like. The problem is getting the people in power to actually agree to it.

  42. says

    In your position, having taken an oath to the Constitution to protect its principles against all enemies foreign and domestic, you would in principle be violating your allegiance to the Principles of the Constitution should you exercise the power to inhibit anyone’s free speech without first laying down the terms and giving notice that by entering your private space, positions on certain topics will not be tolerated.

    No. No.

    Nooooooooooo.

    No.

    That’s wrong. Just so many layers wrong. In every way wrong. A complete misunderstanding of everything you’re talking about wrong.

    I just looked up “wrong” in the dictionary and it just said “See: Randall Lee.”

    Schools are still using check marks for correct answers, but wrong answers now get the notation “You Randall Lee’ed this soooo bad.”

  43. chigau (違う) says

    Is there anyone here, besides Randall Lee, who doesn’t know why StevoR was banned?

  44. says

    It’s like the internet abhors a vacuum, or something.

    We had Colnago/SLC for a year or two and then when he left SteveOr stepped up to the plate. Now that SteveOr has finally made his presence unbearable to our host (something even Colnago couldn’t manage, with his gleeful suggestions of using nukes on civilians) the internet serves us up a new dish of flounder. And, what’s worse, a flounder that seems to think it’s a genius about political philosophy. This isn’t going to be fun, like pulling the wings off flies would be, it’s going to be tedious. He’s already complained that we’re ganging up on him.

    Hey, if you wander onto a blog and instantly everyone is ganging up on you, the odds are best that you’re being a jerk. Even if you went to some weirdo racist/hater site and started getting “ganged up on” it’s probably because you’re being a jerk (in their terms).. Here’s a clue: is anyone defending you at all? And if not, why not? Our host appears to be tolerating you. That says nice things about him; not so nice about you.

  45. DonDueed says

    Looks like Randall Lee is angling to become the second person banned on Mano’s blog. I wonder if he or she has some money riding on it.

  46. RDub says

    So according to “Randall Lee,” naturalized citizens cannot moderate their blogs and ban racists from the comments; but of course “natural born” citizens who never had to recite an oath of allegiance can moderate and ban away. What bigoted nonsense–and oddly specific nonsense at that. I bet “Randall” has a long list of things naturalized citizens shouldn’t be able to do, but “natural born” citizens can.

  47. Randall Lee says

    Don, its not my intent to engage in “angling” to be “banned”.
    .
    I am just not one who cowers to power where principles that are dear to me are involved. And though it has never become necessary for me to take an oath to maintain the principles of the Constitution, I still accept the obligation to work to maintain the principle of uninhibited free speech even in my private space. I do not have the right to control the speech of another, and neither does another have the right to inhibit my expression. I have the right to ignore it, disagree or agree with it, but never inhibit it. Neither StevoR nor myself have ever compelled anyone to converse with us. We only expressed our diversity.
    .
    No one here was ever under obligation to take issue with any thing we ever said, and were free to ignore it. In my case, what I have experienced again and again has been an often resort to name calling. It is very sad when those who believe themselves to be adults will do that.
    .
    If you are curious as to where I am coming from then watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVDkkOAOtV0
    for starters and you may receive some insight.

  48. patrick2 says

    Randall Lee #17

    If I open the doors of my house to the public, I shouldn’t be allowed to complain about their remarks.
    If this is a members only forum, then the private membership requirements need to be posted.
    If the comment section is a private arena then there should be explicit terms set forth as grounds for banning.

    If that’s your main complaint, just say that.

    But stop with this laughable idea that banning a commenter violates Mano’s oath to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. If there’s no case law backing up your interpretation of that oath, then you’ve got nothing but your own eccentric ideas to go on.

  49. Holms says

    #40 RL
    Mano initially mis-stated racism as the cause and later admitted it was bigotry. But even the reason of bigotry was given after the boot off the comment platform.
    .
    Where was any prior notice given to StevoR, or anyone else, that if Mano reaches the conclusion that a commentor’s posts are racist or bigotrous he would be booted? We all know now, after the fact, that booting will likely occur.

    You are new here, do not presume to know the history behind the conversation. This has been an argument running for some three or more years.

    I realize Mano doesn’t have to give notice but the well accepted principle of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto’ you does come to mind.

    So if StevoR has a blog somewhere, he can kick Mano off it whenever he wants. Done.

    And note that you have backed off from your eralier, stronger sentiment that Mano was breaking his (ridiculous) oath by banning anyone at all.

    Mano allows uninhibited and vulgar name calling all the time. Isn’t that an allowance of expressed bigotry? See Merriam Webster, “Bigot- a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc.”
    .
    Arguments should always rest upon their logical foundations and the empirical facts that underpin them, and not be pressured by sophomoric name calling. Posts 21 and 25 above are examples.

    I highlighted a key word for you. Simple name calling is not bigotry, arguing that arabic looking people shoul’d be segregated when flying most certainly is.
    ____________

    #49 Lofty
    Yes, I dread the thought that I may have met him without knowing it.
    ____________

    #50 RL
    Alternatively, if you were a Senator or Congressman, for instance, and a bill came before you that would effectively operate to change the substance of the Constitution, should you vote in favor of such a referendum you would be actively modifying principles to which you had sworn to maintain.

    Wow, setting aside how utterly irrelevant this is to the situation at hand, you’re saying that that oath precludes one from ever voting to change the constitution? Amazing.

  50. patrick2 says

    Regarding SteveoR, I see in his final comment that he argued for a full-on apartheid system on airlines. Amazing, from someone who always insisted that he was a ‘progressive’.

  51. Silentbob says

    @ 60 patrick2

    It doesn’t count! It’s only apartheid if it’s in South Africa.

    (/sarcasm)

  52. Dunc says

    If I open the doors of my house to the public, I shouldn’t be allowed to complain about their remarks.

    That’s absurd. Have you ever encountered a phrase along the lines of “management reserves the right to refuse admission”? Operators of private venues open to the public have very broad latitude to refuse admission or to require patrons to leave.

    Try it out: go to a bar, start abusing the staff or other customers, or otherwise causing trouble, and see how it takes you to get thrown out. Would you really argue that that somehow represents an infringement of your First Amendment rights?

  53. Nick Gotts says

    Arguing that banning a person from a comment section is a violation of the oath is so absurd and idiotic that I sincerely doubt a person could honestly believe it. – doublereed@37

    A brief acquaintance with him here has convinced me that there is literally nothing so absurd and idiotic that Randall Lee is incapable of believing it.

    But in response to others, I don’t see how anyone could possibly think he’s StevoR. For one thing, the latter clearly lacks the intelligence to adopt an entirely different (although at least equally stupid and annoying) persona.

  54. Nick Gotts says

    Tabby Lavalamp@29,

    Thanks for that link, which does indeed confirm that Randall Lee is a bigot as well as a lackwit.

  55. Silentbob says

    @ 63 John Morales

    It was a similar story on Pharyngula as I recall, and I expect you do too. StevoR was an annoyance for at least a couple of years, I think, receiving many warnings from PZ (and former co-blogger Chris Clarke). PZ’s patience finally ran out and he dropped the banhammer when StevoR came out in support of torture (of Muslims, naturally).

  56. doublereed says

    He’s either a troll or a wackadoodle crank. Either way, I don’t think it’s worthwhile trying to engage or understand his bizarre ideas.

  57. says

    If Randall is worried about StevoR’s free speech being severely curtailed, no need. He’s still commenting on other blogs on the network, one of which is keeping my replies calling out his hypocrisy in moderation. And here’s the thing… That’s fine. The blog owner is under no compunction to let my comments out of moderation. My free speech is under no assault as I have no right to have my comments published there.

  58. karmacat says

    I suggest we all go to Randall Lee’s house and insist on her 1st amendment rights. If he throws us out, we can then say, “bad, Randall, bad.”

  59. Doug Little says

    I kinda mumbled through that oath bit when I became a citizen and the Judge was looking straight at me OMG. You would think I would have been removed immediately from the court room if it wasn’t you know, kinda ceremonial. You know what impressed me the most about becoming a citizen, the Judge’s ability to pronounce everybody’s name, shake their hand and be enthusiastic about it. I’m sure your run of the mill bigot would have nightmares about such a thing. There were 88 of us that day, mostly from the middle east with a lot of women wearing headscarves, it was awesome.

  60. mnb0 says

    Well, I always skipped Stevo’s comments anyway. Fortunately I now have Randall Lee’s comments to skip.

  61. Piss Off says

    As you deleted it, I have no idea what SteveO said, but since you deleted it, I see no reason to believe anything he said was offensive.

    Regardless, according to Slate

    Southwest Airlines says the person who alerted them to the speaker was xyrself a speaker of Arabic.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/04/19/southwest_says_controversial_passenger_also_speaks_arabic.html

    All of which DOES show it is quite likely Mano that you have jumped to conclusions here and supports my position that your deletion of SteveO’s comment HURTS your claim what he said was offensive.

  62. Mano Singham says

    Piss Off @#74,

    I did not delete StevoR’s post. I link to it in my original post above.

    The original Southwest incident is not what is at issue in the banning. It was StevoR’s idea that not only is summarily kicking Muslims off planes acceptable, and that the feelings of non-Muslims take priority over the rights of Muslims, so is requiring that they fly on separate planes.

  63. Piss Off says

    Apologies for thinking, saying you had deleted SteveoR’s post, for whatever reason, I did not see it, or recognize it.

    > The original Southwest incident is not what is at issue in the banning.

    No, but it is what is at issue with that post and perhaps many of your posts.
    Slate’s article shows it likely Mano that you have jumped to conclusions here.

    Perhaps you should ban yourself for your own literal non-sense just as you banned SteveoR’s for his nonsense.

    See also: “Garbage in, garbage out” and “Vacuous truth”.

  64. Mano Singham says

    Piss Off @#77,

    There is a not-so-subtle difference between nonsense and rank bigotry.

    StevoR said that not only is summarily kicking Muslims off planes acceptable, that mere feelings of discomfort of non-Muslims take priority over the rights of Muslims, and recommended that Muslims even be required to fly on separate planes, though how that bizarre rule would be enforced is unclear.

    That kind of thinking seems to come from a well of bigotry that is even deeper and murkier than the swamps occupied by Fox News.

  65. Randall Lee says

    Doug Little says, “I kinda mumbled through that oath bit when I became a citizen and the Judge was looking straight at me OMG. You would think I would have been removed immediately from the court room if it wasn’t you know, kinda ceremonial.”
    .
    If the oath is merely ceremonial then when we take an oath to tell the truth in court, or during any other legal proceeding or upon any other legal documentation, we should be able to claim that is merely ceremonial.
    .
    There are many who have died preserving their oath who wouldn’t likely take kindly to your belief that it is merely ceremonial.
    .
    You guys refuse to accept the plain meaning and ramifications of the word “oath”. (except when you want to) Try telling the IRS that your oath was merely ceremonial. Oh! but you wouldn’t have to do that; that’s one of those times it was a real oath, right?

  66. Mano Singham says

    Randall Lee,

    When you say “You guys refuse to accept the plain meaning and ramifications of the word “oath” ” are you still going on about how my banning someone from this site violates the oath of citizenship I took?

    Don’t you think it is a little odd that the Immigration and Naturalization Service isn’t rounding up people like me, stripping us of our citizenship, and deporting us for this violation?

    Don’t you think that it is also odd that no one has ever won your argument in court?

    Has anyone even tried to advance your argument in court?

    Have any scholars published an article advancing such views in a legal journal as even a purely academic exercise?

    In the absence of such support, could it be that it is your view of the oath that is simply wrong?

  67. Randall Lee says

    karmacat says “I suggest we all go to Randall Lee’s house and insist on her 1st amendment rights. If he throws us out, we can then say, “bad, Randall, bad.””
    .
    You would be welcome to say anything, or hold any position, you chose to hold or say in my house, subject to the limitations set out below.
    .
    Because I believe in the PRINCIPLE of free speech I don’t consider my house a venue where the PRINCIPLE should be disregarded. Just because another person’s opinion is repugnant to me doesn’t give me the right to ignore the Principle, although I might have the power.
    .
    I do want to make clear however that the PRINCIPLE of free speech does not include the right to verbally assault or threaten another. This is why one cannot cry Fire! in a crowded theater; or threaten to harm another, for two examples.
    .
    As repugnant as many of StevoR ideas were he was still within his rights to express his views.

  68. Mano Singham says

    “As repugnant as many of StevoR ideas were he was still within his rights to express his views.”

    And he has not been denied that right, has he? He has just been denied the right to use this platform. If a newspaper rejects a letter to the editor, are they denying the letter writer his free speech rights?

  69. Randall Lee says

    (1)Mano writes, “Randall Lee,
    When you say “You guys refuse to accept the plain meaning and ramifications of the word “oath” ” are you still going on about how my banning someone from this site violates the oath of citizenship I took?”
    I am saying that in PRINCIPLE you have. I explained this distinction in post 81 above.
    .
    (2)Mano says, “Don’t you think it is a little odd that the Immigration and Naturalization Service isn’t rounding up people like me, stripping us of our citizenship, and deporting us for this violation?” No. The Principle of free expression is not really important to that agency or any other arm of the government except in cases where they can advance some particular policy agenda.
    .
    (3) Mano says, “Don’t you think that it is also odd that no one has ever won your argument in court?” Not really, for the same reasons as question 2 above.
    .
    (4) “Has anyone even tried to advance your argument in court?”
    Don’t know. But if they did they probably didn’t get far seeing the courts aren’t that interested in preserving all our rights.

    (5)”Have any scholars published an article advancing such views in a legal journal as even a purely academic exercise?”
    Many have produced articles denoting the distinction between having the right to express repugnant viewpoints juxtaposed against the lack of any right to incite violence, riot, harm, or assault or threaten another verbally. This is still the common law today. If StevoR engaged in any of these acts then I would agree that he could be banned for that. But that wasn’t your reason and neither was any evidence of that pointed out.
    .
    (6)In the absence of such support, could it be that it is your view of the oath that is simply wrong?”
    I don’t think support is absent for the distinction I am pointing out here, and better explained in post 81 above.

  70. Randall Lee says

    Mano quoting me states “As repugnant as many of StevoR ideas were he was still within his rights to express his views.” and then Mano continues to say ” And he has not been denied that right, has he?”
    .
    Yes he has been denied his right to continue expressing his viewpoints here.
    .
    Mano says “He has just been denied the right to use this platform. If a newspaper rejects a letter to the editor, are they denying the letter writer his free speech rights?”
    .
    He is initially being denied this platform as a space of free expression to defend himself on this issue.
    .
    But your analogy with the Newspaper is misplaced due to the fact that they have limited space requirements and their reasons for rejection are not plainly expressed as refusing to allow a particular viewpoint to be heard, as your reasons were.
    ..
    You have done the same thing the government does when they establish what they call “free speech zones” by telling StevoR to move along and express himself elsewhere, in what you would consider another platform/Zone where he is free to express his repugnant ideas.

  71. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yes he has been denied his right to continue expressing his viewpoints here.

    Correct.

    He is initially being denied this platform as a space of free expression to defend himself on this issue.

    Also correct.

    You have done the same thing the government does when they establish what they call “free speech zones” by telling StevoR to move along and express himself elsewhere, in what you would consider another platform/Zone where he is free to express his repugnant ideas.

    Incorrect. “Free speech zones” are the government restricting the ability to protest on public land, in public spaces. Mano is restricting the ability of a particular person to protest on an entirely private space. The difference is one of public spaces vs private spaces. Again, you should read the following xkcd on free speech:
    https://xkcd.com/1357/

  72. Randall Lee says

    Enlightenment Liberal says, “Mano is restricting the ability of a particular person to protest on an entirely private space.”

    EL, you should know that there is nothing on the web that is “entirely private space”.
    This blog is open to public readership and the fact that Mano moderates the comment section by initially allowing commenters to post is merely his way of opening that door to the public. The fact that he allows the public an accommodation to post here does away with the idea that this space/platform is entirely private. Quasi private, yes. Entirely private, nope.
    .
    If I open the door of my home to the public, it is no longer entirely private. At the moment I open it to the public, there is an implicit requirement that I recognize that my home then becomes much like a public playground, where speech is the merry-go-round of choice.
    .
    If I am to appear fair to all then I need to grant uninhibited free speech rights to all. To be fair, there should be no taboo positions, unless I have publicly posted beforehand the fact that certain ideas and positions will not be allowed to be held or taken by a poster. All positions should be open to vigorous debate and no one should be penalized for having held the same.
    If I went to a religious website, and were to discover that no atheist positions were allowed to be there, I would consider that very narrow minded. I could understand why someone religious might think all atheists are devilish but that would not excuse their narrow mindedness. If all they are looking for is more members of a choir to clap and say Amen, then they should be more open to that fact.
    .
    I don’t think that is the case with the Professor. I just think he, and others here, have made a grave mistake in the application of the principle of free speech.

  73. John Morales says

    Randall Lee:

    I just think he, and others here, have made a grave mistake in the application of the principle of free speech.

    Clearly, you alone think that, and you have expressed and argued that thought to an extensive degree. Every other commenter both disagrees with you and finds your arguments unconvincing.

    What you have actually demonstrated is that our host is rather tolerant, and evidently has not merely tolerated your criticism, but actually engaged you civilly and directly. In short, you’ve been featured, rather than silenced.

    (Reality runs counter to your thesis’ implication, no?)

    PS Did you bother to peruse the reference I provided you (@64)?
    It provides a great deal of information and context.

  74. sonofrojblake says

    English comprehension fail. Newsflash, Randall Lee: some words can have more than one meaning.
    My favourite one is “set” – think for a moment just how many meanings those three letters can have.
    “Public” is another.
    The road through the middle of the town where I live is “public”, in the sense that it belongs to all of us, is paid for by all of us through taxes, and (except for certain special circumstances e.g. emergencies) people cannot be prevented from passing through there or saying pretty much anything there.
    The White Bull, where I went to for dinner last night, is also “public”, in the sense that you don’t have to be a member to enter, you just book a table and turn up – anyone can go in. But I don’t own it, or any part of it, and nor does anyone else who lives anywhere near it – it’s not “public” in that sense. I didn’t pay for any of the expenses of setting it up, and until I had a meal there, I didn’t contribute in any way to its maintenance – it’s not “public” in that sense. The people who do own it could legitimately decide, when I turn up, that they don’t like the look of me, and refuse to serve me. I have no right, per se, to be served or even to enter there – it’s not “public” in that sense. My rights, such as they are, extend only to things like the management can’t turn me away because I’m black, or gay, for instance. But they can stipulate, for instance, “no trainers”, or “jacket and tie required”, and if I don’t like those rules, well, I need to go and eat somewhere else.

    Most people have no difficulty distinguishing between these two distinct meanings of the word “public”.

  75. sonofrojblake says

    (Aside: I’m in the UK. My first boss went to a public school (Harrow). What that means in practice is that it’s… a private school. To people in the UK, this makes perfect sense. Feel free to be confused about that one.)

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