Just Like Old Times
My friend Michael Totten got accused in the comments section of his blog of being a front
. The evidence given is that his name was "too normal" and that his views contrasted too strongly with the Left. The accuser tried to pawn off his libel as "honest inquiry" and what was more chilling was that somebody else supported this "inquiry". When I posted that I had known him for years, worked with him, knew his family, talked with him through any number of very long lunches, and so on, my testimonial was attacked. This smells like the old tricks.
This kind of behavior has happened in every major reformist movement since Robespierre made the streets of Paris run with blood indulging it. These are the methods of the communist purge and the national socialist night of long knives; denounce, divide, and destroy. Although it seems unlikely that anybody will send intellectuals from South-East Portland to the Gulag for their counter-revolutionary statements, it looks like denial of service attack is not the only method being used to silence the blogs.
For those of you not familiar with the methods, here's how they work: first, denounce the target as not being true to an undefined ideal. Second, attack the targets defenders. Third, loudly denounce anyone behaving rationally, with integrity, or without fear of the denouncers. Fourth, find old grudges and use them to split apart any community that is not serving you. Add flourishes like secret meetings and tribunals to taste and serve. The targets feel compelled to defend themselves and eventually they will make a mistake you can exploit.
It is perfectly reasonable to believe that after spending a couple of years discrediting the kinds of people who use intimidation tactics that they would turn them on us. We don't have to do this in the blogsphere. We are educated, intelligent, and can move quickly. We can communicate these attacks and support each other. We can agree to not fall for the old tricks. We can decide to not be ruled by fear.