Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rational Debate

Meanwhile, there's this craziness going on in the comments section of DovBear's illustrious blog. Gosh, I wish that people could express themselves rationally and inoffensively. In my dream world, the conversation would have gone like this. (I have labeled the characters LY for Lakewood Yid and EE for Everyone Else)

EE: This is shocking!
LY: Yes, such behavior surely is heinous. I hope that the man, if guilty, is punished severely. I also express my utmost sympathy for the victims. However, I was offended by UOJ"s tactic of attacking people widely regarded as moral authorities based on unproven allegations. These gedolim, as religious leaders, deserve more respect and trust than such vitriol.
EE: In general, of course, we would agreec. But in this case, it seems that relying on the normal respectful tone of discourse was not enough to prevent these horrors. In such a case, severe disrespect is justified. In addition, should these allegations prove to be true, the gedol involved would no longer be worthy of our respect.
LY: There, I must disagree. Even if the gedolim may have been in error in this case- an allegation not yet proved- it surely was a one time mistake, rather than a widespread pattern of behavior or conspiracy. There is no need to drag their names and that of the Jewish community through the mud when this could have been resolved through other means. Of course, if the allegations were proven once and for all, and no mitigating factors existed, a fact which I consider extraordinarily unlikely considering the caliber of people involved, I would cease to respect the gedol involved, but even so, I think that this should be resolved with the minimal chillul Hashem possible, which would mean not publicizing these things any more than necessary.
EE: Of course, but I think that in this case, there was no other way of achieving the necessary results.
LY: I disagree.

See? Calm, logical, no attacks or misunderstanding. Sigh. Well, at least I can dream.


Still Wonderin' said...

It's nice to dream....but nothing gets resolved in dreams. Only in the real world. People like lakewood yid are dreaming too. They dream that everything they learned in yeshiva is right and good. Meanwhile other good little boys, who also go to yeshiva, grow up believing they are damaged good because their years in yeshiva were spent being treated like used condoms by the rebbes and threatened with silence by their menahalim.

Sounds more like a nightmare? Then maybe it's time you woke up, too.

Miri said...

while I don't doubt that what you say has happened, I would, before attacking whole systems or communities, like to at least see some statistics as to how many children end up one way and how many the other; I have a feeling that the rebbeim who perpetrate such crimes are probably the exceptions to the rule. like, one rebbe out of a whole school in x years, as opposed to a vast network conspiracy of rebbeim. there are some people out there who actually believe in the things they preach, you know.

Miri said...

also, I think Tobie's dream was abt reasoned, calm, logical discourse and open discussion of issues. you know, without the name-calling stuff.

Tobie said...

Yes, my dream had nothing to do with this case. I don't know the particulars, and I don't know enough to have an opinion as to effective strategy. I personally would like to reserve my judgment until I have facts, evidence, things like that.

But the larger point was that debate can be carried out on intellectual terms instead of...well, the sort of rhetoric that appeals to the emotions and accomplishes absolutely nothing in terms of dialogue.

Halfnutcase said...

three cheers for the blog mommy!

hope i didn't have anything that was overly offensive.

Tobie said...

HNC- no, no. I'm just being old and crotchety today.