That title, as the eagle-eyed will notice, is the GayPatriot blog’s tagline.
In my years of participating in GP threads, I’ve noticed that some who are opposed to the blog or its usual viewpoint, may be excessively fond of the “consistency game”, demanding that anyone who would criticize them must first meet some standard of consistency that has been issued by themselves.
It’s a cute game. They declare the standards and they appoint themselves the judges – which means they can’t be criticized in the thread, because they will never judge their critic as having been consistent enough, and will always change the subject back to their critic’s alleged inconsistency.
I called it “cute”, because little kids do it to their parents (or try to). But the game’s effects, and likely its intent, are destructive.
What I’m really talking about here is Alinsky Rule 4, as heliotrope and NDT have pointed out to me before. Played skillfully enough, it can strangle a thread, destroying any useful process of conversation.
The analogy to little kids got me thinking about a general analogy to families and homes. Is it necessary that people be entirely consistent and fair in what they say, within their homes? Why or why not?
Suppose we had 2 GP commenters calling each other names in a thread: one a conservative supporter of the blog, and the other frequently hostile. Granted that name-calling is incivil, and against GP rules, and ought to be stopped if it gets bad – might it be reasonable nonetheless to find the second commentor – that is, the one whose “home” this blog isn’t – somewhat more at fault? Or, at the very least, to deny his efforts to invoke the consistency game?
When I visit my leftie friends’ homes, I expect to hear them saying whatever they want about libertarians/conservatives, including crap which may be unfair, incivil or inconsistent. I expect it, simply because: it’s their home.
My leftie friends might very nicely tell me to “feel at home”, but if I can’t – if I have a problem with what’s going on – then it’s up to me to leave. Then maybe discuss the problem together over a coffee at Starbucks’. Not to engage them in a consistency battle from within the walls of their own home. Only A-holes do that.
In other words: Yes, there are slightly different rules for the people whose home it is, and the people whose home it isn’t. That’s life.
By analogy: if this blog is a home for gay conservatives, then non-conservatives should not invoke the consistency game from within the blog. They should do it on the outside: on their blog, in private e-mail, etc. At least if the analogy holds.
As I myself am a guest, I do not proclaim any sort of rule here; I only offer food for thought.