RE: Removal of my post at DailyPaul.com
On 2 January 2012, I wrote to you to at DailyPaul.com to inquire as to whether you were personally behind the censoring of a post I had written on your website. That post had a short excerpt along with a link to my own blog article, Ron Paul Campaign Failing to Ask Supporters for Much More Than Money. The piece criticized the Paul campaign for having no apparent plan to build the type of strong popular movement necessary to achieve the level of reform the campaign claims to desire. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I chose to inquire whether it was you or some “rogue moderator” who had removed my post from Daily Paul. You replied thus (emphasis added):
Yeah Jack, since it is my site, ultimately it is my responsibility.
One of the moderators decided the post was unproductive to what we’re trying to do at this place and time. I get slammed with people who disagree with me all the time – it is the nature of the business, and as a blogger you know that, so I appreciate your understanding.
It is not the responsibility of the Daily Paul to carry every opinion of everyone in the world, and as a blogger, I think you know that also.
And I’m sure that as an intelligent Ron Paul supporter, you are also familiar with the private property argument. DP being my property, I can choose to use it as I wish, etc.
So yes, your post was “censored” on the Daily Paul, but it is still available to read on your blog.
So what is the problem?
The problem is your paradigm. When deep and factual analysis of the campaign’s needs is “unproductive to what we’re trying to do at this place and time“, serious suspicions are naturally raised. Just what are you trying to do if not to build a viable political movement?
Indeed, the article to which I had linked asked a very similar question:
What, exactly, is Ron Paul trying to achieve?
Your reply neglected to state what your goals are, but made things fairly clear about what they are not. When you call responsible and forward-looking analysis “unproductive”, you have told the world more about your thinking than you could possibly know. Obviously, you are bent on winning an election, and in your mind, analysis is simply not appropriate at this time. (And this has to be striking similar to the thoughts and hopes of the other campaigns, who don’t want their supporters thinking, either!) Thus is it a fairly certain conclusion that you deem it not only to be passively “unproductive”, but counterproductive. I say this because of the obvious fact that no one on your staff of moderators goes around deleting “unproductive” posts, such as “LOL” and “Bump” and other such useless transmissions. This leads me to believe that “unproductive” is a code word for a “threat to our paradigm”.
In what ironically turns out to be a quasi-prophetic prediction (and I am most certainly not a prophet), my article had stated this:
Many short-sighted people will, no doubt, find my message to be an irritation and a needless distraction during this campaign.
And that’s what I think is wrong with your thinking; it is short-sighted. You appear to be afraid that you might lose supporters for Ron Paul if your forum included deeply-analytical pieces that explore needs not currently being met by the campaign. Thus do you make the same mistake I accuse Dr. Paul of making.
Yes, I understand your right to do as you wish with your own property. With rights, however, come responsibilities. You have presumed to exercise your rights in hosting a forum for public discussion. When you censor rational works that are 100% on topic, but that point out weaknesses you’d rather pretend do not exist, you display the same type of behavior for which so very many Ron Paul supporters blame the rest of the media. Indeed, if my post were “unproductive”, why not let others in your community tell me so? Or do you similarly step in to censor “silly” or “irrational” posts, too?
No, something about my post was clearly deemed as a threat. Could it be that you believe that the idea of building a sturdy public movement would be a threat to the Ron Paul campaign? I seriously doubt that’s it. So what could the threat be? I have an idea.
I suspect that you’re afraid of losing the borderline supporters—the “fair weather fans”—who aren’t likely to stick around if they hear the slightest criticism—the very people who are apt to bolt if they hear just one more co-worker say “I think Ron Paul’s foreign policy is nuts”. If this is the case, then you are aiming to win your campaign by appealing passively to the weak-minded rather than by strengthening them into strong-minded supporters. See the difference?
What you are doing is to play the “big tent” game, appealing to “the middle”, as if all this talk about “principle” isn’t the real paradigm at all. And on this topic of sincerity, I observed with interest that one DailyPaul user mentioned more than once on your Moderators forum that Rick Santorum banner advertisements were running on the site’s home page. I, too, saw these ads, and silly me, I assumed they would naturally be considered “unproductive” on a Paul-promoting website. Ironically, the only response this poster got about the Santorum ads was, “They pay the bills. Ignore them or send DailyPaul money.”
And what really bakes my noodle now is trying to figure out whether that response was itself “unproductive” and just somehow got overlooked by the busy moderators—or whether it reflects the true mission of Daily Paul, which I would suppose to be making money. I imagine that the truth is more likely somewhere in between. See, I don’t believe you’re only in it to make money, but I also don’t believe that you are as principled as your reply to me might make it seem. Your inconsistency, however, gives rise to the question of whether my post would have been considered more “productive” if I were giving money to your website to have it posted there.
I am not writing this to impugn your motives (which you have not shared, and at which I could but guess), but your inconsistency, which is quite obvious. Further, I find your use of the word “unproductive” to be insultingly euphemistic—Doublespeak at its finest. Did you think I was so stupid as to find this excuse to be a convincing one? Or was it aimed, rather, at the rest of your audience? (This is not only your word, but your moderator’s, too, which was posted publicly.)
So you continue, if you must, at trying to win an election, and I will continue, as I must, in trying to build a strong movement of rational and responsible people. If you succeed, you will have one president, still in need of a strong movement of rational and responsible people. And if I succeed, I will have a movement out of which many such presidents, and senators, and representatives, and governors, and mayors can come. I hope you see my point.
Should you choose to respond, I will gladly post your response here on my ad-free blog for all to see—whether I find it “productive” or not.