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April 26, 2005

Zealotry and Positive Feedback

I continue to come across islands of zealotry. Usually they are distinguished by names like "manifesto" or the title of some author's book. Like H. L. Mencken I am of a skeptical character:

I believe that nothing in unconditionally true, and hence I am opposed to every statement of positive truth and to every man who states it. Such men seem to me to be either idiots or scoundrels.

And with such skepticism I can not but mistrust those authors, indeed I don't trust zealots of any viewpoint but my own. But there is no mechanism in this world for indicating mistrust. Blogs often leave little room for dissent, and often the act of dissenting drives more traffic to that blog and in the insanity that says a blog linked to often is a source of authenticity even a negative protest is converted into a positive. Right now, the entire territory is wide open and neighbors are friendly because the nearest neighbor is 234 trillion electrons away, but will the same sort of belief that positive feedback alone is sufficient hold? Is it sufficient to limit or to expose the idiots and scoundrels? Or should we just be content that they have existed always and protect them as if they were just so many spotted owls?

Where this entry is going I'm not quite sure. I'm quite capable of ignoring idiots and I have no motive to try and stuff a sock in their mouths as after all, I'm not so fond of the taste of socks. But it does strike me as something curious. Frontiers somehow always seem to be the province of idiots and scoundrels. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about and they will all take up podcasting.

Posted by Jack at April 26, 2005 07:37 AM

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