BlogEthics: Consistency as Clarity or Caricature

   Blog are mostly essays. Research material can find its way into a blog/essay/op-ed piece, as it can to any essay. In fact, some blogs are strictly research pieces, scholarly in nature and so thoroughly unreadable. These serve as a direct counter weight to the mendicant fluff pieces written or imaged by numerous bloggers.

   Blogs may be polemical, investigatory or advocatory. A blogger whose work springs from any of these three categories will benefit from consistent thinking and accurate reporting.

   How do we achieve (noble) consistency? The blogger must know his preferred means of thinking/remembering/learning so he may more clearly understand his methods of evaluation/assessment/moral reckoning. That is, his epistemology feeds his ethics, if wishes consistency.

   The tone of his writing reveals his thought processes as consistency or caricature. The inconsistent blogger runs out of sagacity early and takes some time to say so. The blogger who must constantly oppose (or advocate, itself a form of opposition) one person, institution or entity in shrill tones runs the risk of becoming a caricature of himself, exaggerating one's weaknesses to the point of imbecility.

   The lecturer Isaac Berlin, for all his brilliance, never produced a work of analysis and synthesis. Indeed, he was frequently depressed by his inability to write his magnum opus. Late in his life, a researcher helped Berlin pull together his essays and lectures so that he could see the consistent thread of thought running through the whole cloth of his life's work.

   Berlin came to see that, while balance is not always achievable, it is usually desirable. He had not failed to maintain intellectual objectivity in his works, which some mistook for simple repetition.

   Repetition, whether circular or linear, is neither wrong nor even amoral. Lincoln, for instance, returned constantly to the touchstone of his presidential career, the end of slavery as a national institution. Though one can see him set sail around the Cape of Good Intentions, with stops at the various ports of call (the Union, the Constitution, the Honored Dead) he always arrived back at the final disemarkation point, black empancipation. No would would now complain about the consistency required to shepherd a bigoted nation to surrender a repugnant, if economically advantageous, system of cheap labor.

   "One portion of our population thinks slavery is wrong," Lincoln said. "Another portion believes slavery is just. In other things we agree almost perfectly. It is at this one point we differ and at this point we must be reconciled."

   In baptist Christian political life over the last three decades, one repeated argument comes from those who insist that (attractive) orthodoxy cannot be maintained by creedalism. In fact, they may argue, belief (even orthodox) differs at so many points as to be undecipherable apart from differences in historical interpretation(s), church history and inspiration. A second group (called second here for designation, not deprecation) laments the effects of modernity on religious and social culture. These brethren are more likely to believe orthodoxy can be guaranteed by creedal instrument. Each group consistently, often shrilly, repeats its pater mantra without apology.

   In shrill defence of its slogan, both groups risk becoming an exaggerated picture of its own faults, a caricature. Bloggers, with words frozen on screen, run the same risk, particularly if we must always prove our position rather than brook contradiction. Consistency can lead to caricature if it cannot evolve.

  A blogger's ouerve ought to reflect his inner convictions for no writer can help but tell his story. Prose concludes as it opines and so reveals the bias of its writer in the slant of its italic.

   In a recent purge of my main blogsite, I was stricken by the repetitive features of language and tone. I could literally find places along the way where I seemed to sharpen my rhetorical lance on the literary whetstone for one more jab. I removed more than 200 posts, most for irrelevance but many for tone.

   I tend to loop around an issue so I may see the light refract from various facets of the gem. I most often cannot accept a monocausal viewpoint. As a blogger, my counterpoint, Montoya, for instance, lets his need for systemic purification guide his writing. I do not believe a human system can be purified. Cauterized, perhaps, to stop the bleeding but scarcely purified. Montoya is more a monocausal idealist who thinks in a straight line and is then prone to disillusionment. I am more of a circular skeptic, prone to circle in great loops, seldom intersecting at any point but carrying the import of the occassional intersection to another, seemingly unrelated, point on the circle. Both of us serve our nature thre, chaos for Montoya and questions for me.

   One should never act on another's feelings for this is the height of manipulation. However, when one finds a  course of wisdom pushed along by courage, one may revel in the consistency of thought and action. You have found a prophet worth reading at that moment.

    

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