BlogEthics: Why Bother? and the Samurai

   The posts on this typespot for several days centered on BlogEthics. These posts arise, as they are, like the Phoenix from the ashes of intent. I hoped to reply to various interlocutors on the subject of ethics in the blogosphere. I initially wanted to find a different venue in which to write.

   Sadly, the various venues I pursued offered no shelter or, if they did, required commercial fluffing, or, if they did not, presented the usual condescension toward new delivery systems so symptomatic of religious thinkers. I decided if I wished to come closer to the pinnacle than the base I would have to carry my own weight here again. I was banished to my own self-made Elba.

   I have spent a few days trying, then, to explain blogging, which is itself a new delivery system, like the printing press, like the radio, the television, et al. The blogger has an immediacy of contact/delivery that enables her to create news while she reports opinion. Opinions are everywhere reported for fact in blogs and some millions may not come out from some noble purpose. The trick with bloggers is to decide what is fact and what is opinion and what is the purpose of each before we arrive at a verdict.

   Along the way I have tried to offer some clues about just how to apply discernment. I have posited the existence of the advocate, the opposer/critic and the bystander. I have tried to create the image of the moral crusader and the ethicist and to show how and why they are often at war with one another in the blogscape and why the bystander/neutral may need to tar both with the same brush, the better to argue for quiet on the set. In portraying the moral crusader and ethicist as radicals, the bystander becomes the director, gathers power around himself and applies it in political force.

   The bystander has no moral force of his own. Like logic, he is empty of content. His war cry is that of Napoleon, "Engage the enemy and see what occurs."

   Sadly, the bystander will still be bystanding when the moral crusader walks off the stage for the last time and the ethicist puts down his pen. The world is run on compromise and poorer for it.

   Sadder still, I note the passing of the Spiritual Samurai, the Moral Crusader. He would slumber for awhile, be awakened by some synthetic tragedy, rise in anguish and begin to flail about him, often wildly. He worked hard, publicly, and harder, privately. He got little encouragement. Every scandal unearthed he looked on as classical tragedy; the result of powerful forces once set in motion, working out to their sorry end.

   David is gone now from the blogosphere. I cannot help but mourn him, as I equally cannot help but support his decision. The Moral Crusader is the catalyst, not the thinker or the organizer. He bears the brunt. He falls first.


2 thoughts on “BlogEthics: Why Bother? and the Samurai”

  1. Rick:
    I, for one, have enjoyed your rumination on blog ethics. I believe you are right on target. The blogosphere is here to stay and it will become an increasingly powerful instrument. It will morph into even more powerful forms … but the essence will remain — a fast, effective way to create community (of sorts) and conversation. Being a responsible part of that community will require more bloggers thinking deeply about the issues you have raised. Thank you for taking the time to do so.
    As for David Montoya … I believe he’s a good man … flawed (like all of us) … but, at the core, a good man. Most of us are just better at hiding our flaws.
    It’s no secret that I disagreed with David’s tactics and his language. Words are powerful weapons and David used them carelessly. I will not miss his blog. But, I do believe that he has a genuine “hunger and thirst” for justice (I saw it in his ministry in the Valley), and if David chooses to drop out of Texas Baptist life … it will be our loss … and I will miss him.

  2. rick,
    thanks again 4 your good blog. we will all miss the samurai! when U read this, david, I hope U will change your mind.– I ask U 2 please reconsider and live to write another day. texas baptists need U david!
    rick- i hope U can talk montoya into coming back 2 his blog asap. please try 2 do this “yesterday.”
    Scuba man

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