Tuesday, September 9, 2014


A few days ago I wrote a blog entitled “Grand Juries: Common Sense and Common Law.” In the blog post I tried to demonstrate how the concept of a “common law grand jury” was fatally flawed. The post  attracted a number of comments, none of which appeared to me to be very well-reasoned. It wasn’t long before some of the commenters were debating among themselves about how the law relating to grand juries should be interpreted.  So far so good. Well-reasoned or not, ideas were being expressed and the pros and cons of those ideas were being debated. Dialectic is an excellent tool for the evaluation of ideas—as long as you talk about the ideas. It’s one thing to attack an idea as being poorly thought-out, it’s another thing to call the person expressing that idea an idiot. Firstly, even geniuses sometimes come up with bad ideas. Secondly, exploration of bad ideas can sometimes point you in the direction of truth. Thirdly, attacking the person rather than the idea is a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad hominem.  Fourthly, it’s just plain bad manners.

As time wore on and the comments accumulated, the language got more offensive, until it finally degenerated into profane single-sentence posts of the “Your mother wears combat boots” variety. Needless to say, the comments added nothing to the discussion of “common law grand juries.” I deleted the comments and locked the post so as to receive no further comments.

I welcome discussion and I like to have my ideas tested, but I do not like insults and name-calling and I do not like profanity. If anyone has such comments to make, please make them somewhere else.