Ah, Lorel!

As I mentioned to incogneato, I do feel an obligation to respond to someone, such as Kriston or incogneato herself, who directs a post explicitly to me that is gratuitously and falsely personally insulting.

But I do see your point.

My larger concern here, which is an issue on which indeed I have never throughout my life shown an ability to let go, is the issue of open and free discussion. My original point, which had nothing to do with Kriston at all personally was, as I said earlier:
> does the hothouse environment of traditional schooling, in which kids spend over a thousand hours a year with kids almost exactly their own age, not exactly the environment in which most humans have traditionally lived, cause people to grow up with an over-sensitivity to social peer-group pressures?

Kriston managed to personalize that general issue and, when I responded to her use of personalization to express her disagreement with my general point, she tried to turn the matter into pretending that I had personally attacked her and thereby prevent me from responding effectively to her points.

That is bullying.

I’ve seen this happen again and again over the decades in discussions having to do with politics, religion, education, ethics, feminism, environmentalism, and, once or twice, even science and engineering!

We all know how it works: if you criticize Barack Obama or Rev. Jeremiah Wright (I kind of like Obama, and, in many ways, even Rev. Wright), you are insulting me personally! How dare you! How can you be so condescending as to question my political judgments! You must retract your condescending remarks! And if you continue to criticize Wright or Obama further, you will be continuing to condescendingly insult me!


We all know the game – by now, it has been perfected by conservatives and liberals, by homeschoolers and public-schoolers, by evangelicals and atheists, etc.

But it is bullying, nonetheless.

No doubt to fail to knuckle under to such bullying is indeed beating a dead horse. But I fear that is just in ineradicable character trait that I possess. As my parents will ruefully testify, my passion for freedom of speech, and my antipathy to attempts by any means to limit open speech, go back to about the time I learned to speak.

No doubt Kriston cannot help her defensiveness about defensiveness and, in the same way, I fear I can do nothing at all about my defensiveness about freedom of speech.

All the best,