Adam often comments on the Opinion Talk blog run by our local newspaper, The Fresno Bee. Recently, one of the editors posted a request that people who participate there refrain from using personal attacks in their discussions. This prompted a comment from someone named Brian Murray, who wrote, “Sounds like suppression of free speech,” and thus precipitated a lengthy conversation in the comments on the post about free speech and the proper methods of argumentation, among other, subsidiary topics. Not all of the comments were friendly, but Adam correctly points out that he stayed civil and rational where others failed.
After reading that conversation, I had some thoughts, which I posted as a comment on Adam’s blog. But they were so lengthy and substantial that I decided to share them here, too. Without further ado: