Gates of Vienna is a middling blog so we get a fair number of requests from other, usually smaller (but not always) blogs asking that we read their posts and consider reciprocally linking to them. Sometimes I have the time and energy to go look, just to be polite. I remember how hard it was starting out.
So today comes just such an email. I will reprint it here— minus the actual URL, because I wouldn’t give this kind of thinking a link. Here’s why:
In the first place, I won’t bother reading very far into a post when it’s derivative and full of fourth-hand ideas and nothing to back up these opinions. And that’s even when I agree with what the post is saying. In the second place, when these opinions are diametrically opposed to my own political and cultural philosophy, what’s the point? I’ve had my opinion changed before, but it was by coherent, logical arguments backed up by evidence. Like darn Wally Ballou, who made me into a conservative and will have to answer for that… actually, it was Thomas Sowell’s fault, too. And Hayek. But Wally B. is close to hand and easier to blame.
Here’s the email:
- - - - Original Message - - - -
From: A spammer
Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:25 AM
Subject: Re: New Kid on the Blog
I’m a reader. I’ve recently started a blog of my own, at Iamausefulidiot.blogspot.com, and I wonder if you’d consider adding a link to me. I’ll put up a reciprocal link.
You’re doing a great job, by the way. Keep up the good work.
Poor Mr. Barnes. He caught me at a bad moment. Or rather, he created a bad moment for me. I was feeling polite enough before I pulled out his URL and put it up. My generosity quickly evaporated when I read what he had posted. So I responded to his email:
“Hi there” yourself, Mr. Barnes:
I took the trouble to pull your URL out of the email (if you solicit reciprocal blog rolling, it would draw more clicks if you used the HTML tags to hyperlink your blog — just a suggestion).
So I read thru the first post, till I got to this:
“My position has always been that soft power is far, far stronger than hard power over the long haul, as well as being gigantically cheaper. George Bush has squandered the soft power reserves of the United States just as he’s squandered the US military.
No, we’re not going to let them come over here in junks and sampans and swarm our shores. Of course, there’s no real danger of that, is there, any more than there’s any real danger of Iran becoming a nuclear power capable of challenging us.
The administration’s lies about WMD are ringing pretty hollow to me.”
Say wha?Why on God’s green earth would you want to reciprocally link to Gates of Vienna? And why would you claim to be a reader of a blog that has nothing in common with your ideas?
Was this just a random email to all sorts of bloggers?
On which points do you think our respective blogs would align?
As far as I’m concerned, your “position” on “soft power” is a supine position. It is soft-headed and dangerous when dealing with a culture — say, China, Russia, or the Middle East tribal states, just to name a few — which respects only hard power.
Our military has not been “squandered.” That’s just your opinion. When was the last time you read the report on Defense Planning Guidance? Which years have you read? On which authority do you base your opinion?
As for “Bush lied about WMD” — that meme is dead, except for people who keep digging it up, dusting it off, and propping it up. Go read some of the mil blogs who have actually done the research on the ground. And try some of the intel people who are fairly certain those weapons, such as they were, went to Syria. Have you seen any of the pictures of the portable materials? And what do you call the deaths of all those Kurds — men, women and children. Is that not “mass” destruction? If Saddam had wiped out your town with poison gas would that be “mass” enough for you?
I won’t link to your blog because I don’t respect your opinions. Please, please don’t link to ours — I looked at your blog roll and I don’t want to be there.
Meanwhile, I suggest you refine your reciprocal blog requests so that you don’t spam people you don’t read. If you did actually read our blog, as you claim, you wouldn’t have sent this email. We are diametrically opposed to everything you said in those first few paragraphs.
First rule of blogging: don’t lie to your fellow bloggers. Sheesh.
Second rule of blogging: don’t use your real name, Mr. Barnes, if you haven’t had the sense to check out your audience.
Gates of Vienna
Oh, and thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you think we’re “doing a great job.” We have to, just to combat the useful idiots, as Lenin called people of your ilk.