Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Call to the Blogosphere

When reading through blog ally Downtown Lad's musings yesterday, I followed one of his links to a piece by blogger Pike Speak about what he terms the "creeping parochialism" that he fears is creeping into some of the "Republican blogs", our beloved ally GayPatriot included.

While I don't necessarily agree with his assessment of the magnitude of these bloggers' behavior, I do wholeheartedly agree that it goes against the principles of conservativism and independent thought that I believe each of these bloggers, as well as many of the other people in the blogosphere, hold dear.

Upon arising this morning, and after the obligatory pot of coffee, I had a thought (dangerous, I know). What IS it that makes me enjoy reading these various blogs so much? What do I like in particular about them? After more perusal, I came up with the following points around all of these bloggers:

1. They all hold principles that they will not compromise, regardless of advantage or situation.

2. They all have enough self-confidence to stand up for what they believe....and to admit and apologize when they're wrong.

3. They all practice argument, not contradiction (for the uninitiated, this is from a Monty Python skit..."Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.")

4. Not only are they intelligent, they also use their intelligence, not to lord over others, but to build challenging and innovative solutions.

5. They genuinely care about people, both those who agree and those who disagree with them.

6. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they all are willful. By this I mean not that they are defiant, but that they actively seek ways of life that may exist outside the letter of the "law" while still fully respecting the spirit. This to me shows devotion to principles that are greater than the mere shallow constructions that society forces upon us.

Given that, I would like to propose that I and fellow bloggers who feel similarly join together in what I have dubbed the Coalition of the Willful. This is not an attempt to dictate actions, but to establish and reinforce certain core principles that we feel strongly establish the framework for open dialogue, constant improvement, and a better world for all of us.

The draft statement follows:
We, the undersigned members of the blogosphere, recognize that we have embarked on a unique voyage of discovery, charting courses through a new medium of communication with enormous potential for both for productive use and destructive misuse. While we are enamored with and seek exciting new uses for this powerful technology, we also acknowledge that the humans who populate and operate it are the most important component. We believe that the power of the blogosphere is in the free exchange of ideas and thought in adherence with Thomas Jefferson's statement, "Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself." To that end, we have banded together into a Coalition of the Willful with the express intent of protecting the beauty that is free thought and respect for others and propagating these ideals as expressed below through our interactions both on- and offline.

1. We hold most dear the thought that each individual is a beautiful, valuable, and unique component of our universe, to be treasured, cherished, and allowed to participate equally regardless of outward characteristics.

2. In all of our interactions with each other, public and private, online and offline, we strive as much as humanly possible to adhere to the thought of Principle 1.

3. We guard jealously the right of each person to express their opinion in a manner consistent with Principle 1, promoting and practicing the fair and free exchange of ideas while respecting the beliefs of others.

4. We recognize that wisdom and truth can be and are found in all philosophies and ideologies; to that end, we actively seek participation and thought from those who hold beliefs and ideals different than ours.

5. We wholeheartedly reject, as stifling to independent thought and vulnerable to arrogance, superiority, and damage of the individual, forcing through our words or actions ideological conformance or silence to a specific set of beliefs as a condition of inclusion or respect in discussion.

Comments, insertions, deletions, and brickbats are welcomed. If this really takes off, we'll need a good treaty name too....something like "The Maastricht Agreement", or "Entente Cordiale", or "Peace of Amiens"...LOL.

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