Interview with the devil

John Brown rather commendably decided that he should learn exactly what I thought about various issues before leaping to any conclusions or judgments about me, and asked me a number of questions on some controversial subjects:

I just had a conversation with the devil.

Well, from what people have been posting, he seemed like the devil. But I know how the internet can be. Mitt Romney at one time was the devil. Now, I think he’s been degraded in those quarters to janitor of the hot place. Yeah, that one Romney who is out raising tons of money to help fix blindness among the poorest of the poor, that evil son-of-a-gun.

So when I saw there was a new head honcho in town, I decided to see what he was all about.

I did try reading various posts on the internet, but after a dozen or so of those, I realized it would just be easier to go to the source. And so I went to Vox Day’s website and clicked the contact link, which popped up an email.

I asked Day if he’d mind answering a few questions.

He agreed.

What you will read below is our conversation, arranged for easy reading.

Why am I doing this?

Well, who doesn’t want to scoop the devil? But beyond that, I agree with George R. R. Martin: internet conversations that are not moderated to maintain a tone of respectful disagreement are a bane upon us all. Actually, Martin said they were part of the devil’s alimentary canal, but I didn’t want to confuse the topic.

So I’d read a number of posts that Day had made and others folks had made about Day and saw all the bad juju going back and forth. And I wanted to know what this guy actually believed. Once I understood that, if I disagreed, then I could disagree in a way that I think is actually productive.

We talked about some of his views on two subjects—race and women. Are his ideas provocative? Well, you need to know what they are before you decide.

I thought he was mostly fair, if lamentably inclined to harbor some strong opinions about things he admitted to knowing nothing about. I did find it mildly amusing that my position of support for women voting in universal direct democracy is somehow taken to be more limiting of the electorate than a mere disagreement over where the precise line of the restrictions inherent in so-called representative democracy are best drawn.

As for his points about the rhetoric of offense, this bit actually made me laugh:

Offense closes both parties off to challenges, biases, and ideas. It
closes them off to new information. And new information is such an
integral part of learning.

That sounds nice and all, but I have a one-word rebuttal: Aristotle. As the readers here know, Mr. Brown’s point concerning how my rhetoric “dramatically undermines his ability to get others to consider his ideas, let alone believe them” does little more than inform us of his level of communication. And as you can see, while I provided him with the requested information, it did not change his mind. This is no surprise.