Tuesday, April 21, 2015

a note on John C. Wright

Perhaps I'm about written out about Puppygate, because I can't think of anything urgent I want to say about anything I've read on the subject in the last few days. I think my earlier posts on 4/13, 4/14, and 4/16, plus two comments I made to George R.R. Martin's LJ (those are here and here) cover pretty much what I have to say.

I would, however, like to add here a personal note about John C. Wright, one of the principal Puppies. (And I have some thoughts about the Passion of Larry Correia for, perhaps, later on.)

Mr Wright first came to my notice back in the 1990s, when we were both members of the online network GEnie. I think this was before he converted from atheism to Catholicism, but he struck me as just as much an extreme right-winger then as he is today.

He and I tangled on one point, as I recall. During the Clinton impeachment/trial, Mr Wright stated that Mr Clinton's prevarications on his relationship with Ms Lewinsky were a clear case of perjury, a transparent case of "high crimes and misdemeanors," and that the President should therefore be removed.

I started to write here that Mr Wright "was of the opinion that ..." but I changed it, because Mr Wright does not traffic in opinions. To him, everything is either an inarguable fact or it is not.

He was consequently quite perturbed when I argued with it. I held that Clinton's weaseling did not actually meet the strict legal definition of perjury, and that, as a matter of actual trial practice, in an ordinary legal case with the facts of the Kathleen Willey suit, one involving some ordinary business executive and not the President of the United States, no D.A. would bother trying to prosecute the businessman for perjury. And I backed this up with legal citations for the former point (I worked in a law library at the time; sources were easy) and newspaper interviews with prosecutors raising this very question for the latter.

My perhaps rosy recollection is that Mr Wright sputtered with indignation at my refusal to accept his Inarguable Facts and my temerity at presenting sources to argue the point.

But that incident is background. The real point about Mr Wright came later.

A year or two further on, I found myself in agreement with Mr Wright on some point in dispute in a GEnie conversation. I don't remember what this one was. The point is that Mr Wright posted in astonishment that I agreed with him this time. I replied that I took my positions based on my beliefs of the facts in the case, and not by pre-determined alliances or animosities.

That's as far as that conversation went, but I found it interesting. Most people I know, certainly those I respect, take the attitude I do of sticking with the facts as they appear to them. In the course of many conversations on disputed topics, alliances and the lack of them shift constantly.

But that seemed strange to Mr Wright. In disputing his Inarguable Facts, I had in his view declared him an Enemy whom I would fight on all fronts, fair or foul. How bizarre that I should then quietly ally myself with him on some other issue. It blew his tiny mind.

I think that says a lot about Puppygate, too.

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