Parting Ways

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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151 Responses

  1. James Hanley says:

    Thank you.Report

    • Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to James Hanley says:

      This move makes me both happy and sad.

      Tom was a gifted writer, and could, when he’s not trying to tweak others’ sensibilities, could write some cogent and well-executed prose. I’ll miss that Tom.

      Then, there was the other Tom. The one who delighted in stirring up shit, and in probing the tender spots of his ideological adversaries. The one who would never acknowledge when he caused offense, and never, ever back down or apologize. The one who would write with purposeful obtuseness, and then complain that no one understood him. That guy I won’t miss so much.

      Farewell, Tom, and fare thee well. I hope you keep writing, and are able to find a congenial home for your missives.Report

  2. greginak says:

    I think this is a good move. Trolling, lack of self-awareness and no desire to understand why he got some of the reactions he did were not productive. To many threads devolved at light speed. Having a strong clear conservative/republican voice would be just ducky though.Report

    • Rtod in reply to greginak says:

      Agreed. If you know of anyone that would be a good fit, send him or her over (or tell me where they are now).Report

      • Rtod in reply to Rtod says:

        I should say that all of the above being in addition to Tim, who I still think is the best traditional conservative blogger I’ve come across.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Rtod says:

          Agreed. I wish he’d post more.Report

          • Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley says:

            If I weren’t already a gay atheist transhumanist, I’d do my damnedest to be a reasonable conservative. Because we really need more of those around.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              What’s a transhumanist?Report

            • KatherineMW in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              The blog has no shortage of economic conservatives. Social conservatives are in shorter supply.

              If you’re going to pick one, Rod Dreher seems to be a generally polite, thoughtful and good-hearted person (from my perspective and what I’ve read of him, most of which was a few years ago; and he may read differently to gay people), however little I agree with on some issues. Not sure how busy he is with TAC, though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

                One of the things that bugs me primarily about most social “conservatives” is that they don’t believe in limited government jurisdiction.

                They trust the government to modify, regulate, and mold behavior of people.

                Which doesn’t strike me as conservative (socially or otherwise) at all.

                It strikes me as downright Progressive.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                social “conservatives” … trust the government to modify, regulate, and mold behavior of people.

                Exactly. They’re just like libertarians.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Nothing wrong with being a bit randy.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

                Conservatism is often taken to mean “small-government/individual liberty” and liberalism to mean “big government”, but that doesn’t actually describe the positions of most people who self-identify in those ways. Conservatives also tend to be more inclined to support the security state/War on Crime/War on Terror/empire than liberals (though there’s been a shift towards higher liberal support and more opposition from non-mainline conservatives during the Obama presidency, I’d still peg opposition to those things being higher on the leftward side than on the rightward one).

                You’re essentially complaining that conservatism hasn’t been defined as libertarianism.

                If we look at conservatism as “aversion to (rapid) change”, which makes more etymological sense and seems, in my limited understanding of political theory, to have better historical and theoretical backing than conservatism as “small government” – the supporters of absolute monarchy were the conservatives of their day – social conservatism fits. It’s a belief that mores around things like family, how we interact with each other, and life in general have been changing rapidly and, in many respects, for the worse, and that this change should be prevented or altered. That people are becoming too detached from each other, too atomized; that strong, close, and lasting relationships (including familial ones) are becoming less common; that a sense of community has been lost. To the extent that social conservative position do follow the small-government idea, they tend to argue that having government take over roles that were previously filled by the family or community weakens those family and community bonds and leads to more social disintegration and, in a downward spiral, resulting increased dependence on government. I don’t entirely agree with this position, but I understand it.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Oh, there’s no doubt you understand that Katherine. There’s just a certain miniscule subset of liberals around here, might be just population M.A., who don’t.Report

              • M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                James just lacks the ability to separate libertarianism (moreover, left-libertarianism, which he seems to believe encompasses the majority of libertarianism for some strange reason) from the conservatism and conserva/tarianism hybridizations that make up much of the argumentation.

                In that way he’s rather like TvD. Argue against what libertarians (or at least, people claiming the libertarian mantle) have argued, and he says I don’t understand libertarianism. The alternative, that there are libertarians saying things he disagrees with, or that libertarians really ought to call the conserva/tarians to the carpet rather than letting them assume the libertarian mantle, doesn’t occur to him.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Heh, it’s always lovely when the out-group member tells the in-group member what the in-group really believes. In so doing, M.A., it’s actually you who are acting much like TVD.

                I eagerly await the day you make a post about libertarianism that actually deals with it honestly, instead of just pegging it into the convenient cubbyhole you’ve defined for it. I do not, however, hold my breath.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                James, you may not have it both ways. Either you’re a Libertarian, in which case you could explain why some of us have misinterpreted some aspect of Libertarian thought, providing some education on the subject — or you can do as you’ve been doing a lot lately — stepping aside and hotly denying you, personally, James Hanley, are to be lumped in with the Libertarians on this issue or that.

                Frankly, you’d be better served just to stick with You James Hanley and quit this shuckin’ and jivin’ and avoiding the point. I have read Marx and I have read Hayek and come to my own conclusions. I reject the Libertarian arguments of self-ownership on the same sound ethical constructions upon which I also reject slavery, including wage slavery. Furthermore, this self-ownership nonsense is all so much question-begging: ownership begins with a contract, including enforceability clauses. The Libertarians have done a damned poor job of defending themselves philosophically.

                Your response has usually been concession after concession: yes, society does have an obligation to educate children, that sort of thing. But you continue to cling to views of markets and regulation which are idealistic in extremis.

                I repeat myself: you just stick up for You James Hanley. If we’re to take this self-ownership axiom seriously, you do own your own positions. I’ve been waiting for a good long while for that explication of Libertarianism. You haven’t written it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                To what extent is it useful to discuss West Germany vs. East Germany with regards to a modern Libertarian/Conservative Fusion vs. a modern Liberal state?

                To what extent is it inflammatory and something that a Randian would bring up? Would one think that for all of the Objectivist crowing about A being A, they’d be able to see the difference between shit and shinola? Would even a shred of decency require a person to come to the conclusion that conflating these two things is specious to the point where only a troll would point them out? Does the Masthead require further raskulachivanie until we finally have an honest group of writers?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley says:

                When I was first sent to the East German border, I expected to see tank traps and concertina wire. What I saw that day was little blue poles, sticking out of the ground, with a farmer mowing hay.

                The division of East and West Germany was as artificial and stupid as the current political divisions we see afoot these days. What’s with the Libertarians? They fight more among themselves than with anyone else. Not one Libertarian agrees on a common definition, every one of them sitting on his own wall like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland. Worse than the Marxists. There’s glory for you.Report

              • Katherine in reply to James Hanley says:

                James –

                There are a lot libertarians – the majority of the ones I’ve heard from – that are generally of the FYIGM, Randian persuasion, and regard libertarianism as an excuse to disclaim any responsibility or concern for the lives and well-being of others and feel righteous doing so.

                If you are not one of them, arguing against that perspective may not be overly useful when debating points you make; since libertarianism is a collection of policy ideas rather than a party like, say, the Republicans, there’s a clearer distinction.

                But that doesn’t mean that conserva/tarianism doesn’t exist and doesn’t, functionally, contain the bulk of politically active libertarians, going from general online discourse and the kind of political candidates generally backed by libertarians and the Libertarian Party. And there’s therefore nothing wrong with people citing those kinds of opinions as being libertarian, because they are, in that they’re espoused by large numbers of people who name themselves as libertarians.

                But MA, it may be that James can no more “call the conserva/tarians onto the carpet” than I can make a dent in the opinions of the more flaky anti-GMO left simply because I am part of what is broadly considered the left.Report

              • Kim in reply to KatherineMW says:

                There’s a big problem with saying that social conservatives are actual conservatives. It’s one that they don’t recognize themselves…

                For most of human history, sexual ethics have been engineered around decreasing the number of births, so as to ensure a better life for all.

                the current crop of conservatives would like to completely reverse this trend, in favor of more babies.

                Active social engineering to create more babies is NOT conservative.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Kim says:

                For most of human history, sexual ethics have been engineered around decreasing the number of births, so as to ensure a better life for all.

                That’s a whopper of an assertion. Sexual ethics seem to have been much more engineered around making sure that access to women was guaranteed for as many of the richer males as possible. That included many wars, the net side effect of which was (a) killing off many of the younger men before they could compete for women and (b) the taking of women as trophies and chattel from the losing side. Prohibitions on prostitution aren’t about stopping men from having sex, they’re about making the men go home to have sex with their theoretical wives to ensure more babies rather than the men having sex with a (likely already knocked-up) prostitute.

                And then we get into the abrahamic prohibitions on masturbation…Report

              • Kim in reply to Kim says:

                1) Yes, of course, the alphas get access to females. At a certain point (after about three women or so), you reach the point of actively decreasing the birthrate (why? well, you can assume that the women’s periods will synch up, and guys can only produce so much. Also, alphas tend to not be terribly obsessed with “make as many babies as possible” as they’ve never needed to try that hard.)

                2) By wars you mean genocide. Or raiding parties (which, considering the phenomenon of capture marriages, may have actually INCREASED the birthrate, as inbred as most villages were back in the day).

                3) Men and women being linked up means a lower birthrate. See those vaunted studies on rape. It also means a much more stable society.

                4) More to the point, you have fences, and strong ones, against incest and “knocking up the babies”. This decreases birthrate, through narrowing the reproductive years (getting a twelve year old married to a thirteen year old does not generally produce a baby for a couple of years…). It also reduces mortality rates from pregnancy.

                The strong societal pressure against bards and other travellers (gypsies) is another indication of trying to engineer a lower birthrate.Report

              • Rufus F. in reply to Kim says:

                In that case, someone needs to ask the Hebrews what they meant by Genesis 1:28—”God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Kim says:

                It was a pun.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kim says:

                that line has been taken to mean that we ahve a religious obligation to bear at least two children.Report

              • Katherine in reply to Kim says:

                I don’t see that claim as particularly well substantiated. The idea of population being too high has only shown up in the last two centuries or so, when 1) populations really started to rise and 2) globalization and technology gave people an understanding of how much populations were rising.

                At low levels of population (and low levels of technology), more people means more hands available to defend your territory, so I’d expect a preference for lower reproduction rates to be a recent thing.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kim says:

                you had extremely high child morbidity rates, so consider your point taken.

                Not that having a lot of children would have been a good thing (it often wasn’t, as there was finite land most places)…Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Dreher seems to me to be a genuinely decent person with some bizarre blind spots. The most obvious one is gays: he’s written a few posts that state that a gay person coming out to his family is actually attacking them. And there was this recent one, where he criticizes teaching young-earth creationism in public schools by saying that it’s as wrong as something that’s unquestionably wrong, like teaching Ebonics. (If you read the comments thread to that one, “Mike” is me.)Report

    • Scott in reply to greginak says:


      How does one get this necessary self-awareness to be a proper contributor? Is there a class or a pill.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Scott says:

        Oh, there’s definitely a certain amount of class involved.Report

      • greginak in reply to Scott says:

        You can take a class in it from the Univ of Phoenix. Either that or show some desire to understand our own postivie and negative contribution to this place. I asked Tom at least twice if he felt that since he seemed constantly exasperated at being misunderstood and that few people got his brilliant points maybe he should reflect on his own contribution and skills. I’ve done that many times myself in work and personal life fwiw. Starting with looking in the mirror when you want to understand how you got where you are is always a good start. Pixels are a limited form of communication, they don’t transmit sarcasm or humor that well often. Its harder to get to know someone in this format and without seeing their face it is very hard to judge intention. We would all be better served by thinking about what we write and trying to figure out how we can be misunderstood.Report

        • Scott in reply to greginak says:

          That would seem to apply to the folks here that are screaming that everything is racist. But isn’t that we got here in the first place? BTW, I hear that Univ of Phoenix is a scam.Report

          • Chris in reply to Scott says:

            This is racist!Report

          • greginak in reply to Scott says:

            I think some people hear “everything is racist” when some people say “race is an issue.” Those statements are different; significantly different. I’ll add that i think people throw out the word racism too causally which is not helpful. And also that race is an issue. Is everything racist…no and no and no.

            Well of course U of P is a scam. They didn’t even make a bowl game this year.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

              I know some folks who use the term “racialized” as opposed to racist. It is meant to indicate that race played a role either negatively and/or unnecessarily but makes no assumptions of intent.Report

  3. DensityDuck says:

    …can I have my donation back?

    I mean, if someone’s gonna be driven off the site by trollish commentors, then maybe it’s not as great of a site as I thought.Report

  4. Shazbot3 says:

    Thanks guys. I know it isn’t easy to let someone go from any position.

    I sincerely apologize for being too harsh in my comments on this issue. (In person, I am much less of a jerk. Or at least I hope I am less of a jerk. Maybe I should tape what I say.)

    I also want to thank you for running a blog that I find genuinely interesting and that I enjoy a lot. (I also think a generally laissez-faire approach is best, and recognize it is hard to do what you are aiming at doing.)Report

    • Rtod in reply to Shazbot3 says:

      Thanks. I appreciate your saying so.

      Also, the Internet you vs realize you? Pretty universal.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Shazbot3 says:

      I do regret that the wheels turn slowly sometimes. But consensus is important, even down to line editing the messages we got out to you all. (The others will back me up; this really did happen, for fear that we would end up sending the wrong message in public.)

      The sooner we move on, the better, I think.Report

      • Johanna in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        As I watched this situation unfold (mostly from the position of a lurker and LoOG reader pre TVD), I was reminded of a workplace situation that was quite similar which took a little over a year to resolve. The similarities are striking even though we are dealing with completely different venues. It is not surprising that it took as long as it did for the LoOG editors to come to the conclusion that the toxicity of TVD’s writing was indeed an issue they were no longer willing to support on their site. They really needed to come to a consensus in this sort of situation.

        I had seen TVD’s interactions on other blogs and I was genuinely disappointed when he became involved as a FPer at the League. I have long suspected that his tenure here would not last. My first reaction admittedly was “finally they figured out what appeared so obvious,” but then I recognized that in everything there is a process, there are more people involved with goals and ideas unlike my own who may put particular weight on issues I do not and I get why this may have been particularly hard for LoOG as a group.

        I’m not writing here to send an “I told you so” message as tempting as it would be, I would like to thank the LoOG for making what was obviously a hard decision and to offer my support in that I believe it was the right decision and my appreciation in that they were purposely thoughtful in making this decision.Report

  5. joey jo jo says:

    I said this below but one way to look at it is that TVD was trolling libtards here. Another way is that he was trolling you fine editors by habitually line-stepping.Report

    • M.A. in reply to joey jo jo says:


      Was that really necessary? I admit I’ve let my temper get the best of me on occasion, and been rightly called on it on occasion too. I hear that word tossed around too often on my examinations of right wing radio and it adds nothing to the discourse.

      Couldn’t you just say he was trolling liberals?Report

      • joey jo jo in reply to M.A. says:

        necessary, no. personal preference for me, yes. Just like how our exalted leader and usherer in of agenda 21, the kenyan usurper himself, owned the pejorative connotation of “Obamacare”, I choose to own libtardedness.
        I apologize for foisting my choice upon you.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to M.A. says:

        There’s a real irony in your comment, M.A. It’s not your temper that’s the problem, but that you won’t give others the basic courtesy about their ideologies that you’re asking that yours be given.

        That, and the fact that joey jo jo is a libtard him/herself.Report

        • joey jo jo in reply to James Hanley says:

          In my not so humble opinion, there is no other place on the series of interconnected tubes that uses civility as a cudgel than the good ol’ LOOG. Keeps me coming back for more laughs.Report

          • James Hanley in reply to joey jo jo says:

            That wasn’t very nice.Report

            • joey jo jo in reply to James Hanley says:

              Fair enough. But it’s kinda the point of this place, innit? I think it cuts both ways. Civility is not just a one-way beneficial thing. Like any standard or norm, it can be gamed. I do find it funny because the civility game is always an available fallback position if one’s argument is not going so well. I saw some other jackalope blog about this a while back. I’ll dig it up.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to joey jo jo says:

                Heh, I was just playing off your comment, using civility as a cudgel just for the sake of humor.

                My delivery’s been really bad this week. All of my deadpan has failed.Report

              • joey jo jo in reply to James Hanley says:

                Not your fault. If anything it’s because I’m not very nice. I have no problem admitting that. I work on it with mixed results.

                Here is the blogpost I saw a while back about the LOOG and civility.

                I think I saw it at everyone’s fave blog, BJ.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to joey jo jo says:

                When I fail for the third or fourth time in just a few days, I’m ready to accept that the problem is my delivery.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley says:

                I was going to make a joke, but I’m afraid my deadpan would fail as well.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to James Hanley says:

                When you quoted Hayek with a straight face, I just about died laughing.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                See, that’s how it’s done.Report

              • Morzer in reply to James Hanley says:

                Salma gets all the best lines.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to joey jo jo says:

                “n my not so humble opinion, there is no other place on the series of interconnected tubes that uses civility as a cudgel than the good ol’ LOOG. Keeps me coming back for more laughs…. I do find it funny because the civility game is always an available fallback position if one’s argument is not going so well. I saw some other jackalope blog about this a while back. ”

                So, similar to TVD in the post about the post, your assumption about why someone here might ask you not be a d**k is that they just can’t match the devastating intellect of your comments?Report

              • joey jo jo in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I hold no such belief about the appeal of my intellect to anyone other than myself. It’s a fair inference, though, Tod.
                Everyone keeps coming back for their own reasons. That one is one of mine. I find the civility aspect fascinating and didn’t realize it was sticking in my craw until I saw the post I linked. As McMegs would say, YMMV.
                Everyone, feel free to ask me to not be a dick or feel free to call me a dick or whatever you want. Maybe I’ll even comply.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to joey jo jo says:

                My issue with calls for civility are when they morph from attempts to maintain a constructive tone and tenor into attempts to control and limit access to the conversation.

                We had a similar conversation about “gentlemanliness” and whether or not my choice of T-shirts should impact the extent to which I could lay claims to it.

                I saw an interesting documentary on a team of black kids who attempted to get real meta on the competitive debate world, including criticizing its participants various privileges and how the structure and style of debate reflected and reinforced them. There were a lot of varied responses but some of their opponents essentially said, “How are we supposed to debate them when they aren’t debating in a way that is most conducive to our success?” Which was sort of the entire point. I’ll see if I can find it.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                The doc itself wasn’t the most well done but I thought the efforts of the kids (lead by adults, mind you) was fascinating.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Oops, you beat me to it.Report

              • joey jo jo in reply to Kazzy says:

                Thanks for that anecdote and the link.
                There are some corollaries with the “Austerity Bomb” (i refuse fiscal cliff) negotiations……Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Did you like it Chris? I did but haven’t rewatched in some years. It is part of the reason why I encourage offended or aggrieved folks to get loud and angry here sometimes: our status quo needs some real upsetting sometimes.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazz, I did like it, though I too haven’t seen it since it was on HBO a few years ago.

                I actually think it’s important to become uncivil sometimes. Civility is like respect, it’s something that is good to give as a default, but with the understanding that it is ultimately earned, so that if someone shows that he or she is not worthy (even if only in the moment), it should be quickly withdrawn. There are certain things that people say or do that do not deserve civility, and in the face of which civility is actually counterproductive.Report

              • Murali in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazz, I did like it, though I too haven’t seen it since it was on HBO a few years ago.

                I actually think it’s important to become uncivil sometimes. Civility is like respect, it’s something that is good to give as a default, but with the understanding that it is ultimately earned, so that if someone shows that he or she is not worthy (even if only in the moment), it should be quickly withdrawn. There are certain things that people say or do that do not deserve civility, and in the face of which civility is actually counterproductive.

                People always say this, but it is always about the things that bug them the most that people are the least civil. Yet, it is precisely when there are such sharp differences in world views that civility is most necessary and the slightest lack of it would tend to produce way more heat than light. Of the various times I have gotten irritable and behaved un-civilly it more often than not has not worked in my favour.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Here is how I see it:

                Person A (member of privileged class) engages in egregious and/or offensive behavior.
                Person B (member of marginalized class) becomes irate.
                Person A calls for civility,

                The initial incivility was Person A’s egregious and/or offensive behavior. But because, when dealing with a member of the privileged class, such actions are often parts or extensions of the status quo, they are not seen as such. Thus, the call for civility is not only misplaced but is used as a way to further perpetuate the status quo and to further marginalize Person B.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, right, sometimes civility is not just a matter of tone, it’s also a matter of content. And responding to incivility of content with civility of tone isn’t always effective. In fact, sometimes it’s counterproductive.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

                But because, when dealing with a member of the privileged class, such actions are often parts or extensions of the status quo, they are not seen as such. Thus, the call for civility is not only misplaced but is used as a way to further perpetuate the status quo and to further marginalize Person B.

                My experience has been that this sort of claim is typically made in an attempt to redefine the boundaries of acceptable discourse so as to exclude any effective conuterarguments to one’s own claims.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

                Not that I’m accusing you of that, Kazzy, because I can’t recall you doing anything like that, and don’t know what things you’re specifically talking about. But when I’ve seen this meta-argument made before, in less abstract contexts, that’s how it’s been used.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Imagine someone speaking with a soft or neutral tone saying something racist. A member of that targetted class gets irate and calls out the racist statement. The initial person says something to the effect of, “Well, if you are going to get angry and yell, I’m just not going to engage with you.”

                Would that second person be better served to not get irate? Sure. But you know who first violated the rules of civility? The person who said the racist thing. But they used the proper tone. And often times the irate person has either quashed that feeling entirely or minimized it and engaged civilly, to little effect. Sometimes you have to get angry. And sometimes you have to deal with angry people if you say racist things.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Also, I’m for expanding the bounds, not limiting. I tend to see calls for civility to be deliberately limiting and exclusive.Report

  6. aaron david says:

    I didn’t often agree with TvanD, but as a daily reader, I find this quite sad. I hope the league doesn’t descend into a morass of yes men.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to aaron david says:

      Dude, did you see the posts about charity?Report

      • MFarmer in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        “Dude, did you see the posts about charity?”

        Just say, yes, Aaron.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        I did Jason, and your point is well taken. But, in some ways, it… strengthens? my feelings on this. There is starting to be something monolithic about the hammering someone will take if they are not in line with the largest bloc of commenters. I think this applies mainly to the conservative posters here, but as your posts showed the libertarians also pretty beat up.Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to aaron david says:

          Well, look at it this way.

          You’re over here saying, “There is starting to be something monolithic about the hammering someone will take if they are not in line with the largest bloc of commenters.”

          And meanwhile, the leftward half of the commentariat is saying, “We all know how indulgent they were with Tom, and that’s just evidence of their complicity.”

          Some of us are making the difficult calls, for which we get no thanks whatsoever. And some of us are in the bleachers, cheering for our team. We’re not exactly playing the same roles here.Report

          • aaron david in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Well, I don’t know what to say about that exactly, other than 1. thank you Jason, you do good work, and take a pasting for it. And 2. Diversity of opinion is a hard thing to maintain, especially on the internet. I think the League as a group does a good job of attempting the later, and I simply would like to see it stay that way.
            And thank you for being willing to talk about something that must be fairly hard on you guys.Report

            • MFarmer in reply to aaron david says:

              Now, get back in the bleachers and yell for your team as the Serious Managers do the hard work of fairness and hard-decision-making. I think we should all take a minute to acknowledge their sacrifice. There, now that that’s over, let’s move along.Report

  7. DensityDuck says:

    In parting, I note that Alex Knapp is still on the masthead.

    (And yes, I know that post was a joke, but it was in reference to similar activity.)Report

  8. Michael Drew says:

    I had my issues with Tom. There were times I wanted him to decide this place wasn’t for him, and there were times I respected his knowledge and arguments. I had started to like and appreciate him more since that excellent post-election vidcast among folks in and concerned with the GOP. It was hard not to often think on net hurt the discussion here more than helping it. Nevertheless, it’s a loss in its way. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the absence of his distinctiveness will be noticed for a while in any case.

    Tom, if you happen to read this: best to you. I hope to be able to soon read your thoughts in a venue that’s a comfortable fit for everyone involved. (Not guaranteeing I will be able to do so regularly, but I do hope you find a place to continue to express your views publicly if that is your wish.)Report

  9. LWA (Liberal With Attitude) says:

    Sorry to see TVD leave.

    Having a pretty thick hide, I wasn’t bothered by his style, but I can see how it didn’t fit in with the atmosphere the editors were striving for. Then again, I could be a house troll at Ace O Spades so I may not be the best judge.Report

    • Morzer in reply to LWA (Liberal With Attitude) says:

      No real conservative reads such new-fangled things as blogs. In fact, le tout commentariat at the red state blogs consists of liberals in fake beards with strangely deep voices pretending to be Republicans while waiting for some poor teabagger to say the word “Jehovah”.Report

  10. North says:

    I’m sorry to hear it. I assume he’s not banned from commenting but I would assume also he wouldn’t feel like doing so nor would I blame him.
    I’m sorry it turned out poorly.
    Also we probably do need some more conservatives around here. What about cloning Tim?Report

    • Rtod in reply to North says:

      You are correct that he is not banned; just no longer a contributor.Report

    • Chris in reply to North says:

      I think we’ve got a fair amount of conservatives, but we don’t have many social conservatives specifically. Tom and Tim, and once upon a time Bob, are/were the only real frequent socially conservative posters/commenters around these parts. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Even if there were only a few people to the left of center around these parts, this is not the sort of place that typically attracts social conservatives.

      To the old PLers, whatever happened to Collin? Now there’s a social conservative who could really piss people off.Report

      • North in reply to Chris says:

        I don’t remember Collin myself.
        Though if we’re talking about people who are gone and missed what ever happened to Roque Neuveu (I’ve mangled his handle I think)? By God(ess) if you wanted to talk anything related to Latin American politics he knew -everything- and he knew plenty about everything else too.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Chris says:

        Socially conservative in what way?

        I’m pro-life (and so are at least a couple other people on this site, though more who can write well on the subject are always welcome), and generally lean towards cultural conservatism in my ideas on sexual mores and the like. I believe it’s entirely appropriate for the government to fund religious schools and religious charities (including hospitals), and that those institutions should not be required to violate their religion in order to receive funding. Those, along with gay marriage, seem to be the central issues that come up around “social conservatism” in the US political context.

        I can see why this site doesn’t have (that I’ve seen) any anti-SSM contributors, because several of its major contributors are gay and I think debates about SSM are easier to have when you don’t have to address your arguments to people for whom it’s a directly personal, rather than moral/theoretical/philosophical, issue. I don’t think there is any post or argument against SSM that could provide an effective counterpoint to Russell’s pre-election one on the Maine referendum.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

          SSM is a socially conservative institution. Pair up! Buy a house! Adopt some kids! Teach them to pair up and buy a house!!!

          What’s more socially conservative than sitting in the parlor with the kids listening to Crosby, Stills, and Nash singing “Our House”?

          It’s the theocons who ruin everything.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

      Also we probably do need some more conservatives around here. What about cloning Tim?

      Conservatives aren’t big on human cloning.


    • James Hanley in reply to North says:

      What about cloning Tim?

      Erik’s going to have to put a lot more effort into fundraising then.Report

  11. Freddie says:

    If it wasn’t controversial, what fun would it be?

    Keep up the good work, you guys. You’ve really built something here. Controversy is just a consequence of that.Report

  12. Plinko says:

    I’ll miss a lot of things Tom contributed. I wish he’d been less committed to trolling.

    If he doesn’t stick around the comments, I’ll need a new gravatar.Report

  13. Michelle says:

    I’ve been away for a few days and apparently missed all the fireworks.

    I was of mixed minds about Tom. On occasion, I found him amusing and insightful, but generally I found him purposely obtuse, as if he were writing in a code only he could understand, one open to various interpretations, none of which would ever be quite right. At which point, Tom would get pissed because you misinterpreted him.

    Ah well. These partings of the way are difficult but not unusual within Internet communities. Thanks to the editors for making what had to be a very tough decision. Best wishes to Tom. May he find a writing venue better suited to his proclivities.Report

    • M.A. in reply to Michelle says:

      On occasion, I found him amusing and insightful, but generally I found him purposely obtuse, as if he were writing in a code only he could understand, one open to various interpretations, none of which would ever be quite right.

      That’s very insightful and I can certainly see the perspective. Whenever I’d discuss what conservatives were actually saying (via the radio talk shows and other parts of the right-wing media bubble), he’d accuse me of arguing against the “low hanging fruit” or arguing against people who weren’t actually conservatives-according-to-the-Book-Of-Tom. Started with my very first guest article on the matter, if my memory’s working correctly.

      It got pretty infuriating. Argue against the meme that 25 different radio hosts have all been repeating for 4 days straight? “Oh, that’s not conservatism, you’re just going after the low hanging fruit, you should argue against real conservative thinkers instead.”

      A part of me thinks Tom might have actually believed that, might actually have believed that there was some grand higher conservatism that transcended the pettiness and hate-mongering that defines the field today. I, of course, disagree.

      A part of me thinks Tom might have just been stirring things up for the lulz, that he in fact did find the same things I was pointing out to be offensive on some level but was deliberately circling the wagons and rather than accept that movement conservatism has it wrong, wanted to create his own environment where the strongest criticism he’d ever have to offer was that movement conservatism today isn’t “real conservatism.”

      But then we have the posts like this, in which he defends Rush Limbaugh, or this.

      I suppose at this point the blog editors are very happy that the two-links limit is in place, because I could go on with many more links. Equally disturbing in my view was Tom’s habit when outmatched of declaring victory followed by “peace, I’m out” and a unilateral disengagement while leaving standing questions devastating to what passed for his case unanswered. That, more than anything, makes me think he was really just trolling at least on those occasions.Report

      • DRS in reply to M.A. says:

        He refused to participate in discussions, preferring to throw out flash cards with non sequiters on them and then duck behind a shield of condescending victimhood when confronted with a more articulate poster like Blaise or Mike S. And if the purpose of a website like this is to have discussions, he put himself on the sidelines every time.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to DRS says:

          In a way, this ejection is the best outcome for him; he now has solid evidence (or “solid” “evidence”) for his victimhood.Report

  14. James Hanley says:

    There’s a reason I have something of a bitter tone about this whole thing. After Jason joined the League, I came over with two other of his former co-bloggers. I resigned shortly after, and the powers-that-be took that opportunity to summarily dismiss the other two guys as well, because, apparently, they didn’t “fit right.” I still feel ashamed and embarrassed to have been the unwitting catalyst for the abrupt dismissal of two fine contributors who’d done absolutely nothing wrong (I’d rather have been summarily dismissed myself than to have been forced into that role). And then to see Tom Van Dyke, with all the behaviors he exhibited, be kept on so long, well, it certainly appeared that he must have “fit” the League better than did two much finer men. If the editors found this decision stressful, I’ll admit to feeling a grim sense of justice.Report

    • Chris in reply to James Hanley says:

      This is a good point. Maybe D.A. should have been more socially conservative. Then they’d have kept him around, for balance.

      Seriously, though, this place would have been better for having D.A. around. And I say this as someone who disagrees with like 90% of what that man says.Report

    • At the time that all happened, I had assumed that the other two left in a huff because you had quit. I later since learned your (and presumably their) side of the story.

      It is possible that the editors at the time had posted a notice about the dismissal of Messrs. Rowe and Ridgely, but I didn’t see it. And the fact that the editors dismissed them while keeping on the person in question leaves a rather raw taste about an otherwise commendable community. (I’ll also say that a comment Mr. Rowe made at Volokh Conspiracy several years ago prompted me to click on his name’s link to “positive liberty,” which is what introduced me to that site. I followed him (and you and Mr. Ridgely) to one best way and then to hear.)

      Nobody’s perfect, and I’m glad I continued reading the League. And I should confess that I haven’t once (yet) donated to the site’s upkeep, although I seriously considered donating during the last fundraising drive. Therefore, perhaps I have less standing to complain.Report

  15. Damon says:

    Well that sucks. I’ll miss Tom. I always enjoy people who generate “drama” especially if I think the “other side” has it comming-for whatever reason that may be.

    Vigorous debate, even when it’s turns nasty is, in my opinion, always better than none. Silencing the dissenter just reinforces the other’s side that it’s all an echo chamber. That being said, drama can be extremly tiring so I can understand the need to achive resolution on it. I guess that means I’ll be sorry to see him go, but understand the action. Best of luck Tom.Report

    • Chris in reply to Damon says:

      I’m starting to think we live in this strange world where the only way there can be a difference of opinion in our country is if we have conservatives in addition to whoever else we have. I mean, the heated discussions that have taken place on this blog recently in posts by James Hanley and Jason Kuznicki are not indications that this place is anything but an echo chamber, because disagreements between liberals and people who aren’t liberals but aren’t conservative aren’t real disagreements.

      Also, that League Cast of all of the League Republicans/conservatives, that included only Tom, was really kind of awkward, right? What with him just talking to himself and all, because there are no conservatives here.Report

  16. KatherineMW says:

    Thank you.

    I believe there is a difference between censorship and quality management. My issue with Tom’s posts was not simply that I disagreed with them (I disagree with a lot of people on this site, but still find them interesting to read at least sometimes) but that they were typically factually inaccurate or highly twisted the facts, and you can’t have a good discussion on something when there isn’t some common ground regarding what is and is not factually true. This was pretty tightly wound together with frequent spouting of talking points in place of actual thoughtful discussion. My other issue was the degree of offensive bigotry displayed in some of the posts.

    By hosting someone’s posts (as opposed to comments) a site at least implicitly endorses the quality and value of what they have to say: they state that it’s worth reading, regardless of whether they agree with it. A site that believes in a high quality of discourse shouldn’t do that for hack-ish posts, and a respectable (or ‘courteous’, or ‘gentlemanly’) site shouldn’t endorse bigotry.

    I think this site is a better place due to the change.Report

  17. Ryan Noonan says:

    I don’t come around here all that much any more, so it’s hard for me take a victory lap about this. Still, I think the League is better off for it. Now I can get back to agreeing with Jason and Hanley all the time.Report

  18. Michael Cain says:

    I sympathize with the editors — kicking someone out is always a difficult decision.

    Tom sometimes wrote things that made me think harder about what I believed, and I appreciate that. Of late, though, I found myself more likely to simply skip over his comments and the responses to them, particularly the farther down the thread I got. I’m sure I missed at least some things I should have read, and I regret that. I sincerely hope the editors can find a solid conservative voice to replace him.Report

  19. bradp says:

    So I missed some of this, and I’m a little confused. Nothing about that post seemed out of the ordinary for TVD.

    Was it the “din’t”?Report

  20. Citizen says:

    I enjoyed Toms style. From here it looks like the echo chamber got a little smaller and another window was bricked over.Report

  21. Jon Rowe says:

    I’ll vouch for James’ story, but add one note. At the time we all agreed not to disclose that DA and I were summarily dismissed to downplay any drama.Report

  22. ThirteenthLetter says:

    So this is that “epistemic closure” I’ve been hearing so much about lately.Report