While strolling casually through the internet, I came across this argument in response to Elizabeth Moon’s controversial blog post. Unfortunately, I forget who this quote came from (I can only assume some kind of leftist maniac!), and so I can only ask that the author forgive my quoting without attribution:
A Response to Elizabeth Moon (partial fragment)
There is, of course, more than one way to be a failure as a human being, but this is a form of failure very popular at the moment and–as it has considerable power to make others miserable–it’s one I’m particularly aware of right now.
Because citizens have another business, besides whatever pays their rent…the business of a citizen is the welfare of the nation.
…a citizen is a success–as a citizen–inasmuch as that individual makes things better. . . . anything that harms the nation–brands those who do it as unsuccessful, bad, citizens.
Which brings me, on this particular day, to the aftermaths of Elizabeth’s post on 9/11. And, in line with that, the vexed question of the blog post and the responsibilities of authors in general.
We have always had trouble with authors. Every new group that has hit the slushpile has been greeted with distrust (and often responded badly) until it showed that it was willing and able to contribute something readers and convention goers wanted.
In order for the convention-going community to accept large numbers of authors, authors must be willing and able to change, to merge with the receiving population. The new place isn’t the old place; the new conventions aren’t the old conventions. “Acceptance” is a multi-directional communications grid. Authors that self-isolate, that determinedly distinguish themselves by their blog posts, will not be accepted as readily as those that plunge into the mainstream. In a multi-author society like ours, authors need to go beyond nature. That includes those who by their history find it least comfortable.
To get along, authors must try not to do those things which will, sure as eggs is eggs, create friction, distrust, and dislike. Is this a limitation on their freedom? Yes.
An author from the U.S. must grasp that if the dominant culture’s members are causing people a lot of grief (bombing civilians in Afghanistan, beating up Muslim people because of their religion, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.
It is hard to believe that the author of the post did not know that–did not anticipate it–and was not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy. If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture of Wiscon.
Some authors fail to recognize how much forbearance they’ve had.