someone named Roger Sweeny says in comments,
"I came to this page via a Google search for "Buffalo Commons" and stayed for the rest. A few posts above, you said, "you don't need to be mean, bitter, or contemptuous to be radical." but you sure don't sound like you believe it."
ouch! spot on. i still think I can save myself here, though. first off, the comment about radicals and how they should behave was directed specifically to radicals' behavior toward each other, and toward others who are trying to be their allies. i should have stated that a bit more clearly.
secondly, i guess i was thinking about the way people talk to each other, as opposed to some mythical necessity to respect *ideas* that are insupportable. when i meet conservatives on the street, i'm pretty nice to them unless they, y'know, spit on me or something. i even have conservative friends, to whom i think it's very important to listen. i know how hard it is to have grown up with lots of "that's just wrong" in the background.
anyway (this works like constitutionally protected libel, folks!), i reserve the right to be mean, bitter and contemptuous toward bad ideas and public figures who have done wrong. i don't reserve the right to be nasty to people who are trying to have an honest conversation about issues of import.