You can advocate something horrible, as did Volokh, or you can write a dunderheaded piece of analysis, as did the former Wonkette, and be in fine standing with Kleiman. But heaven help you if you personally attack anyone! To Kleiman, that is the crying sin which won’t be tolerated! Especially if you use naughty words! Mark A. Kleiman is restrained — he even says he’s just as angry (i.e. morally outraged at BushCo.) as Atrios, he just doesn’t let it get the “better” of him. Plainly, Kleiman sees himself as a cool customer who doesn’t let partisan anger, or any kind of moral revulsion for that matter, influence his tough political analyses, which are obviously so logically-tight that Brainiac or HAL-9000 would fry their circuits from sheer envy.He goes on to provide an example:
Still skeptical? Let me show you. Let’s say you — well, you have a Randroid nutjob who says that people should whack anti-war protestors with 2×4s. The normal response is to condemn said Randroid as a morally-degenerate asshat. But no, that would be incivil, and we can’t have that. Rather, one must calmly engage the “really bad suggestion” — thus making it legitimate, as if it’s just another policy proposal to yay or nay. And for good measure, when the decent people reply in kind (the moral equivalent of turning the other fist to Galt’s argument) the Sensible Liberal decides then that “[d]ebate’s over. Time to go home. Your opponents can make you angry, but it takes people who are (at least in a given argument) on your side to make you ashamed.” How’s that for even-handedness? Galt advocated violence, the nasty Atriots cussed her in e-mails for it. And the Atriots are the bad guys. But then Galt’s suggestion was indecent, which Kleiman can find time for, while the Atriots were incivil, which he finds, of course, to be beyond the pale.
I used to read Klienman though his blog fell off my radar when I reorganized my bloglines. We do however have to be wary of confusing "moderate tone" with decency or thoughtfulness.