Reality is a wonderful thing. Actually, the only thing. Show me something that isn't real, and I'll say "You've shown me nothing."
And that's what some commenters on this blog want to do: pretend they've got a fact in their hand when all they possess is an empty palm of subjectivity.
Which, I'll admit, is something real.
But reality comes in two main varieties, communal/objective and individual/subjective. Both are wonderful, admirable, essential, inescapable. It's when an attempt is made to pass off one as the other that I, as moderator of this blog, rule "No way!"
Global warming and Obama's birth certificate are a couple of examples. Human-caused global warming is a fact. So is President Obama being born in Hawaii.
These sorts of facts are communal. They can't be hijacked by anybody. Or at least, they shouldn't be. Politicians, almost always right-wing in this country, do try to proclaim what a fact is without demonstrable evidence to back up their assertion.
Such as...North Carolina legislators hope to pass a law requiring that global warming science be ignored when calculating the future sea level on the state's shores. Crazy.
I'm not interested in contributing to that sort of disrespect of our communal reality.
So that's why I don't publish comments that are clearly at odds with the facts. If a commenter has solid evidence that human-caused global warming isn't happening, publish it in a peer-reviewed journal. Maybe you'll get a Nobel prize. Likewise, if a commenter has solid evidence that Obama's birth certificate is fake, release it. Maybe you'll guarantee Romney's election.
But if all you have are links to some crazy non-factual web sites, forget about using this blog as your soap box.
Because what the world needs now (and always) are people willing to agree on basic facts, even if they disagree about what the facts mean. This is how political discourse moves from meaningless name-calling to reasonable debate.
The Earth is warming. Because of what we humans are doing. These facts have to be agreed upon before we can discuss what this means. Maybe you think global warming will benefit people. OK, I disagree. Let's each bring out our arguments.
But if you want to ignore the scientific consensus about global climate change, there's no basis for an intelligent discussion.
If we each have seen a movie, we can talk about what we liked and disliked about it. However, if I demand that you seriously consider my opinion about a movie that I'm clueless about, you have a right to say, "You're acting crazy."
Craziness can be fun, but not when it is masquerading as reality. That way lies madness, when someone demands that other people embrace their unreal view of the world. If you like country music, fine. I don't. We can agree to disagree about our likes.
Opinions are different from facts. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts. Sometimes the line is blurry between them. With issues like global warming and Obama's birthplace, the line is clear.
Which is why I won't allow comments on this blog that try to pass off opinion as fact, when the facts are crystal-clear. Yes, facts can change. Until this occurs, though, a fact is a fact, and an opinion is an opinion.
Human-caused global warming is a fact. So is Obama's U.S. citizenship. If you want to say otherwise on the WWW, do it someplace other than this blog.