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A good cup of Joe

The other morning I woke up badly in need of coffee.  It had been a long night of barking dogs in Yunguilla (part of the occasional “joy” of having a house in the country).

I stumbled out to the kitchen and prepared a 6-cup batch of Joe, and went and turned on the shower, figuring I would have a hot, steaming cup of one of God’s gifts to man when I finished my morning bathing routine.

But my day was not to start off so well.  When I got dried off and headed into the kitchen, I found a coffee pot filled with 2 cups of Joe, and an orange kitchen rug that had a nice Rorschach-style lake of coffee sitting on it.

Apparently my cheap Coral coffee-maker had a somewhat less than one-year lifespan to it.  It had decided halfway through brewing that it liked the idea of sending the scalding black water out of the bottom of the machine rather than through the top and onward into the coffee pot.

Well, I counted myself lucky that at least I could get that first large cup into me so that I had the energy to clean the rug.  Afterwards, I pulled out our back-up coffee maker to brew another pot for myself and Codie (for when she got out of the shower).  But of course it couldn’t be that easy.

You see the first coffee pot used a coffee filter that was shaped like a cone with a flattened end.  The second one used paper filters.  Which I didn’t have.  I had two coffee makers but only one filter that was useless in what would (I hoped anyway) be my actual working coffee maker.

So I had to resort to the old standard back up filter…the paper towel.  It had always worked for me in college, so I had no reason to think it wouldn’t work for me in my quest for a full pot of coffee that morning.  But I didn’t take into account that my Ecuadorian paper towels were not quite as efficient as the ones I used in my youth.

I did get a pot of coffee though this new filter, but it came with a lot of grounds.  The paper towel filter had worked enough to get me more of my morning fix, but it just didn’t keep out all of the bad stuff.

Nonetheless, at that point I settled for what I had and told myself that sometimes you just have to take what the filters give you.

It was a good lesson for me that helped me put things into better perspective this week.  You see, after last week’s column, we received what may have been a record number of comments.  And my request that the haters stop being critical of others (because they think they are smarter than them) just fell on deaf ears.  They didn’t use their names and they didn’t stop from calling other people stupid.

And it’s really a shame.  Because like my final cup of Joe, all of us got here after many filters being applied to us.  We are all a unique group of people.  We came from all walks of life, many different places and with many different views.

Yet, there was something inside all of us that drove us to become expatriates.  Something that made us unique from almost everyone we knew in our former lives.  We got filtered out among our circle of acquaintances and deiced to leave our home countries.  Then we got filtered again to decide that Latin America would be where we headed.  And again filtered to get to Ecuador and again to get to Cuenca.

We came though so many filters to get here.  So we are all SO MUCH ALIKE in the really, really, big and important things.  But at the very last filtering, before we got poured into this cup of Azuay’ s mountains, some of us came out from the top and ended up in the pot and some of us landed in the lake on the rug.

And that is what is stupid.  There is no reason we can’t all be civil to each other, because we are all part of the same batch.  We are all expatriates and that should bring us closer to each other than anything else that separates us.  And while someone will call me “Pollyannaish” again, I simply don’t see why political views or anything else should cause some of us to be so rude, obnoxious and boorish to each other.

But I’m going to keep fighting against it, because I think it is worth doing.  So, the next time you might feel like telling me I’m a jerk or an ass, how about stopping by the restaurant and having a cup of Joe with me?  We can have a civil discussion and maybe agree to disagree or maybe, just maybe, see that we have more common ground than not.  That would be cool.

I’m just sayin.’

48 thoughts on “A good cup of Joe

  1. Artfully said, and made my morning (with the industrial sludge I call coffee). I love banter. I love witty repartee. I love the free wheeling give-and-take of political commentary. And I agree there should be no room for personal insults.

  2. As usual Michael I find myself trying to agree with you, and I do…….with one or two exceptions. We DID all come here through various filters and we DO have a lot in common because of those sieves. For me, however, there would need to be at least one more filter……. one that filters out racism and bigotry. I did not accept “kinship” with people who practice those “values” in the USA and I do not accept any kinship with them in Ecuador or anywhere else.

    I don’t believe in any supernatural forces, but I can have rational and civil discourse with people who do.
    I do not believe Socialism is evil nor that it equates to Communism, but I can have a civil discussion over a cup of coffee or a glass of whiskey with someone who thinks that Socialism gives government too much control. (of course my first inquiry is “if you believe Socialism is horrible why did you CHOOSE to live in Ecuador”). Fair Question?
    I believe that unbridled greed is NOT a sensible or reasonable basis by which to govern, but I enjoy an intelligent discussion on that topic with Ayn Randers.
    I do not believe that macroeconomics can or should operate under the same principles as “Mom and Dad sitting around the kitchen table balancing their household budget” (microeconomics), but I enjoy discussing the differences with deficit hawks (if there are any left ….sure don’t see them right now in the USA).
    I do not believe that policies that favor the wealthy more and the poor less provide a path to a better society, but let’s talk about it if you disagree.

    I just cannot, however, bring myself to respect or accept the views of racists and bigots, let alone try to have a “rational” discussion about the relative pros, cons, advantages, or disadvantages of racism and bigotry as deeply held values. Nope! Just can’t and won’t do it. Not here. Not there. Not anywhere.

    I live on the coast and thus I won’t be stopping by later for a cup of coffee, but I do plan on taking a road trip to Cuenca in the next few weeks so I will make it a point to take you up on that cup of Jo.

    1. I agree with every one of your comments…with the exception that I do believe in a “supernatural” power. However, that believe does prevent me, in the same fashion you describe, from having logical, reasonable discussions with people who hold different beliefs.

      Thanks for expressing your positions and opinions in such a reasonable, calm and rational manner.

      1. Steve wrote:

        “[T]hat believe (sic) does prevent me, in the same fashion you describe, from having logical, reasonable discussions with people who hold different beliefs.”

        Thanks for (unintentionally?) supporting and further amplifying my point, i.e., different “triggers” for different people rendering them incapable of conducting “logical, reasonable discussions with people who hold different beliefs.”

        And yes, I understand that your comments were directed to Mr. Snow, not me.

    2. I was struggling with how to best express my viewpoint and my reaction to Mr. Soares’ article when Mr. Snow’s comment appeared and provided the perfect springboard.

      Snow gives a laundry list of topics that he says he can discuss rationally and civilly with people of opposing viewpoints. He also describes issues that he can’t and won’t discuss civilly. Snow’s personal “trigger” is racism. For others it’s abortion. Or religion. Or politics. Or foreign policy, war and interventionism. Or climate change.

      Yes, we’re all here in Ecuador but–contrary to Mr. Soares’ contention–we navigated our way through his metaphorical filters for many very different reasons and hold many different [and frequently diametrically opposite] views on issues that we are passionate about and which may be our own personal “triggers.”

      As I contended in my response to Soares’ previous commentary, his Rodney-King-can’t-we-all-get-along entreaty is fine for non-controversial topics like he chooses to publish in the Dispatch. It’s *his* publication and he can run it as he pleases.

      But to expect (demand?) discussion of extremely controversial issues as have recently appeared in CHL to be conducted on a “mother-may-I” polite and courteous level *is*–as much as he dislikes the appellation– pollyannish. With the melding of CHL and the Dispatch, the decision about what news articles to be published will now have to be made with partners who may see the issue differently.

      And–even though I’m not neuroendocrine deficient or in need of “engagement”–I am confident in arguing that the passion some people feel about controversial issues is not because deployment of an alliterative catchphrase has failed to stanch their “chronic, low-grade innate immune activation.”

      1. Yeah, me too. Me too what?

        When I was a kid, there was always some other kid that would try to obfuscate his way through a discussion (or outright argument) with high sounding verbiage and six dollar words. Many casual observers to those discussions were taken in by such arguments and figured that Johnny Obfuscation must have won that argument because they couldn’t understand a word J.O. was saying. But often, Johnny O. was just an emperor without clothes.

        Having much formal training in the fields that our instant emperor alludes to, and not understanding anything he wrote, I suspect I’ve just encountered another guy without clothes that wants to dazzle us with BS.

        As my old pal, W.C. Fields used to say, ““If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

        I hope I’ve stated this observation obliquely enough to not offend the Politically Correct crowd. Hell, I didn’t eve refer to the poster I’m writing about by name, thus mine can’t be considered an ad hominem attack. Or, as my friend Michael Soares would say, I’m just sayin’

  3. Some people just get a kick out of being anonymously rude to others. That’s a combination of the internet and a defective personality. I don’t agree that we are all from the same “batch”. There are at least three batches of expatriates in Ecuador, and then everything in between. One batch are those who are here because they love what this country and it’s people have to offer. Another batch is here because they don’t want to be there, usually for economic or political reasons, probably the most unhappy batch. The third batch are the missionaries who are here to convert the heathen Catholics. I may be missing a batch or two?

  4. Ok, so i don’t understand much of what you said…:)…but I sure do like the logical explanations…and the “physiological” bits and pieces that might help us find another reason for why some people are just downright mean, rude and unsociable.

    Thanks for making me smile…and think about a different approach to the question…even thought that might not have been your primary intention.

    1. “Ok, so i don’t understand much of what you said…:)…but I sure do like the logical explanations..”

      How can you characterize the explanations as logical when you don’t understand the notions on which they are based?

  5. Frankly, I usually disagree with most of your opinions. However, this time you wrote a worthwhile article. Thanks

  6. Michael

    I had that issue with two coffee makers and have many friends with the same problem. A coffee press fixes the issue but we’ve broken the glass twice. The next order is for a large metal coffee press.

    Good luck with the haters!

  7. You pose an interesting question Michael…

    “There is no reason we can’t all be civil to each other, because we are all part of the same batch. ”

    Actually, there is…because some folks just don’t want to be “civil”. I don’t know why…maybe the professional mental health folks could help us understand the anger frequently exhibited in these public forums.

    Speculating on the reasons for why some people are so angry, while interesting and perhaps even entertaining, is probably a wasted effort. As you and others have suggested, one of the primary reasons is probably the anonymity of the net and not having to take public responsibility for one’s comments.

    Anyway, I appreciate the time you spend on this column and enjoy the questions you frequently pose even though I might not always agree with them…in this case I do.

    Good luck to us all.

  8. My thought is that the world would be a kinder place if every email and every post had a cost of one cent, donated to charity through your ISP, and a 10-second delay between hitting “Post” and having that happen.

    Even better would be the requirement, like in debate class, that you had to argue the opposite position, however weakly, in every tenth post. Maybe IFTTT could work out a way to do that.

  9. Wow, so far you have 5 comments and no trolls. Way to go!

    I do wonder what percentage of the trolls would be as obnoxious in person as they are when online. I suspect that it’s a minuscule percent. Why? Because the physical pain (fights) that would frequently occur are no fun.

    1. MH, I don’t think you understand what a troll is. He is not someone that you disagree with, who states his case in a way you find offensive.

      In an unrelated matter, I would offer this observation. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen you allude to the physical retribution you would inflict on someone if they had said to you in person, what they had just directed at you in a post.

      I was raised on the streets of New York and that always makes me think of what an old childhood friend, Claude Brown, would admonish when I expressed the desire to beat the crap out of someone I hadn’t yet met in person or whose physical countenance I had no idea of. He’d say “Kenny, before you engage someone, it is always best to know who you are fuckin’ with”. Google Claude and you may agree that he was qualified to say those words to me. Perhaps there is something in them you might learn from.

  10. This website was a moderated comment section at least 6 months before the merger of the Cuenca dispatch and CHL. You show up bemoaning the lack of civility even though the readers of this website are not subject to those offending comments since they are censored. So why are we subject to your weekly complaints when we are unable to verify or challenge anything you are saying?

    https://cuencahighlife.com/new-comments-policy-explanation-cuencahighlife-staff/

    1. Spot on. Last Wednesday I had lunch with Michael Soares and he confirmed what you just wrote. He told me that I wouldn’t believe how many haters commented on his last article. I told him I hadn’t noticed any such comments and he told me that of course I didn’t————- he had censored them out.

      Everybody knows how I feel about censorship of any sort, but I’ll trot out my Evelyn Beatrice Hall quote anyway:

      I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    2. “Sti11Alive,”

      Let me start by saying that not all uncivil comments are censored. For example, you are allowed to be post, even though oftentimes you are offensive to other posters.

      What are censored are the comments that are so offensive that no one would ever think to say them to someone’s face.

      Nonetheless, that doesn’t make the comments that we allow “okay” to many people.

      Second, I “bemoaned” the topic again because there are still people, like yourself, who continue to insult without posting your name.

      Last, I don’t subject you to “weekly complaints.” You CHOOSE to read my column. If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it. Simple as that.

      Michael

      1. “Last, I don’t subject you to “weekly complaints.” You CHOOSE to read my column. If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t read it. Simple as that.

        Geez, Michael, isn’t it a bit hypocritical to tell Still Alive that, when your words could just as well apply to all the cry babies you are indulging with your censorship? If ANY reader doesn’t like the posts of ANY poster, why not just take direct action yourself and not read them instead of seeking “government” support (yeah, you and Morrill) to stop what you find offensive from being posted at all?

        There are a lot of regular posters on this site that I don’t respect for various reasons, including outright dishonesty, inarticulate writing and personal attacks, but I have never found any post to be so vile that I couldn’t deal with it without enlisting your help through censorship. Frankly, all of these cries for censorship seem awfully puerile to me. Isn’t it time for personal responsibility? Beginning around age 11 my parents let me know that my constant complaints that began “Mom, Carl just…” would no longer be tolerated. Even when I was 5 my mother constantly told me that “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

          1. Libertarian1776,

            Not only do I understand criticism, when it warrants agreement or debate I recognize that.

            This will now be where I say your back-handed insult wasn’t necessary (“Do you think Mr. Soares understands your criticism?”), and where you will argue that you weren’t insulting my intelligence.

            1. You got it, Mr. Soares. And gee, just when I thought we were putting all this behind us.

              What you don’t realize is that I had already edited the text you’re addressing (“Do you think Mr. Soares understands your criticism?”) in an effort to soften my language so as to NOT come across as rude, insensitive, demeaning or offensive.

              Although I don’t recall the exact wording, I think the gist of the comment prior to editing was something like, “Do you think Mr. Soares can see his hypocrisy?” responding to StillWatching’s opening sentence–“Geez, Michael, isn’t it a bit hypocritical to tell Still Alive that,
              when your words could just as well apply to all the cry babies you are
              indulging with your censorship?”
              .

              And yes, responding to your rather back-handed accusation, that was exactly my intention, i.e., to NOT insult your intelligence OR your character. In other words, I deliberately changed the wording to avoid using the word hypocrisy (the use of which which many people would take as an insult).

              It is a common defect of human nature not to see our own faults as others see them, especially when emotionally involved or stressed. Surely you don’t deny that. In fact, that is precisely what I was arguing in response to your Soapbox and Cup of Joe columns, i.e., that people can get riled up over many different issues. In this case, it was a erroneous interpretation of a sentence that was taken as a slap at one’s intelligence.

              And yes, I admit that I could easily be over-reacting in the same manner by taking offense at your (as I am interpreting them) less than respectful remarks, including this one excerpted from another post of yours addressed to me: “I’m asking you (yes, you are certainly one of the people that I consider to be the problem) to not be rude or uncivil to make your point.

              Maybe I’m not intelligent enough to understand the criticism.

              I’m just sayin’.

      2. “What are censored are the comments that are so offensive that no one would ever think to say them to someone’s face.”

        Post the egregious comments here below that I made so that we can study them for their lack of appropriateness.

        Yes, you are right that I choose to read your column just and people choose to read the comments, if they haven’t been censored.

        Here is what Discus says about “guest accounts”

        “Guest commenting is the ability to comment without registration. You may do so anonymously, with a pseudonym, or with your real identity.”

        So I ask you, what steps are you going to take to verify that people are using there real names and not a pseudonym or does that not even matter to you? Just believing somebody is using their real name is sufficient?

        Would it make you feel better if I use a name like this Cuenca blogger who uses a pseudonym and a fake picture of himself (His real name is Steve and he is about 25 years older than the guy in the photo)

        http://paulacee.com/

        You would give the readers of this website much more control over whose comments they read if you were to disable the guest account feature and allow them to suppress the comments of certain profiles.

        Or maybe try what TechCrunch did years back requiring users to comment using their Facebook profile.

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130123/03271121761/techcrunch-admits-that-using-facebook-comments-drove-away-most-their-commenters.shtml

    1. Louis, I have a non-rhetorical question for you; “What is trolling?”

      As I just posited to MountainHombre, it is not someone that you disagree with, who states his case in a way you find offensive.

      I wonder why some of us feel the need for protection from the words of others, while others among us can handle the challenge of concepts we don’t embrace and verbiage we don’t approve of, on our own.

      1. You may be reading more into my comment than I intended. I don’t mean anything other than a dictionary definition of the word. My point was that not all online disagreements can be converted into coffee dates that reach an amiable conclusion. It’s great where they can. Otherwise, someone needs to moderate to keep things abiding by community standards.

  11. Excellent point Michael. Thanks for taking the time and having the resolve to put it in writing. We all deserve better. I’ll gladly be on your team to fight against it, without fighting at all. Thanks again!

    1. Another pair of non-rhetorical questions; Why do you believe “We all deserve better”? and do you really believe that there is a one-size-fits-all “better”?

      In the true story I just told about having lunch with Michael Soares last week, it caused me to wonder how many of the comments that Michael censored out, would I have found enlightening, amusing, entertaining or something I could learn from? I’ll never know, and that is something I view as my loss.

      1. “[I]t caused me to wonder how many of the comments that Michael censored out, would I have found enlightening, amusing, entertaining or something I could learn from? I’ll never know, and that is something I view as my loss.”

        Exactly. The best way to learn, to expand your horizons and to discover the truth is to constantly challenge and question your beliefs by entertaining the thoughts of those who present opinions contrary to your own. Closed-minded people will never progress beyond their own self-imposed limitations.

        Puff pieces about puppy dogs or Boy Scouts helping little old ladies cross the street may be good for making diners feel good, linger longer and order more food/drinks [Mr. Soares’ self-stated reason for The Dispatch and its “no-negative-news” policy] but are useless for learning anything of real value. I sincerely hope that selling more smoothies is not the goal of CHL’s owners.

        The de rigueur rigorous enforcement of political correctness, the proliferation of “safe spaces” and the obsessive catering to snowflakes does not portend well for the future.

        “Trump’s nuking North Korea? Who cares? But hey, Honey, did you read this story about the wife-carrying championship in Finland? Oh, and order another Strawberry Cooler for me, please.”

        1. And here is the perfect spot for me to reiterate the reasons that those who support Racism and Bigotry hold the title of “people I will not engage”. I have seen it, I have evaluated it from all perspectives, and I have made the personal determination that people who hold Racism and Bigotry as “values” will not be in my circle of friends, To me there can be NO justification for their support of such a position. Please understand….I am not saying that no one should be allowed to have those views, I am simply stating that those who do will have no place in my life, neither personally nor professionally nor financially nor as a patron. If you choose to tolerate them that is your business but I will admit that I will lose some modicum of respect for you if you knowingly do so. In my view they SHOULD feel isolated and disrespected by a civil society. Yup….I am close-minded about this one. You said:

          “The best way to learn, to expand your horizons and to discover the truth is to constantly challenge and question your beliefs by entertaining the thoughts of those who present opinions contrary to your own.”

          I have nothing to learn from racists or bigots and I have discovered my “truth” about these issues. If you think there is a reason that I should change this “truth” or my “belief” on these issues please enlighten me as to what that reason could be.

          1. While completely missing the point of my posts, you unwittingly–like Steve–also succeeded in amplifying and proving exactly what I was saying.

            My argument was NOT condoning racism. It was NOT condoning (or condemning, for that matter) atheism, agnosticism or–as you put it–a disbelief in “supernatural forces”. And it was not to shame pro-lifers or those who favor a woman’s right to choose.

            Rather, my argument was two-fold:

            1. Censorship and political correctness stifle enlightenment as well as tolerance, and

            2. Different people have different “triggers” or pet issues that cause them extreme heartburn, to put it politely.

            For you it’s racism. For Steve it’s religion. For others it’s [fill in your favorite trigger here].

            Thanks for your support.

        2. Beautifully stated, Lib. My fervent hope is that it won’t go over the heads of those PC types that need to hear the message.

        3. liberataran1776,

          My would your parents have given you that name? I mean if you feel so sure of yourself to take people’s words on a regular basis and twist them in the wind, why not use the name your parents gave you?

          My point, which you choose to change to things that were never intended, is that smart people can debate and disagree without being rude and obnoxious.

          I am not asking for political correctness, I’m asking you (yes, you are certainly one of the people that I consider to be the problem) to not be rude or uncivil to make your point.

          Take for example what you’ve said above. Your second paragraph said all that needed to be said. It was an intelligent thought out rebuttal to what you understood me to be implying. And it was presented with no animosity toward me.

          But then you felt the need to go into attacking my other business. Further, making accusations about CHL looking to “sell more smoothies” did nothing to enhance your argument. It simply looked foolish.

          I get it, you don’t like me or The Cuenca Dispatch. That’s fine. But you don’t have the right to attack my other business here because of it.

          You want to tell me you don’t like my column, do it here. You want to tell me you don’t like my restaurant, then come see me there and tell me in person.

          As you can see we didn’t censor your comments here. But maybe it is time we stopped our “obsessive catering to” people who disrespect everyone and anything at any chance they get. Because that doesn’t “portend well for the future.”

          Michael

          1. Wow, where to begin?

            Let’s first dispense with the personal stuff:

            I get it, you don’t like me or The Cuenca Dispatch.

            I don’t like or dislike you personally, Mr. Soares. We’ve never formally met and the only way I know of you is through what you write in your columns and the times I have seen you at The Vegetable Bar.

            I will readily admit that The Cuenca Dispatch is not my cup of tea, but that shouldn’t get any objective or rational publisher upset. People have different tastes and there’s no way you can please everybody. It’s your baby and you can do with it as you wish–well, at least it was until the merger.

            [I]f you feel so sure of yourself to take people’s words on a regular basis and twist them in the wind, why not use the name your parents gave you?

            You raise two separate issues here. I’ll deal with the use of a pseudonym first. Although StillWatching has offered one good reason for using a screen name, it’s not why I choose to do so.

            My reason is quite simple.

            I participate in a number of different forums that fall under the Disqus rubric, several of which preceded my involvement with the CHL boards and are of a political nature. I long ago adopted the “libertarian1776” handle for use in those discussion forums.

            You may not be aware of this, but unless a commenter is logged in with Disqus, he can’t edit his comments and he can’t upvote other posts. I suppose I could adopt separate handles for this and other forums, but I like to keep things as simple and easy as possible, ergo, the use of “libertarian1776” across all Disqus forums.

            Furthermore, I like promoting the [lower-case “L” classical liberal] libertarian philosophy and using that pseudonym accomplishes that goal. My apologies if it or its use offends your sensibilities.

            Next point. You accuse me of changing the subject to “things that were never intended” and state that I “take people’s words on a regular basis and twist them in the wind”.

            Your opinion. I’ll leave it to other readers to decide the validity of that accusation. I contend that I stuck to the subject you raised and did my best to explain my views in that regard.

            Where specifically did I go astray?

            You posted an op-ed entitled “Soapbox” on CHL a little over a week ago in which you complained of exactly the same issue as your current “Cup of Joe” article.

            I responded to both articles by contending that (1) CHL and the Dispatch have radically different styles and content, (2) the partners of the two merging entities would have to decide what direction to take the new joint venture, (3) I greatly prefer to read important news rather than safe, fuzzy, “feel-good” fluff, and that (4) edgy, controversial stories like CHL occasionally runs will unavoidably generate passionate and sometimes less than polite comments from its readers.

            Do you dispute any of this, Mr. Soares? Where am I misstating the case?

            The entire thrust of my argument with both your op-eds is this: if you want civil, polite, dispassionate responses to your news stories, continue to run non-controversial puff pieces like you do in the Dispatch. If, OTOH, David wants to continue to run the occasional controversial story and you find that objectionable, post a disclaimer or banner above the story warning readers that they may find some of the comments offensive.

            Let the reader take personal responsibility rather than arbitrarily censoring comments made by people who feel strongly about certain topics.

            Two respondents on this thread made my point for me by admitting that they could not be respectful or civil with people who did not agree with them about racial or religious issues. There are many other “trigger” issues that get people riled up– abortion, gay marriage, transgender issues, politics, US global interventionism…I could go on and on. If you don’t want people to strongly express their views, don’t publish controversial stories. How many times must it be said?

            [Y]ou don’t have the right to attack my other business here

            Please point out where I “attacked your other business.” I can’t find a single passage that does so.

            FWIW, I like your other business. You serve good food. You have a well-trained and attentive wait staff. Your location is convenient. Your facilities are clean and attractive. Your prices are reasonable. I have no problem whatsoever with your “other business.”

            [S]mart people can debate and disagree without being rude and obnoxious.

            StillWatching covered this point very well already so I won’t beat it to death other than to say that “rude and obnoxious” is in the eye of the beholder. Some might find your rejoinder to me to be rude and obnoxious. Go back and re-read what you have written and tell me again who’s more personally impolite and uncivil in what they have written. You, like Messrs. Snow and Feuerbacher have proven my point, i.e., that everybody has certain trigger issues that cause them to “flame” others.

            I’ll thank you as I thanked them.

            Last point. Further, making accusations about CHL looking to “sell more smoothies” did nothing to enhance your argument. It simply looked foolish.

            You totally missed my point. I LIKE the style of CHL. And, as I stated before (and doing my very best to be polite, civil and courteous), the Dispatch is not my cup of tea.

            I DON’T want to lose CHL because of the merger. I have overheard you telling other customers that the “no-negative-news” policy of the Dispatch is to make customers feel good, linger longer and buy more food/drinks.

            I don’t want the more edgy style of CHL to go away in search of the same goal. I find it far more interesting, entertaining, enlightening and pleasurable to read.

            People who choose to ignore important political, social, and philosophical questions bother me far more than those who are educated, concerned, and passionate about current affairs.

            I’ll take intelligent and rude discussion over polite and uninformed any day.

            1. As you espouse the virtues of libertarianism I ask why you choose to live in a democratic socialist country. Why do you not live in a country where the governance is libertarian? Could it be that there is no such place because every time it has been tried it has failed as the personal greed overwhelmed all other principles?
              “I find dishonesty, hypocrisy and crappy writing to be far more offensive than any….”. Isn’t there just a bit of hypocrisy exhibited when one CHOOSES to live in and take advantage of the fruits of a democratic socialist system of governance while loudly championing a near polar opposite structure? Where DO libertarians practice what they preach in the real world?

              1. If you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger, right Mr. Snow?

                Although you’ve wandered far afield of the issue at hand, I’ll try to answer your unrelated questions as politely, civilly and respectfully as possible. We certainly don’t want to send any snowflakes scurrying for their safe spaces, do we?

                As you espouse the virtues of libertarianism I ask why you choose to live in a democratic socialist country.

                I live in el campo, about 30 minutes outside of Cuenca in a very small rural farming community. The social structure, justice system, interpersonal relationships, and governmental organization are as close to a libertarian participatory democracy as you’re ever going to find.

                The community spirit, close-knit families, a priority placed on faith, an overarching sense of right and wrong, and a generous and totally unselfish code of neighbor-helping-neighbor are all reminiscent of the way I remember the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s before LBJ’s Great Society initiative and Guns & Butter policy touched off the tsunami of socialist alphabet programs that followed.

                You would have to look very hard to find anything close to the amount of socialist programs extant here in our little community in comparison to what is so overwhelmingly evident in the United States.

                If this answer isn’t sufficient for you, please let me know. I can write enough on this subject to rival War and Peace if you would like.

                Why do you not live in a country where the governance is libertarian?

                Uh, maybe because there are none.

                Could it be that there is no such place because every time it has been
                tried it has failed as the personal greed overwhelmed all other
                principles?

                I challenge you to name one country in modern history where libertarianism has been tried.

                You can’t.

                Of all the countries in the world, Switzerland has probably the closest thing to a libertarian system (you can read about its canton system here: https://liberty-intl.org/2000/03/the-swiss-cantonal-system-a-model-democracy/). Granted, even though it’s far from being pure libertarian, I think you would be hard pressed to argue against its success.

                Here’s a quote that might answer your question. It’s excerpted from an article entitled “Why Are There No Libertarian Countries?” at https://fee.org/articles/why-are-there-no-libertarian-countries/

                Might it be there are no libertarian “countries” because people like E.
                J. Dionne (who apologize for central power) and people like Lindsey
                Graham (who crave central power) and people like Jeffrey Immelt (who
                benefit financially from central power) belong to a parasitic nexus that
                feeds on the fears and hard work of average citizens? This nexus forms
                through processes generally referred to as “public choice economics.”
                James Buchanan (a libertarian) won a Nobel Prize for explaining how and
                why this process happens, and libertarians understand these dynamics
                better than anyone. Understanding why power corrupts doesn’t make us
                long to have power. It makes us long for a way to dissipate it.

                “I find dishonesty, hypocrisy and crappy writing to be far more
                offensive than any….”. Isn’t there just a bit of hypocrisy exhibited
                when one CHOOSES to live in and take advantage of the fruits of a
                democratic socialist system of governance while loudly championing a
                near polar opposite structure? Where DO libertarians practice what they
                preach in the real world?

                First of all, the quote you cite isn’t mine, although I concur with its sentiments 100%.

                Since there are no libertarian countries on the planet, just where would you suggest I choose to live, Mr. Snow?

                Mars?

                I would dearly love to live in a libertarian country where I could “practice what I preach.” I’ve worked for decades trying to make that happen. But, regrettably, there are far too many people who have been brainwashed since birth to believe in American exceptionalism and have been convinced that they are living in a free society.

                NOTHING could be further from the truth.

                1. This is really good stuff, Lib. I haven’t read snow’s comment because I blocked him ages ago due to his posts being so vapid and he doesn’t deal in the same units of exchange that I do————- facts, logic and reason. That said, based on your reply to him, I have a good idea of what you are responding to and all I can say is that it isn’t worth my time to log out as StillWatching and reading his post directly. Normally, that behavior———— not even reading a post I would denigrate———– would be anathema to me. In this case, I have just taken a practical solution to avoid snow’s nonsense.

                  It is obvious that snow has trotted out the usual statist deflection of “Why do you live in a socialist country if you hate socialism so much”. You have addressed this issue adequately to let it stand for my own feelings. I have felt far less constrained by statist mores here in Ecuador than I ever did in the U.S. You have made that case well.

                  By the way, there are only two posters on this forum that I have blocked. Katherine and snow. I hope that carries its own message. I read every word of what faulkner and burger post, if for no other reason, to be able to point out their lies to other people.

                  1. I hadn’t encountered Mr. Snow’s musings–at least that I can recall–until this most recent spate of hoo-has. Rather than answering any of my responses or challenges, he simply ignores them and moves on to a totally different subject frequently unrelated to the issue at hand. I certainly understand why you have chosen to block him.

                    You said I have felt far less constrained by statist mores here in Ecuador than I ever did in the U.S.. My wife and I came to Ecuador many years ago on our first exploratory visit. On our return flight to the United States we were discussing our impressions when she remarked, “You know what’s weird? I’ve just spent several weeks in what is supposedly a ‘socialist’ country and I felt so much more free than I ever have in the U.S.” And I totally agree with those sentiments.

                    I should have referred Snow to a very short (3 minutes) video clip that sums up my feelings perfectly. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA15mKNjuqI

                    The video is taken from a Q&A session following a July 2013 speech given by Robert Higgs, one of my favorite economists and historians, to a group of college-age students at the Mises Institute. If you’re interested in seeing the entire speech entitled “The State Is Too Dangerous to Tolerate” here’s the link for it:
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RILDjo4EXV8

                    I’m going to transcribe the most germane part of his comments so that maybe Snow will see it. Not that I expect him to understand it or even bother to respond to it intelligently, but also just on the off chance that anyone else is still following this thread.

                    Higg’s comments are in response to a student who asks him what young people should do to counter the increasingly oppressive surveillance state. Here’s the most germane excerpt from his response:

                    If I were in your position, I would consider seriously getting out of this country. Not because I think any other country is a paradise by the way, but because no other country has the means that the government of this country has to carry out these horrifying surveillance programs and other measures of state tyranny. So, I’m going to move [ed. note: he did–to a remote area in Mexico]. I’d suggest you might consider moving somewhere else. And don’t be put off by the fact that other places are not islands of laissez-faire. Many other countries in the world are perfectly awful from the standpoint of the kinds of governments that they have. But thank goodness, those governments are poorer!

                    How very true.

            2. Another huge “bravo!” Libertarian. You have used facts, logic, reason and articulate writing to make your points and I hope it elicits a similar response from Michael. Let others read this discourse and decide for themselves what to believe.

            3. I don’t have the time to go through each line of what you’ve written and to comment on them.

              I will just clarify this, what you heard me tell another customer was that we STARTED the newspaper as “The Vegetable dis-Patch” (an obvious play on words) to give people something to read while they ate, feel good about where there where and what they were doing, and of course with the hope that it kept them longer at the tables and they had more food or drink.

              So yes, you are correct on that issue.

              HOWEVER, we then found that people enjoyed it and wanted more. So, over a few months the Vegetable dis-Patch morphed into a newspaper. The Cuenca Dispatch. The name was changed and the focus became building it as a news product.

              The goals of The Cuenca Dispatch and CHL are not to “sell more smoothies.” The goal(s) are to provide news to our readers, albeit sometimes different audiences with different tastes.

              You’re barbs of “puff pieces” and “fuzzy feel-good” fluff means you haven’t been reading us lately. Did any other news organization that you know of in Cuenca do a full-page front-page story on the Odebrecht scandal (January 14)? Was it a “puff” piece? Did anyone else publish a front-page story on what is going on with Bellgenica (February 11)? Did you notice that we ignored the law about not publishing political stories within 2 days of a national election (February 4)?

              We do stay away from stories that are sensationalized, but we do print negative stories. Just because we don’t write stories that shout from the rafters doesn’t mean we don’t take what we are doing seriously.

              As for your statement that you weren’t attacking my other business, snide remarks like “Oh, and order another Strawberry Cooler for me, please,” really are personal attacks. I have to think you knew that when you wrote it.

              Even with that said, I do appreciate your comments on the restaurant above.

              Finally, it seems that everyone in this thread seems to think that we are the “thought police.” We are not. We censor vulgarity and personal attacks. That’s a far cry from restricting other peoples ability to learn from what is written.

              Calling people words that need to be spelled like this , “you’re a f*&%^ing as(#@$^*le,” really has no place in this blog.

              [Let me clarify to everyone, I AM NOT suggesting that libertarian1776 has used those words. But others have.]

              Even so, some of that slips though our fingers.

              That’s all I wanted to say.

              1. Thanks for your reply Michael. First of all, it looks like I owe you an apology for an apparent mischaracterization of the Dispatch’s news policy.

                To be perfectly honest, I hardly ever read the Dispatch so yes, I didn’t catch the articles you cite. I don’t make it into Cuenca very often, and rarely see your paper other than the times I visit your restaurant. On those occasions it has not proven to be of great interest to me but–as I stated previously–my tastes are admittedly different than most and there’s no one-size-fits-all style of journalism that will please everyone. If you are now including more typical news stories then great, my apologies and I’ll happily take another look at your new product.

                I’m glad that you have softened your attempt to shame commenters into more civil, dispassionate submissions, regardless of the subject being debated. I’ve beaten that complaint to a bloody pulp so there’s no need to reprise my feelings on that issue. Thanks for the clarification that was heretofore lacking and thanks for your subtle, nuanced shift in your view on that subject.

                From today’s op-ed (“Consider Calvin and Hobbes”), it looks like you have finally fired your last salvos on this subject and are prepared to silence your guns. With that, I’ll do the same, sit back, and enjoy the truce.

                And FWIW, you can well imagine what this libertarian’s view of Thomas Hobbes would be: $#@%^$#

                1. Thank you for the above email. Like you, i would like to sit back and enjoy the truce. My prickly reply you mention was written before this one.

                  So no need for this thread to continue. At least not in the manner it has.

                  1. Agreed.

                    The literary sword is going back in its scabbard.

                    I’m going to sit back, read the news and have a big cup of joe. Hope you can enjoy doing the same.

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