Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm struck by the frequently shallow thinking of those who post spontaneous, often vitriolic comments to on-line news stories.

Could there be a hip-shot pathology at work?

For reasons you will learn in a moment, I call the phenomenon "Babcockery."

What prompts my sharing this thought is a near-instantaneous response to an on-line Oregonian story involving me. The first (and so far, only) comment on the story labels me a "socialist."

I can live with that, however untrue — or true, but it does make me curious about the mind set of my accuser.

The story that prompted the "socialist" charge is by Oregonian stringer Rebecca Koffman. The reporting was posted just an hour ago and immediately drew the "socialist" accusation from one "Babcock."

The story is about a petition drive intended to discourage Chase Bank from opening another branch in Hillsdale. I am correctly cited and quoted as the drive's organizer. You can read Koffman's story HERE. Babcock's comment is at the bottom of it.

By the way, if you live in or near near Hillsdale, you can sign the petition at the new Tré Bone pet supply around the corner from the Post Office and next to the Chinese restaurant.

Back to "Babcock" and "Babcockery".....

Apparently opposing JPMorganChase Bank, certainly a capitalistic icon (recently saved by the American taxpayer) makes me a "socialist."

The term "socialism" is notoriously hard to pin down. HERE is Wikipedia's attempt, which comes with a host of caveats. I'm certain some part of the term fits me. And probably you. I dare say that a sizable portion of "Babcock" is socialistic. Did he go to public school? Does he drive on the public streets? Is he protected by the police? By our military?

I also happen to be a capitalist in that I publish a little on-line newspaper. It is modestly supported by my fellow capitalistic Hillsdale sponsors and by community good will. In my semi-retirement, I volunteer my time to it and give most of the money it generates back to the community. No government money comes in the door. You can see The Hillsdale News HERE.

I'll add that some of my dearest colleagues are, well, capitalists. I venture that most who have signed the dread "socialistic" petition are too.

So where does that leave the likes of "Babcock"? Consider the "socialistic" military.

As I look around at our economy for signs of socialism, the one that jumps out at me is our military-industrial complex. Strangely the Babcocks of the world give the military and defense contractors a free pass.

Why don't they attach dashed-off comments to stories about defense contracts? "Clearly Boeing is run by socialists." "The joint chiefs of staff are all socialists." "If you enlist in the armed forces, you are an obvious socialist."

I have no explanation for Babcockery. I hope a "Babcock" will read this and explain. I also hope that my new term for this behavior enters the language.

What is "Babcockery"? Definition: "Reactionary, ill-considered, accusatory (and frequently ad hominem) on-line responses to news or opinion."

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