There has been some controversy lately on the Isaac Brock Society with some people posting and making comments that some others find just go too far. I’ve struggled with this myself, as I personally don’t agree with some of the parallels drawn, some of the wording used, and I am frankly uncomfortable with some of the thoughts expressed.
From what I understand, the Isaac Brock Society was formed as place of support and resources for US persons affected by the United States government, particularly as it pertains to the travails of the US model of citizenship-based taxation. And that certainly seemed to be the focus when I first found this site back in February. In the words of the founder, Petros,“The Isaac Brock Society started as an informal group of Canadians who began meeting in person and through email to discuss their US tax and citizenship problems.”
Scrolling back through all of the posts, past or present, I find they do manage a tie-in to either the plight of US persons abroad, or the issue of citizenship-based taxation. Over the last couple of months, in my opinion, the focus has become fuzzy, with some of the later posts using what I consider pretty specious reasoning in linking back to the original issues.
For several months, after I first found the site, I think I was almost addicted, visiting many, many times every day. Checking for updates was the first thing I did in the morning, and the last thing I did at night. Part of that was likely because I was still in shock and was in vacuum cleaner mode, hoovering up all the information I could find, and part of it was the relief in finding out that I wasn’t alone, and that there was a large group out there that understood, were empathetic and had much more information than I did. I will never forget what this site did for me in the first few months of finding out that the US probably still considers me a US citizen.
I haven’t been quite so engaged the last couple of months.
The shock has worn off and I’ve realized that this is going to be a long haul, with no quick, and certainly no easy, resolution. So, sure, that’s part of it, I no longer feel compelled to haunt the site looking for something that will magically make it go away.
I think the larger reason, though, is that I don’t always like what I read here. Frankly, way back in the early days, I wasn’t comfortable with the term ‘jihad’ being used in the context it’s being used at Isaac Brock. But, I learned to live with it and no longer find it as jarring as I once did, and I realized that I just mentally skip over it.
One of the more controversial issues lately has been the drawing of parallels to the Nazis and, in particular, the video of Hitler, with the subtitles. I do not equate what the US is doing to what the Nazis did. However, I have to guiltily admit I found the subtitled video very funny, and just didn’t read any subtext into it, political, racist or otherwise. Perhaps it wasn’t in the best taste, but then often humour just isn’t. (I love George Carlin, too.)
I’m a moderate, always have been, and suspect I always will be. I just don’t see anything wrong with moderation, with compromise, with tempering one’s words. I think that’s what it takes to live successfully in a society, to live (relatively) peacefully with other humans. And that’s how I speak, and I write, and pretty much how I live my life.
This site was founded because of censorship at another site, a perfect example of something good that can come out of something bad.
I fully support the right of people to express themselves as they see fit, even if I disagree with them, or the way they’re saying it. Sometimes the back and forth arguing over the controversial issues actually makes me think a little bit harder about my position, and my uncomfortableness, and where that might be coming from, and that’s not such a bad thing. A little self-analysis can be positive.
Do these radicalized posts and statements (as I see them) diminish the importance of the Isaac Brock Society to me? I can only be honest and say, yes, a little bit, but not very much.
Most of the people posting and commenting on the site are intelligent, articulate, empathetic, and well meaning. Those that I consider in that light will be the people I continue to read. I have my favourites, as I’m sure everyone does, and just the fact that they continue to post and comment will be enough to draw me back.
So, I will keep visiting the Isaac Brock Society. I may take exception to some of the posts. I may or may not find it worthwhile to comment on them. Depending upon the nature and tone of future posts, I may reduce the number of my visits, and I know I’ll just skip some of the posts, and I’ll skim read through some of the comments.
At the end of the day it’s my choice on whether I read them or whether I let someone’s words bother me. I’ve decided that I will just accept that we are simply not going to all agree with one another, and that the important thing to remember is that, at the end of the day, we all have a common cause, no matter how it’s expressed.