I've decided to 'create my own history' and change things (like jobs - I've rotated!). That means an end to my infamous 'lunchhours' infront of a web connected PC and that means an end to what must be well over a year of posting to all you lovely people. Sure I may do a Red Deathy and come back now and then - how could I resist? But I think that would be rare.
I think I've learned a lot from taking part here, from an originally 'typical libertarian' viewpoint I have come to understand why other views differ, and even see the value in many of those views even if I don't agree with the conclusion (or more over, fear the actual consequences of putting socialism into practice). So over those months I started to take posting here more seriously started dropping pointless exchanges and getting to the nitty gritty. It's been good.
Whilst I am not in receipt of an Oscar I will do some 'thank yous';
McSpotlight: One of the best political forums - thanks for providing it. Its fairly 'small' in terms of the number of posters and this seems to make it more of a local club where one might meet the same people regularly, a familiar place, most pleasant - it engages one with the desire to see responses.
Red Deathy: I did enjoy our multi million thread exchanges and your non-confrontational manner in explaining things. I certainly picked up a lot from you and we're left with the core difference - as you put into words with "at heart you're a hard-core individualist, and cannot envisage cultural/environmental determinism.". Best wishes to you - hope you get a role you enjoy too.
SDF: Despite various rocky disagreements I liked many of your posts and some of the links (you hold the record for links to dieoff.org). Your promotion of consensual democracy over majoritarian democracy is something I've taken with me, albeit with a few reservations.
Lark: We've had some good ones haven't we! You are a man of passion and your defiance of authority, regardless of where it comes from, is very Proudhon. I'm not sure how you can combine that with reformism though. Good luck to you Lark, enjoy what's to come.
NJ: Your knowledge on various international matters has always shone a light on events, even as I saw them differently. Many a 'USA is best, blow em up' type conservative has fallen over when faced with your knowledge and that's a healthy thing. I don't think voting for the 'most liberal' candidate will ever bring you what you want though. Get an honours in your studies won't you, but be prepared to do some road sweeping if you want socialism rather than anarchism!
Barry Stoller: After some rough exchanges I think we were beginning to find areas where discussion was possible - even if it wasn't going to lead to any conversions the exchange of ideas has been most instructive. You have represented the most rigorously consistent Marxist socialism without shying from its *full* suite of necessary consequences for people's lives. That takes courage. You summed up our major philosophical difference in our views of history and causality, so I am unlikely to agree with you but that doesn't mean I don't respect your consistent stand.
All in all - I hope y'all continue to learn and have fun here.
Advice for both 'sides'. Don't proceed from assumptions about the other debater's 'package' philosophy. People have mistaken me for conservative - whilst I know I wouldn't get one conservative vote (nor any corporate backing!). Also not all people on the 'left' have the same positions. There are many more scales than right/left. And people are not always what you think they 'ought' to be from their words. I imagine many of you saw me as a typical 'white middle class American male'. Reality can be a very surprising thing ;-)
McSpotlight: Thanks a lot for your efforts in posting here, Gee. While I may not agree with your political views in person, it takes courage and persistence to defend your views in a Left-dominated debating room; and dignity to do it without resorting to acrimony (too many times, at any rate...).
The Debating Rooms will be the less for your absence.