Subject: Admin: ad hominem
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 12:21:15 -0700

Dan, you write:

Sune, I am unsubscribing you for the following ad-hominem: 

Subject: Moderator welcomes known liar back to the WC-show. 

Previously you were unsubscribed on 2/25/00 for attempting to track a subscriber, and on 7/31/01 for an ad hominem. You have shown yourself incapable of carrying on a respectful two-way discussion. You'll have to be satisfied with preaching to your own audience from your web site.


You're the moderator and do as you like with the list. I understand your motive for unsubscribing me. But your expressed argument for doing it are, I think, not tenable to the extent that they refer to the expressed rules for the list, being:

*The list is a free-speech public forum, having only two main rules:

1) No ad hominem arguments. This means that you speak freely about the topics, but not about the other subscribers.

2) All posts must be about Waldorf education or its foundation, Anthroposophy. Do not post non-Waldorf jokes, heart-rending appeals about the Taliban, etc.*

You express as argument for unsubscribing me:

1. I tried to track a subscriber on 25 Feb last year.

That is not correct. 

I did not try to track a subscriber. I tried to understand the gender of the seemingly Indian 'name' 'Heytawin', as that was a subject for discussion on the list, to see if it was a male or a female name and then described the result; that it seemed to be difficult do find out what it meant in plain English and if it normally referred to males or females. 

I therefore jokingly pointed to the main result; that there was a cat on the net named 'Heytawin' and that the gender of 'Heytawin' therefore in the continuing discussion should be assumed to be 'cat'.

For that you unsubscribed me from the list, demanding that I apologize to the person in questions, which I had no problem with as I had no evil intention whatsoever towards, probably 'her'.

[Comment after this mail to Mr. Dugan: Even Michael Kopp, the most ferocious waldorf-critics on the list at the time, and that you later kicked off the list, protested against the forced unsubscription from the WC for a week for the reason given by Mr. Dugan, to ponder on my 'list rule violation'.]

2. I attacked you using an ad hominem (argument) on 31 July this year. seems to describe what 'ad hominems' arguments are quite well. The page in question describes the three major forms of "Ad Hominem" arguments; abusive, circumstantial and tu quoque. (See page).

[Added comment after this mail to Mr. Dugan: The page mentioned seems to have moved to this URL. Also, the mail was not a comment on Mr. Dugan, but on the 'thought police' that he repeatedly implicitly had argued for the creation of on the WC-list.

But the lawsuit he and "PLANS' pursue aginst two school districts in California since 1998 shows that the thought of himself acting like the thought police he seemingly seems to lack is not foreign to him, awaiting the 'thought police' he has expressed that he thinks really should be there, somewhere ...]

What you describe as the "ad hominem" (argument) by me was a(n ironic) comment I added to an earlier posting by myself: on the Russian Michael Chekhov (nephew of Anton Chekov), who had had Stanislavski and Rudolf Steiner (more) as his main inspirators. I wrote:
Subject: Re: Rudolf Steiner in Hollywood .-))
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 08:15:11 GMT
From: Sune Nordwall <> ...
What would Hollywood American movie industry have been without Rudolf Steiner and eurythmy ;-))
And what would it have been with the McCarthy thought police a la Fahrenheit 451 dreamed about and expressly longed for by the secretary and main pillar of of PLANS, hunting down any hideous Russian in sight and depriving people of their  licences to work on the basis of what books they read?

As bad as European drama ... ;-)

Sune Nordwall
Stockholm, Sweden

Is this an 'ad hominem' in any of the senses described above? That is, is it an argument of the type:

1. "You may argue that God doesn't exist, but you are just a fat idiot. (ad hominem abusive)" ?


The posting is an ironic comment arguing:

a) You have twice on the WC-list  (Thu, 28 Jan 1999 12:27:58 -0800 and 1 Jul 2001 00:13:59 -0700) expressed as your opinion that physicians who study 'anthroposophical literature' should be deprived of their licences to practice medicine solely on the basis of reading anthroposophical literature.

b) That would require the institutionalisation of a thought police of the type described in its classical form in the work "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury.

c) In the 1950s' such a thought police for a time came to expression in the McCarthy 'hearings', trying to trace anyone in especially show business who could be suspected of having the slightest tendency to think in terms of 'justice' or 'solidarity' as done in socialist or communist circles.

d) Your way of expressing this opinion seems to indicate that you think it should apply to all professions.

e) Michael Chekhov was a Russian, who both had read Steiner extensively and worked as a drama teacher to a number of (later) famous Hollywood stars (like Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner, Clint Eastwood, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and many others).

f) If your implicitly on this list argued for thought police in the tradition of Fahrenheit 451 and McCarthy, depriving people of their professional licences on the basis of what literature they read had been a reality, what would Hollywood have been today, as so many of its famous stars had learnt so much from this man who had read Rudolf Steiner?

It does not argue on the basis of your personality, saying out of the blue that your're simply a demagogue like McCarthy, who was a bad guy hunting down commies everywhere, and as you are like him, you probably would have deprived M Chekhov of his work permit as he was not only Russian but also had read Steiner, which would have left Hollywood unnoticed today.

It expressly refers to and argues primarily on the basis of what you yourself have expressed as opinion on this list. That that opinion puts you not far from the tradition of Bradbury's thought police and McCarthy is primarily your problem, but as you express the opinion I refer to, you make it a problem for me too.

It simply says:
What would have happened if something you implicitly had argued for on this list had been a reality, and describing what that is that you seem to long for. It attacks you, primarily on the basis of your expressed argument, not primarily on the basis of your personality, even if you felt offended by my pointing out the nature of your argument in perspective.

The argument is therefore not an 'ad hominem' argument of the first type (ad hominem abusive) as you maybe feel inclined to imply.

Neither is it an 'ad hominem' argument of a circumstantial type, nor of the tu quoque type as exeplified above.

If you want to assert that it is an 'ad hominem' argument of another type that I'm not aware of, as an argument for having unsubscribed me on 31 July this year, I'd be glad and grateful to learn about it.

3. It is an implied 'ad hominem' argument to write: 'Moderator welcomes known liar back to the WC-show'

Again, as can be seen from the posting and the description here of the nature of the 'ad hominem' argument' that I assume you're thinking of; ad hominem abusive, it is not an 'ad hominem' argument arguing that what PS says is untrue because he is a liar.

The subject is a description of PS as he has published himself on your site and on this list, based on the arguments documented in the links in the posting. 

The posting says, pointing to a number of pages reproducing material from this list and different publications, that demonstrably show that PS lies in his first article at the site of PLANS (more), that you as moderator of this list know this in welcoming him back to this list, as well as probably most on this list, and that you thereby as moderator of this list welcomes back someone whom you know demonstrably lies at your/PLANS' site and that he therefore in the context of this list can be called a 'known liar'.

The subject attacks PS not on the basis of his personality or attacks his personality instead of the arguments he has puts forth. It is a summarising argument within the context of this list of what is argued more extensively in the material pointed to in the links.

For this untruthful material, you have only expressed at the site of PLANS that you don't take any responsibility for any untruths that can be found in it. Knowing about its untruthfulness, your comment at the site probably to many stand out as interesting in terms of the credibility of PLANS.

As to the term 'WC-show' in the subject line, maybe that can be considered an 'ad hominem' 'argument', as it refers to an earlier posting in which I only mentioned not only the Lake and Jones, but also the Springer show as something to which I think the wc-list is related to, at least in periods under your moderating eye, without arguing it more extensively.

As such it may be considered an implicit 'ad hominem' argument, to which I confess.

That would justify the recent last unsubscription from the list, but not a permanent unsubscription, according to the present rules, as the two former ones were unfounded to the extent that they were based on more explicit rules.

As to the other two, I understand your motive for doing it, but think the present and former rules don't cover it.

Why not write as rule:

Discussion must be carried out in a respectful way and implement the rule strictly after one warning?

But then, I assume that that suggestion is something for which you would unsubscribe me too, having promised to do it after having admitted that you considered the throwing of a pie in the face of unexpecting people who's view one disapproved of to be an expression of the essence of 'Freedom of speech'... ;-))

So, I assume a general implementation of a strict demand for 'respectful discussion' not is to be expected from the wc-list ?-)


Sune Nordwall,
Stockholm, Sweden

(Slightly edited July 2002 and the beginning of 2005)

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