I had recently went into a few differences I’d seen between what Maher was raked over the coals for, and what Kathy Griffin was taken to task for.

I didn’t clarify why I’m actually OK with campaigning against Kathy Griffin, or similar outrage against Aslan at CNN.

It comes down to this saying:

When I am weak I am for free speech because that is your principle. When I am strong I am against free speech because it is my principle.

I had discussed the golden rule of late, and the deeper I dig in, the deeper it applies. Maher has consistently been an obnoxious man who pisses people off and occasionally says something insightful or funny. While I haven’t regularly watched his show in a while, I don’t recall him holding a guest to a standard he hasn’t applied to himself. Ms Griffin on the other hand had repeatedly declared what her standard of behavior was, notably with her vitriol directed at Sarah Palin after the Arizon shooting of Giffords, for using “target icons”. For her, it’s perfectly OK to rail against and smear people she’s politically opposed to.

The “right” – especially traditional conservatives, have for a long time treated the left as they claim they themselves wish to be treated, in the simpler version of the golden rule that is treated as “don’t be mean beacause you don’t want people to do things that hurt you.”

As I’ve pointed out, opening that way corresponds to the opening move of the iterated prisoners dilemma – play “nice” and see if the guy takes advantage of you or not.

The problem is that in the minds of bullies, bowing to their wishes is seen as weakness, as permission to go further. In their minds, you are accepting their dominance over them. And no matter how much you dress it up as taking the moral high road, unless you counter them, you are. So when they screw you over, and over, and over, and you continue to play “nice” – you are declaring to them that you accept that behavior. You are declaring this to the bullies, and by example, to the observers, that you are willing to be a victim. They won’t change until something makes taking advantage of you impractical.

So yes, fighting back, using their tactics and standards against them – Alinsky style – is perfectly OK because they have openly declared by their own behavior that they consider it acceptable to treat others that way if they can get away with it. When they scream bloody murder at the right finally punching back, they acknowledge they know they are doing wrong, and are taking advantage of their enemies and the right because they can, because we have let them.

It’s time to teach them the consequences of treating people that way.