Good ol' Rhyd Wildermuth made a remarkable request the other day. I'm not going to get into an examination of the whole thing, especially since Lucius Svartwulf Helsen did such a wonderful job doing so. But I do want to focus on the specific request that Rhyd makes, especially since it's so extraordinary in context:
However, can I ask you another favor? If you read someone else talking about something I've written first, could you try to give me the benefit of the doubt? If something I've written seems dangerous or violent, could you consider taking a brief pause and asking whether or not that perception was influenced in any way by someone else?Yes, you read that correctly. Rhyd Wildermuth, of all people, is asking to be given the benefit of the doubt. He, of all people, is saying to take his words at face value, and not read them through the lens of other peoples' preconceptions about him.
Which is something I find absolutely extraordinary, since Rhyd has made something of a hobby over the last year or so of doing exactly the opposite, especially in regards to folkish Heathenry.
When the Asatru Folk Assembly explicitly states that people who hate other races aren't welcome, Rhyd isn't willing to take them at face value. He doesn't give them the benefit of the doubt. Just the opposite; he encourages people to believe exactly the opposite of what their plain words say.
When it's pointed out that Stephen McNallen banned Nazis from the original AFA back in the 1970's, Rhyd isn't willing to take that at face value. He doesn't give McNallen the benefit of the doubt. Just the opposite; he explicitly calls McNallen a fascist, despite the fact that he was taking anti-fascist stances before Rhyd was even born.
And it goes beyond Asatru, too. Did Rhyd give the benefit of the doubt in his "Confronting the New Right" post* when he said that Dianics were vulnerable to the New Right because they believe in biological gender? Did he give the benefit of the doubt to the Druids, Tribalists, Reconstructionists, and Devotional Polytheists, because they put things other than his ideals of egalitarianism and social justice first and foremost?
He did not.
And yet here he is, crawling on his rhetorical knees, asking to be given precisely the benefit of the doubt that he has consistently failed to give to any of his targets.
Such hypocrisy does not deserve to be rewarded. He can't beat people over the head with innuendo, guilt by association, stretching the meaning of words, and ultimately saying that people mean the exact opposite of what they say, and then turn around and ask to be given the benefit of the doubt.
His behavior to date does not warrant such respect.
You want to be given the benefit of the doubt, Rhyd? You first.
* The one that started a lot of the current conversation but which, perhaps not surprisingly, been removed from the front page of the Gods and Radicals website; Rhyd does know when to downplay something that blows up in his face, but he's canny enough not to take it down entirely, for fear of the Streisand Effect. Fortunately the old links still work (for now - but don't worry, I've got copies, just in case).