Long time readers of my blog know that I do not ascribe to the doctrine of rabbinic infallibility. I believe that it is possible for gedolim, including Rav Shteinman to be in error*. So, if you believe that Rav Shteinman is wrong, I have no problem with someone marshaling forth their arguments and making their case, even forcefully.
But there's a very clear and distinct line between forceful, civil disagreement and outright disrespect and outright demonization --- and the people in this video completely blew past that line. To call someone who is generally acknowledged to be one of the greatest living sages extremely wicked and to use the epithet "y'mach sh'mo" -- an epithet reserved for only the most reviled people in history is, in my humble opinion, completely and utterly beyond the pale.
I can't help but think that their version of "shivim panim laTorah" (that there are seventy facets to the Torah) is similar to Henry Ford's idea of choice of color for the Model-T -- the customer can "have any color so long as it's black." It's one thing to believe that your path is legitimate. It's quite something else to believe that only your own narrow ideology is correct and that anyone even slightly outside it is not just wrong, but a wicked person whose name deserved to be wiped out.
Interestingly enough, I see the same thing happening in other places as well. For example, in a recent thread on the YWN Coffeeroom, a discussion cropped up about the recent earthquake and Hurricane Irene both hitting the northeastern United States in such close proximity. Some posters felt that there was a Divine message there. One poster (ronrsr) stated that it was mere coincidence. Another poster decided to attack that position by saying:
sorry, ronrsr, to call this a coincidence is pure apikorsus
Let's leave aside the fact that that ronrsr's respondent clearly doesn't know what constitutes apikorsus. What disturbs me far more than his ignorance is the fact that the respondent sees no possible middle ground between his own opinion and heresy. In his eyes, it seems, it's not possible to simply be wrong (let alone have an alternate, legitimate opinion). Instead of being incorrect, his disputant has to be labelled as an apikorus -- possibly the worst designation you can give to a Jew.
Whatever happened to the idea of respectful disagreement? Whatever happened to the idea that someone could be wrong but they don't have to be demonized? In short, what ever happened to common civility?
* I personally don't know enough about the issue to say whether Rav Shteinman is right or wrong on the issue. The issue here is not whether Rav Shteinman is right or wrong, just that it is within the realm of possibility that he is wrong.