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June 06, 2009


Bloody hell.

All sympathy. What a bloody stupid thing to do.

I hope whatever trouble Ed Whelan thinks he can kick up with this is all for him, and none for you.

What an unbelievable dick.

I hope this doesn't cause you to withdraw, I enjoy your writing immensely.

Frankly, you should file a civil suit against him, if for no other reason than to make him spend time and money responding. If that's the game these scumbags want to play, make them go all in.

BTW, can Slarti or someone who has a talent for tracking IPs in comments confirm whether our "mr. moto" and "lsd-etc." in the other thread are in fact likely to be Mr Whelan? So long as he's in the process of embarrassing himself in public, might as well help him along.

I dont know who ed is, but he doesn't seem very smart. These mean tricks almost always bite back.

What a jackass.

I'll second Hank P's comment. This is BS, and I hope it doesn't cause you to stop blogging. Whelan should be ashamed, if he's capable of it.

"Now who's the hitman," he asks, after outing you without permission.

Um... that would still be him.

Nice to know he has wit to go along with his honesty and class.

Ed Whelan is a petty man.

I think I'm detecting the beginning of the end of the widespread use of pseudonyms in the blogosphere. Relying on netiquette will not work with people like Ed Whelan.

It's a god damned shame, really.

Agree with Phil on the civil suit, but am of several minds about the causes of action. Defamation? Interference with Business Relations? Emotional Distress is probably out, since publius is putting on a brave face.

On the facts, though, it seems that there should be something -- or several things -- right on the money. It's been too long since the bar for me to have it on the tip of my tongue, but . . . Whelan cannot be unaware of many reasons why people blog anonymously. He also -- by the time he posted -- knew you were a law professor, and as a lawyer himself (allegedly) should have been able to divine a million reasons why you would want to continue anonymously. His claim that cowardice is the sole reason is pretextual. He outed you for the sole reason that he thought you would be hurt in your profession. If his purpose is to damage publius' professional reputation whether he succeeded is immaterial, correct?

Also ,it's particularly rich that Ed (and by and through his sock puppets) seems to think that this is a response to some unwarranted, over the top, and outside the bounds attack by publius. He seems to think that "ad hominem" is a phrase that he alone gets to determine the meaning of. Most hilariously, he seems to think he's not exactly what Anonymous Liberal described him to be, despite his pitch perfect demonstration of the accuracy of that description.

And now he's adding sock puppetry to his resume. Oh well, Lee Siegel was getting lonely.

Well, as one of those folks who's been reading you since (no joke) sometime in late 2003/early 2004 (my RA when I was a freshman in college recommended Legal Fiction), I can say that the only difference for me is that I'll know who to buy a drink when I'm in Houston.

Let me add to the sympathy above, though. Truly a dick move, Eddy W.

Whelan should be ashamed, if he's capable of it.

Oh, he's not. Nor are Malkin, or Trevino, or any of the numerous other WATBs who revel in revealing the real names of pseudonymous bloggers or other such personal information.

Even worse, there will be no consequence for Whelan aside from some embarrassment in the blogosphere. NRO won't chastise him or punish him, he won't suffer professionally, nothing.

For the record, Ed Whelan is a coward AND an idiot AND an incompetent hitman. He'd be a better hitman if he weren't such a coward and an idiot.

If "mr moto" and others who supported Whelan's argument are not in fact just his sock-puppets - is this really your hero? Is this really how you think people ought to behave? Really?

Finally: National Review. Sigh. Is this your idea of responsible journalism? Really?


Don't worry, you'll always be "that damned Wildcat Blue-Mist son of a bitch" to me. ;]

And SOT have you seen NR's latest cover?


Buckley would roll in his grave at the sophomoric editorial direction his magazine is taking.

Whelan has made a strong effort here, but he will have to try harder if he wants to be the principal embarrassment for the National Review this week. the competition is just so talented.

John WHO??

Don't worry, you'll always be "publius" to us -- lower-case and all...

And did I miss something, how come Edward_ (or should that be "Mr. Underscore"?) got in the middle?

Stay publius, publius.

No, really. That's your name, to a lot of us. Who admire how you think, even when we think you're wrong. Who like the premises, and the conclusions, you choose, for their comprehensiveness and their thoughtfulness.

I'll echo what Jay said... who is this John fellow?

Crap, if I started using my "real" name, nobody would know who the Hell I was either. Not after 20 years of being Elf Sternberg.

So you just go on being publius. We like you that way.

It might be possible to find all this moral indignation a little less laughable if there was even the slightest chance that the outing of a pseudonymous conservative blogger would register anything other than high fives all around among this group.

I'm guessing Ed doesn't really think pseudonymity is the coward's way. After all, the guy he just outed used a handle cribbed from our Founding Freakin' Fathers. If it was good enough for John Jay, if it was good enough for Hamilton, it's more than good enough for the likes of Ed Whelan.

Also as to a possible civil suit, I know it looks petty, but there are in fact larger principles involved. Pseudonymity is a great boon to the blogosphere, as it allowes a quick response time by knowledgable people who otherwise would not -- for personal or professional reasons -- be inclined to enter a public debate. An international relations academic without tenure might not like to see his blog posts under his own name, since he didn't edit and re-edit them, and didn't cite to enough primary sources. But in the context of an evolving debate -- say over the recent Russia-Georgia fracas -- informed opinion is essential. Some folks can swing it under their own line (Drezner, the LGM folks) and some can't (or think they can't, or don't think they want to test the theory). It narrows the debate considerably to ignore the reality of people's careers just to get a cheap shot in.

I confess that I take a little bit of a gumshoe pride in sniffing out the clues to pseudonymous bloggers -- the little hints they drop over time and such. Some are extremely circumspect, others aren't. Publius isn't. He blogged about his move from BigLaw to academia, about his undergrad and law school experience, and where those were, and also about what was going on in Houston. It's not that hard to figure out who he is. If Ed just wanted to put a face to the guy he thought was attacking him, it was easy enough to do.

But pseudonymity is not anonymity. It is a compact. The adoption of a pseudonym is an indication that unwanted consequences might follow from revelation of identity. It does not mean the complete stripping of personality -- and, as I said, publius didn't really hide very well, to his credit. But you sacrifice a little as well -- in particular, you sacrifice the weight of authority your experience and position might otherwise lend to your opinion. The other side of the compact is that those of us who find publius' writing valuable (and I have since long before he came to ObWi) respect the pseudonymity, and perhaps we discount ever so slightly his opinion because he has elected pseudonymity. Not that we are obliged to, of course. It is, for me, more that his arguments stand on their own.

And in that respect, pseudonymity is a benefit to the reader as well. The authority has been ceded --- everything lives and dies on the quality of the writing itself. If there is to be any benefit to the growth of blogs, it is precisely that authoritative voices are forced to stand on their own merits. This is a problem for some, who attained authority without the writing chops to support it. For others, it is a challenge. Pseudonymity makes the tubes more interesting, more challenging, and far more fun than they would be otherwise.

So yes, there is a larger purpose. There is a non-silly reason to sue Whelan and his puppets, sock and otherwise. Protect what we've got, what we've built, what we've made. Not just liberals, but all of us who look to the tubes for lively and challenging debate. Ed, being more concerned with disingenuous obfuscation, can't hang with others critiquing his work, and I get that. Lively debate ain't his thing. Diff'rent strokes and all that. But he's trying to trample our thing, this thing, and he shouldn't be allowed to (and yes, I am aware of what "our thing" translates to, and I'm trying to stick with Ed's hitman theme)

Oh, my. I have nothing to say, other than this Ed Whelan fellow is minus six sigma or so on the making-friends-and-influencing-people distribution.

Sorry, publius. I would have much rather that not have happened.

mr. moto,
You clearly haven't been around this blog. While there are entire blogs full of unreasoning liberal partisans entirely comfortable in their hypocrisies, this is not one of them. The most frequent and best-known poster here is a philosophy professor who specializes in ethics, and she behaves accordingly and strongly encourages an ethical commentariat. While the blog tilts sharply to the left, this was not always the case, and the blog retains some conservative commenters and even some conservative front-pagers. Despite your baseless claim, it is unthinkable that any of the front-pagers or that many of the frequent commenters would indeed celebrate the outing of a pseudonymous conservative blogger absent some quite impressive demonstration that the pseudonymous conservative in question had abused their pseudonymity.

Indeed, two of the front-pagers are pseudonymous conservative bloggers; as of today, they are the only front-pagers who are pseudonymous and whose identities have not been outed.

I invite you to stick around and have your prejudices tested - although I encourage you not to speak whereof you do not know.

It might be possible to find all this moral indignation a little less laughable if there was even the slightest chance that the outing of a pseudonymous conservative blogger would register anything other than high fives. . .

Yah, and your speculation, Ed, would be a little less laughable if such a thing had ever happened, which it hasn't, because . . . wait for it . . . most people respect the pseudonymous choice, even of conservative bloggers. And their sock puppets.

Please keep up the good work, publius, however you choose to do it!

I'm sorry you were outed. Whelan is the kind of jerk whose finest hour would have been an early abortion. To call him a 'dick' is an insult to a useful and enjoyable body part :)

I sincerely hope being outed won't make trouble for you in your professional life. I mean, Jesus H Christ, professors Reynolds and Althouse - on their own blogs, under their own names - consistently embarrass themselves by showing off their intellectual and moral bankruptcy, and SFAIK neither one has suffered any professional harm for it. If anyone gives you any hell at all, fight back.

Please continue to blog as publius, because taking a classical nom de plume to discuss "the public thing" is traditional, appropriate, and classy.

Ed, I know you're reading this, so I'd just like to take this opportunity to tell you that the world is a meaner place for your having lived in it.


Yes. Keep going as publius, for CaseyL's reasons.

I'm not going to say anything about other commenters other than Ed's IP and theirs differ substantially.

Which proves nothing, really.

I'd be inclined to ban Ed, based on what he's done, but I think the possibility of more comments by him might be entertaining.

Dear god, no, don't ban him! He might not come back and be stupid any more!

The idea that there was any sort of code of honor among federalists and anti-federalists and later among federalists and democratic-republicans by which they all respected each other's pseudonymous anonymity is absurd. On the contrary, they were constantly speculating and blaming as to the true identity of all the various pamphleteers and newspaper writers.

Didn't say there was a code of honor. Said they chose to write things pseudonymously. Seems relevant. Got something against the Founders, mr. moto?

That was sort of the point, C.S.

It's pretty clear Whelan lashed out in a vicious, cowardly manner because he was unable to respond to the substance of the criticism. I know NR has sadly declined since the days of Buckley, who generally had more class than the current crop. But perhaps it's worth registering a complaint there about Whelan's contemptible behavior.

This is a serious breech of blogger etiquette, and honest conservatives should find it odious as well. He didn't just do it as an independent blogger on an obscure blog, either; he did it under the auspices of NR. If enough people speak out about their disgust to NR, maybe Whelan will feel the heat. He deserves it.

It was poor form on Whelan's part, to say the least. You can read my take here:


and yet it's pretty much par for the course, given that he worked for that gang of thugs and incompetents that was the bush crime syndicate.

heckuva job, eddie.

Grotesque. Whelan is clearly a petulant little creep who is furious about being shown up. What a sad little man.

It's pretty clear Whelan lashed out in a vicious, cowardly manner because he was unable to respond to the substance of the criticism.

It wasn't even much a criticism, either. Which makes Whelan's inability to respond so much more the act of a thin-skinned bully.

I don't think I noticed this sentiment expressed, but in addition to the pleasure you would be denying us by retiring, publius (yes, "publius"), you would also be essentially rewarding a scurrilous act. The only way to prevent Whelan from profiting from the act is to keep posting. QED.

"And you would think that someone who spends their days trying to destroy other people’s reputations in dishonest and inflammatory ways wouldn’t be so childish and thin-skinned."

Actually, that's precisely what I'd expect from them ... and, at least in this case, my presumption appears to be validated.

"It might be possible to find all this moral indignation a little less laughable if there was even the slightest chance that the outing of a pseudonymous conservative blogger would register anything other than high fives all around among this group."

It would help if your statements had some connection to reality. The number of posts made on this site about the wrongness of outing pseudonymous bloggers without good cause is a large number. Nobody has ever said that it should be done because of political ilk; it's been many times said that would be wrong.

So, you know, try not making up a claim that's so easily refuted. I won't even bother to dig up the many links to such posts and comments for someone who can't be bothered to support their false accusations with any cites themselves.

It's funny how he approves of Jonathan Adler's posts, when Adler himself blogged for some years under the pseudonym "Juan non-Volokh".

John Cole's take.

Well, I for one am totally disappointed: I thought for sure that publius was a 400 pound long haired guy with a goatee...something like a fat Shaggy.

From the relatively conservative point of view that began reading you at Legal Fiction, I can't imagine that there is anything you have ever written that could cause you embarassment: it has always been well thought out and measured. I am sorry that you have been unwillingly exposed, but I believe that it will more likely be an aid to your professional life since you have shown great restraint as well as great insight for years.

Thanks for the work, and keep at it.

martin makes good point, publius.

if you stop blogging, the punks will have won.

john cole also makes a good point, noting that only the right-wing front-pagers here at obwi have been able to retain their anonymity. the progressives have been outed.

maybe 'cause it's right-wingers who are doing the outing. huh.

it's kinda like the way that right-wingers in this country are always quicker to resort to violence when they don't get their way through legal means.

Whelan has a propensity to demand apologies or go for personal attacks when bloggers say mean things about him. Andrew Sullivan gave in too quickly.

Sorry, correct Sullivan link.

a) I twenty-third the motion that Whelan is an ass.

b) By still posting as publius you at least maintain a casual screen of pseudonymity - it wouldn't stand up to any probing, but random students taking your courses would at least be less likely to trip across your blog posts when they Google your email address or whatever.

I wholeheartedly agree with the general tenor of these comments, except to the extent they claim NR is in some sort of decline. It was always laughable, and Whelan fits right in.

Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Lopez, Donald Luskin - who in the world can take this publication seriously?

Anyway, JFTR, Whelan is clearly an a**hole.

Yea, just stay publius.
I'll forget your real name in a few days anyway.

It is pretty cute that Whelan is "the current President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center" . Leaving aside the perverse use of the word "ethics" in the name of any organization that would have as its president a member of the Bush OLC even without his record of unethical personal intrusions and unhinged declarations, it is interesting that the apparent position of the organization is literally More Catholic Than The Pope - and that's even keeping in mind that Pope Ratzi is a candidate having the most aptly rhyming nickname for any pope ever.

What Bernard said. It's hilarious that some apparently think that Buckley wouldn't have approved of Whelan's actions.

You don't say.

I'm a STCL grad myself - 2007. Great school.

The petty troll's profile with contact info is here: http://www.eppc.org/scholars/scholarID.68/scholar.asp. So sad because it appears he was once a serious lawyer but is now a degenerate hack.

Wow. Ed Whelan has now surpassed John Edward.

Im a fan Ed but you have screwed the pooch here. Remember back to what you and I probably agreed was a bunch of bs kind of like this, Joe the Plumber. if you are like me you were pretty pissed when reporters tried to protect Obama by investigating the hell out of this guy and the only thing he had done wrong was embarrass Obama. He didnt have that coming and neither did this publius guy. You know you screwed up here. You should have responded to his points on the merits and maybe had some fun poking at him for using a pseudonym. Exposing him was bullying.

Rumor has it that when Rick Santorum said "man on dog" in an interview, he had himself and Ed Whelan in mind.

Sorry to hear about this, JB. Your secret identity lasted far longer than I expected -- but what a rude, petty stunt by Whelan.

It will be interesting to see if your students notice the event. If they don't, you may as well keep posting as publius. It's not as though you ever say anything under that nom de plume that should give a tenure committee pause anyway. At worst, the passion and intellectual integrity you have consistently displayed here will help you elsewhere. Best of luck, and regards to the family.

(posted this once under my own name)

dude... i always thought you were totally cool.... after checking our your bio, you're twice as cool as i thought you were!!!! "write" on!

Sorry to hear, p.

I once talked someone down from a threat of such, but of course it hangs over the head. Very very sad.

Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts with us. Try not to sweat the cobags.

What's really bizarre is that Whelan is the head of a center on ethics and public policy. (See http://www.eppc.org/scholars/scholarID.68/scholar.asp on M. Edward Whelan III.) He never says why he considers you "irresponsible" beyond his dislike of criticism.

The ethics of outing someone who does not want their name revealed because one is experiencing pique is quite shaky. Whelan's ethical stance comes down to "you made me mad, now I'm going to get you back."

RE: National Review, well, I can't remember ever agreeing with anything I've ever read in it, but it does seem to me that the quality of the writing and overall intellectual caliber of it has declined over the years. Not that they weren't always wrong -- it just seems like they used to be more artfully wrong.

I briefly met Buckley once, and he didn't seem like the kind of guy who would approve of a low-life knee-capping like this. (Perhaps Gore Vidal would disagree.) It's certainly possible I misread him.

At any rate, Whelan is a cretin of the lowest order. I sincerely hope his inexcusable breech of blogging etiquette draws widespread condemnation. It was cowardly and wrong.

I think we should address the substantive argument: while policy considerations are part of judicial decision making, liberal jurists (critical legal theorists, legal realists,etc.) see policy considerations in constitutional interpretation and statutory constructon as being of equal or greater value in reaching a decision than the framers' or legislative's original intent. Conservatives (strict constructionists) consider policy matters subordinate to textual support, framer's writings and precedent. What did TVA v. Hill hold?

Liberal Justices have used policy to legislate. Look at Miranda rights, the exclusionary rule, Gideon, and most significantly: Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade was not decide based on any constitutional basis, it was fashioned from the whole cloth of judicial policy making. What was the basis of the opinion? Rights which emanate from the penumbra of the Constitution. Huh? The sole precedent relied on in Roe was based on one single expansive policy based case about the distribution of contraceptives which created a newly judicially minted right of privacy.

Regardless of your beliefs of whether banning abortion is good policy or not, you cannot reach the conclusion reached in Roe without creating a constitutional right that simply would not exist unless the Supreme Court placed policy making above any reasonable constitutional construction or reasoning.

Jurisprudence is what the debate should be about, not petty egos and name calling on either side.

"Ed Whelan is a petty man."

You give him too much credit. Whelan's behavior is that of a poorly-raised child. A man would not behave that way -- petty or no.

Bill Rehnquist, I think you're in the wrong thread - this thread is about Whelan's action, or perhaps more broadly about the ethics of pseudonymity. The previous thread, although significantly hijacked by Whelan's comment and the subsequent discussion, is about the issues involved.

Since I have a real problem with those who chose to give their opinions on an internet site but are unwilling to attach their names to their work, I have a problem with you, John Blevins. If you felt there would be blow back from blogging due to your private business, your family and your friends, perhaps you should have put them first.

And since you going to be teaching at a university that is funded by my property taxes (and other taxes I pay) in the state of Texas, I have sent an email to ask my congressman (also a personal friend) to research your comments here and determine if you can objectively teach Texas students and not try to indoctrinate them.

Shorter retire05: Mr. Blevins, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Democratic Party?

retire05 uses a pseudonym yet says "I have a real problem with those who chose to give their opinions on an internet site but are unwilling to attach their names to their work" and reveals no sense that these are contradictory.

By the way, Whelan's e-mail address is [email protected] if you want to contact him

"Since I have a real problem with those who chose to give their opinions on an internet site but are unwilling to attach their names to their work" - retire05


So is "retire05" your real name? Your parents were very imaginative.

wow, retire05, that's a whole ten pounds of stupid in a five-pound bag!

first of all, this:
"I have a real problem with those who chose to give their opinions on an internet site but are unwilling to attach their names to their work"

signed by someone named "retire05".

then this:
"ask my congressman (also a personal friend) to research your comments here and determine if you can objectively teach Texas students"

what kind of "research" do you have in mind? you want to find out whether he does or does not have opinions about legal issues? unlike other law professors? there is no such "research" that could determine such a question.

on the other hand, we do have one good reason to think that publius goes out of his way *not* to indoctrinate his students:

the very fact that he has been using a pseudonym!

did you see that part of the post above, where he explains his reasons for using a pseud?

"I also believe that the classroom should be as nonpolitical as possible – and I don’t want conservative students to feel uncomfortable before they take a single class based on my posts."

you are really a cretin, retire05. next time, pretend not to be from texas--you give the state a bad name.

"Conservatives (strict constructionists) consider policy matters subordinate to textual support, framer's writings and precedent."

Right, it's not like conservatives played the central role in the development of textually-divorced, policy-driven doctrines like "qualified immunity".

"Since I have a real problem with those who chose to give their opinions on an internet site but are unwilling to attach their names to their work"... says someone who attaches the name of "retire05."

Again, the smoke comes out of the computer. Have these people no concept of self-awareness, or non-hypocrisy at all?

"I have sent an email to ask my congressman (also a personal friend) to research your comments here" and I will make threats against your livelihood.

Because this is the sort of American these people stand for.

Has anyone ever told them that America stands for freedom of expression? Remember freedom?

I thought not.

Less flippantly, since when is it wrong for instructors to have opinions? Even if Publius were to inform his students of his political leanings, why would that matter unless he misrepresented others' political viewpoints or mistreated students who did not agree with him?

Speaking as a federal taxpayer, Mr./Ms. Retire05 (I assume that's your real name, given your preferences), I object to my federal tax dollars going to pay your Congressman's staff to investigate Publius's posts. Firstly because it would be, if anything, a State and not a Federal issue, and secondly because I don't think it's an issue at all, and I'd really rather that they spend their time finding some non-imaginary budget cuts. Not to mention, of course, that you have fired off your request for an inquisition apparently without spending even five minutes to find any objectionable posts.

My best love to Mrs. or Mr. Retire05 and all the little Retire05's, if any.

First of all, thanks to everyone -- much appreciated. there are too many people to thank individually, but I do appreciate it.

I especially want to thank Feddie for his kind post over at Southern Appeal (I'll try to do a roundup of links after it shakes out a bit). In case any of you doubted, Feddie is a good dude who is of course wrong about everything else. :)

And to clear up one thing - Im' not retiring. I wouldn't give Whelan the pleasure. I was just unsure how to proceed, and Im inclined to just keep doing what I've been doing and let enterprising Googlers do their best. in short, i'm following manny's advice, which is usually a good thing to do. :)

And retire05 -- South Texas is a private school.

So thanks again all.

retire05 I hope thats a gag demonstrating how reckless it is to expose people online. Im a high school teacher and yak about conservative stuff all the time online, if what I produce online were shown to my colleagues (nearly all liberals) it would create a real problem for me at work. The more I think about the more I figure you are joking, tell me Im right on that. You have to know that teachers have a right to political views and to express them online right?

The head of a center on ethics and public policy outed someone?

Odd, that.

"South Texas is a private school."

fifteen! fifteen pounds of stupid in a five-pound bag!

you'd better retire now, retire05--you'll have a hard time exceeding that level of fail.

I'm actually not a fan of pseudonymous blogging (which I recognize is a heck of a lot better than, say, commenting anonymously, since the pseudonym can accumulate a reputation), but before writing anything to that effect, I was struck by how completely that opinion fails to justify revealing someone's actual identity.

Even if Ed Whelan has a principled distaste for pseudonymous blogging, that wouldn't justify outing you. And of course it's obvious that he's just doing this out of spite.

It's hard to imagine how he rationalizes what he just did.

I know everyone's said this already, but I wanted to add my sympathies, Publius. (And yeah -- stick with Publius. One of your co-bloggers got outed recently (what *is* it with these people?) and she still writes under her nom-de-plume. So why not?) I've been reading your work since the Legal Fiction days (actually, you sort of brought me to Obsidian Wings), and it's fabulous. Any of the troubles you foresee would not, in a just world, manifest at all: this writing is a credit to anyone associated with it. (In a *just* world, I said, so sadly the pseudonym was probably a very wise precaution...)

What a lousy thing for him to do.

I guess Whelan can be added to the long list of rightwingers who engage in public displays of intellectual dishonesty and bully tactics, a pattern that is pretty common in Repubicans and rightwingers. At least that's the impression I get from Whelan, retire05, the Republicans in Congress and the rightwing bloggers, pundits and spokespeople (like Liz Cheney!) who get on TV "news".

I guess Whelan can be added to the long list of rightwingers who engage in public displays of intellectual dishonesty and bully tactics, a pattern that is pretty common in Repubicans and rightwingers.

21st Century ones, that is. I remember when Republicans were principled people, not out after petty, personal revenge.

This was very person. Very petty. Very much revenge.

If the blogger was a Chinese academic challenging the Chinese government I would agree that, morally, all should do their best to respect and uphold his anonymity. But as it is, an American academic now has to endure a little personal embarrassment and discomfort at the occasional conference cocktail function because someone he insulted behind his mask of anonymity turns out to be present. Bloo hoo hoo. Let's see a little perspective out there.

Good to hear that publius will remain publius. Given that Publius was the first American blogger, if you will, I hate the thought of your giving up that grand moniker because a moral cretin like Whelan (anyone working at the torture-enabling OLC is damned if there is a hell, and damnable if not) tries to make your life more difficult.

Sorry this happened; I would be sorrier if it had (Whelan's) intended effect.

mr moto invokes Chinese academics to show that he's a nuanced kind of guy. So, mr moto, could you tell me what you yourself are doing to help the cause of freedom of academia in China? Or is this something you just used to cover your ill-formed opinion?

This Whelan fellow comes across as little more than a petulant child, and I have to wonder how long he's had this pathetic ace up his sleeve?

"Bam, I've got you now mister 'Publius!, mwa-ha-ha!'"

So is that all there is, or will he now launch some short-range missiles to show HE'S NOT KIDDNG. Perhaps release a gang of jump-suited henchmen from his hollow volcano lair?

I wouldn't give it a second thought and would keep posting as before, under the same handle. Why allow a child to dictate anything?


"Bloo hoo hoo. Let's see a little perspective out there."

So why aren't you posting under your real name, Mr. Moto? Hypocrite much?

Sympathies, guy--that's no fun. I use a pseudonym for much the same reasons you do, and I'm not working very hard to keep it secret, because that's quite a lot of work. I do find it a useful source of discipline, and it saves my friends who hate reading about politics from reading my political writing, so it has some use, even so, and I hope you will continue using "Publius."

Be wary, though, of other attacks on your private and professional life. The amount of effort these bastards can spend on making someone unhappy can be pretty staggering.

Mr. Moto, I haven't seen anyone expressing fear for Publius, even after Retire05's little attempt at bringing back HUAC. Although many strongly negative opinions have been voiced, no-one has called Whelan's action unforgiveably monstrous, or said that Whelan committed a crime (though I concede that some have suggested suing him for damages, a suggestion I think is rather premature given the lack of quantifiable damages). Despite your deliberately absurd comparison, no-one has suggested that that Ed Whelan is part of a repressive police state, whatever his desires as part of the Bush OLC. So there's been plenty of this perspective you so long for.

Moving on to the rest of your comment, how has Publius, as you claim, insulted Whelan, and in such a way as to justify this petty revenge?

And why do you invent, and belittle, these consequences of "personal embarrassment and discomfort at the occasional conference cocktail function" when you could just read Publius's post, which clearly states that the possible consequences could include ruptions in family relationships, difficulties in teaching students if they make assumptions about him based on his
(separate) blogging activities, and potential career consequences for Publius and for members of his family. Do you have any reason to disbelieve Publius? And having written a comment that seems to suggest Publius is engaging in an excessive display of self-pity, did you note that most of those possible consequences Publius is concerned about are actually more severe for other people than for Publius, people such as his family members that could suffer divisive debates within the family or even career difficulties and people such as the students who might not take Publius's course, or might not learn as much in it, because of their preconceptions?

In fact, in further response to your comment upthread assuming that the commentariat here would celebrate the similar outing of a hypothetical ethical pseudonymous conservative blogger, the main person here who seems to be inclined towards celebration and a refusal to grapple with either the facts of the situation or the consequences for the blogger thus revealed is yourself.

publius, I have greatly ejoyed your posts here and hope you will continue to post as publius.
Second, I believe the other commenters here have been much too kind to Mr Whelan. While he may indeed have all the character flaw attributed to him here, and he may have gotten some enjoyment from his actions, I see them acts of premeditated terrorism. There pupose was to make others pause and consider possible costs before demonstrating how simply his arguments are destroyed.

But as it is, an American academic now has to endure a little personal embarrassment and discomfort at the occasional conference cocktail function because someone he insulted behind his mask of anonymity turns out to be present.

You sure about that?

And why are you trying to excuse what is, at best, rude behavior, that sprang out of thin skinned bullying?

Sorry, but Whelan was totally in the wrong.

The amount of effort these bastards can spend on making someone unhappy can be pretty staggering.

Shouldn't that be called out for the thuggery that it is?

Hey, Blevins, you're cute!

Despite your deliberately absurd comparison, no-one has suggested that that Ed Whelan is part of a repressive police state, whatever his desires as part of the Bush OLC.

On the other hand, I see no problem calling Whelan a petty, spiteful WATB and laying out the reasons for that in as many forums as make sense.

An "unbelievable dick" is what I would call someone who takes pot shots using a pseudonym. You folks are like the fat guy who thinks he's tough anonymously posting threats only to be found out and confronted in a Blockbuster parking lot, suddenly shrinking like a violet.

I mean really, don't you find the dramatic outrage a bit thick? Headline "Anonymous Blogger Outed As Law Professor Who Doesn't Understand Common Law. Shocker!!!!!!"

Humans, why must you FAIL so hard?

I find the objections to pseudonymous blogging from flagrant pseuds hilarious, and will only address them by pointing and laughing.

I have encountered a number of people who use only RL names online and are uncomfortable with people who use pseuds, but this attitude is baffling to me. Pseuds have an extremely long history for fiction writers and political writers, and I see no reason the "nom de net" shouldn't be accepted seemlessly in those fields.

More generally, objecting to pseuds puts you on the losing side of a generation gap. As my children grew up and started going online, I carefully instructed them in the construction of suitable pseuds and in basic techniques of internet compartmentization. For young people in general and women in particular, pseudonymity online is a matter of basic security. Objecting to it marks you as a clueless fogey, or at least as highly privileged.

In another decade, it's possible that the "presumption of online pseud protection" will become a legal principle, as it already is within the "old-growth" parts of the Internet. I do not think we're there yet, and I don't think any suit by publius would have a legal leg to stand on.


Is that a pseudonym or did your mother not like you very much?

Many sympathies, publius. I agree with all those who think you should continue to post pseudonymously.

When I first started commenting on blogs, I did so pseudonymously. Over the years, I've started commenting (and, more recently blogging) under my own name much more frequently (though there are sites on which I've been commenting for a long time where I still comment pseudonymously). There are certain attractions and advantages to pseudonymous blogging. I, too, teach at a university and, like publius, I believe that the classroom should be a politically open space for my students and not a place for me to foreground my politics. When my university's now defunct Dartmouth Review clone went after me for my politics about five years ago, it was nice that they were able to find very few things on line (though they tried). Since then, I've done much more commenting under my own name (and I've gotten tenure, fwiw).

I notice that, unlike you, Mr. Whelan and company do not allow comments to their posts.

So much for cowardice.

As to who's the "idiot" - well, Whelan's post is self-explanatory.

Sweet, I found one of the fat guys!!!! And he's left-handed, so you know what that means......

I'm just glad to have been able to get under the skin of at least a single leftist jackass, which is what I normally call a Thursday..... :)

If you demand reparations, I bet there's an Applebee's or Cracker Barrel nearby where we could meet at. I could order a raspberry lemonade and you could whine about how you haven't paid off your law schools loans.

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