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June 07, 2009

Comments

Cough.

You might want to link to Lean Left's specific post, entitled "Ed Whelan:Bully," rather than generically to the blog.

I don't know if I got a chance to comment last time, but I hope you stick around; and I would really resent Ed if this meant you couldn't keep doing top notch posts.

Publius,
Keep up the great work. Whelan's childish and spiteful footstamping is really pretty pathetic. More and more the whole sorry act of this belligerent public crank reminds us not of his high social status, or his connections, or his vaunted legal intelligence but rather of a comic scene from a bad movie. Whelan makes me think of a sloppy, angry, naked drunk who locks himself out of his house, turns around to find the neighbors staring, and, assuaging his embarrassment as best he can, thinks it clever to shout "who do you think *you* are? Huh?"

aimai

To BigYap/Ed Whelan/Mr. Moto:

Why is it that the only bloggers on Obsidian Wings that haven't been outed are the conservative ones?

Ed Whelan says this over at NRO:

Law professor John Blevins (aka publius) and others seem to assume that I owed some sort of obligation to Blevins not to expose his pseudonymous blogging. I find this assumption baffling. A blogger may choose to blog under a pseudonym for any of various self-serving reasons, from the compelling (e.g., genuine concerns about personal safety) to the respectable to the base. But setting aside the extraordinary circumstances in which the reason to use a pseudonym would be compelling, I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision. And I certainly don’t see why someone who has been smeared by the blogger and frequently had his positions and arguments misrepresented should be expected to do so.

thanks gary - fixed and fixed

That Ed Whelan is so intellectually dishonest using his own name and Publius so honest in his pseudonymity tells us all that we really need to know about the inherent value of putting your name to an argument.

Rather than rebut the charges of intellectual dishonesty (or ignore them), Whelan tries to silence the critic.

Glad to know you aren't going anywhere, Publius. Hopefully, you won't feel the need to alter the truth of your arguments for the sake of considerations unrelated to the points you make, but this is the world you now live in. (Unless you want to create another pseudonym and start from scratch.)

Ed Whelan says this over at NRO:

Law professor John Blevins (aka publius) and others seem to assume that I owed some sort of obligation to Blevins not to expose his pseudonymous blogging. I find this assumption baffling. A blogger may choose to blog under a pseudonym for any of various self-serving reasons, from the compelling (e.g., genuine concerns about personal safety) to the respectable to the base. But setting aside the extraordinary circumstances in which the reason to use a pseudonym would be compelling, I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision. And I certainly don’t see why someone who has been smeared by the blogger and frequently had his positions and arguments misrepresented should be expected to do so.

Generally, proves what a hack and dishonest person Whelan is, not to mention lacking in common courtesy.

Instead of showing how he was misrepresented, Whelan went straight to the nuclear option. Tells me that he has no case and no defense to counter what are essentially mild criticisms.

Totally disproportionate and inappropriate.

I just got back from being away (at my grade school reunion -- fascinating to see so many people I haven't seen since I was 10) -- to find this. What a jerk.

I will probably have more to say about this. But for now: the argument mr. moto quotes Ed Whelan making is, imho, transparently silly. "I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision". You have, I think, an obligation to respect other people's decisions about what stays private absent a compelling reason not to. Thus, if I worked at Ed Whelan's favorite bookstore and I learned that he has some taste in books that really doesn't square with his public persona, I should not disclose that absent really compelling circumstances. (He asks me to special-order child pornography and he is the Attorney General, for instance.) If I work at his laundry and he regularly takes in fetish gear to be dry-cleaned, ditto. This is part of the general obligation to respect people's wishes about their business, something I would have thought conservatives would recognize.

Is there any compelling interest here? No. He's just being a thug.

(Something like this comment, slightly expanded, might turn up as a post. Prepare to be bored.)

Ah, mr. moto's quote reveals that the very concept of "common courtesy" is foreign to Mr. Whelan. Why, yes, Mr. Moto, its common courtesy to call people by the name they have selected to use on a given occasion. We call the doctor "doctor" in his office, and "ted" when we are at dinner at his house. And we call a well known blogger by his blog name, when we are engaging in a public discussion, and by his private name (if we know it) when we are engaging in a private discussion in the real world or off line.

aimai

Hilzoy's examples are good, but they presuppose a community that is fundamentally non-paranoid. Conservatives have indicated for a long time that they find this idea 'baffling'.


"Something like this comment, slightly expanded, might turn up as a post. Prepare to be bored"

Your apparent lack of confidence in your writing abilities does not correspond to reality, I'm pleased to say.

How incredibly, indescribably childish. Whelan's self-defense only makes it worse.

I would be terribly disappointed to see you go, Publius. Pseudonym or no, your writing is an invaluable asset in the blogosphere. Please don't let the actions of an incredible douche drive you from something you do so well.

Ah, mr. moto's quote reveals that the very concept of "common courtesy" is foreign to Mr. Whelan

Hence the conservative's perversion of political correctness.

Bookesllers and drycleaners are hardly analogous to blogosphere opponents. In this context, they would be more analogous to an internet service provider who does arguably owe a duty to not divulge information learned from the business relationship.

The professional relationship doesn't exist here. If you happen to see Mr. Whelan in a bookstore purchasing something embarrassing or dropping off some s&m gear at the dry cleaners, you would be under no duty to keep it to yourself.

gwangung,
you are absolutely right. For a more intemperate discussion of the entire matter hop over to Washington Monthly (where we don't have to observe the Obsidian Wings rules of politeness) and where you will find a winsome three or foursome defending Whelan by running through pretty much every authoritarian trope that has ever existed.

The most interesting ones are the insistence that other people's "convenience" and "self-interest" and desires are inherently not to be respected; that modern day liberal *language* is thuggish, slanderous, illegal, anti first amendment, noisy, uneducated, indefensible, and scary but, conversely, modern day right wing *actions* are merely playful, or reasonable, justified, rational and therefore respectable and even necessary.

This recapitulates an old internet discussion in which the left's "incivility" and undisciplined or demotic use of language becomes the moral equivalent of rightist, paramilitary violence. Publius's public critique of Whelan justifies Whelan's outing of Publius because "we don't live in revolutionary times" (as one defender has put it) so no harm no foul. But, at the same time, they wish him both harm and foul.

We are actually seeing the same discussion going on in almost the same register over at Bill O'Reilly's when Bill exclaims that his inciting of his viewers to real violence, ending in the death of an actual human being, can't be "attributed to anyone other than the criminal" but that the "real victim" in any case is Bill O'Reilly himself because bloggers and liberal figures are saying that Bill is not a nice person. When liberals condemn someone verbally its as bad as a death threat and when rightists urge others to kill, and they do, its just a free speech issue.

got it?

aimai

mr. moto, are you suggesting that publius was associating his pseudonym and his private identity in public, but expected everyone not to mention it? Analogy FAIL.

Just want to point out Whelan's self contradiction:

"A blogger may choose to blog under a pseudonym for any of various self-serving reasons, from the compelling...I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision."

Umm, if you find a compelling reason for one's pseudonym (which would, in a liberal society, include "they chose to have a pseudonym") then of course you've just created such an obligation.

Isn't ethics the discovery and application of obligatory behavior?

Please, MaryL. If one were buying something embarrassing or dropping of the s&m gear and didn't want anyone to know about it, then presumably one would be doing so as furtively as possible and not acting openly while expecting everyone not to mention it. Duh. Fail.

Publius,

I don't know you, and I read this blog only occasionally, but I sent an email to Whelan saying that his actions were that of a child. Just wanted to let you know that even people who aren't ardent followers think this was ridiculous, destructive and wrong.

If you happen to see Mr. Whelan in a bookstore purchasing something embarrassing or dropping off some s&m gear at the dry cleaners, you would be under no duty to keep it to yourself.

we have names for people who talk about things which are none of their business: gossip, blabbermouth, rat, rumormonger, tattletale. note that none of those names have positive connotations.