Thursday, December 24, 2009

Legitimacy IX: The Right To Speak

Not much that I want to say on my own, but if you seriously aren't reading 99Seats but are reading this blog (which seems really silly, you should fix that), take a look at this post on the lottery issue.

It encapsulates a bunch of issues but one of them has to do with a simultaneous debate that's raging alongside the debate itself, which is, Who has the right to take part in the debate?

That's a debate I am thoroughly disappointed by. I hate that debate. For instance, I used to read Leonard Jacobs' Clyde Fitch Report. But every time he would link to Isaac Butler at Parabasis he'd refer to Isaac as "trust fund baby Isaac Butler". He often had that sort of casual scorn for people, often based on where they're coming from. Maybe that's a virus that takes a hold of you when you start being a contributor to Fox. So I stopped following his blog, even though it's a wealth of information and a very good blog, simply because it feels unhealthy to me to sit around questioning "does so-and-so have the right to weigh in on this issue?"

We could sit around until the cows come home and debate it. Does Scott Walters have the right to talk about arts administration even though he hasn't been in "the shit"? Suppose Isaac Butler did come from a wealthier background (I have no idea -- he doesn't sign his posts with his parents' income level), can he still talk about ways of lifting up the poor? Does 99Seats have the right to weigh in the debate and keep his anonymity?

Ach who cares! We're not going to keep anyone out of the debate, what with this pernicious free speech thing and the problem that the internet doesn't pedigree people before they register.

I do think his Backdraft metaphor is worth the read. I would have gone with "economists and laborers" or something pedantic like that, but instead I get to be Billy Baldwin for the day.