Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Pseudonyms are bad for bloggers' integrity - Francis Berger opines

In a hard-hitting pot, Francis Berger draws a line under pseudonymous blogging, and states that he personally has decided not to read any more pseudonymous blogs:

I cannot shake my deeply held belief that writers and thinkers who write such blogs under assumed pen names essentially lack moral courage. In my mind, their unwillingness to support their ideas with their true, natural identities reveals a failure of character. 

I have become increasingly convinced that the failure of character and lack of moral courage inherent in pseudonymous authorship likely causes spiritual harm for both the writer and the reader. 

Hence, I will no longer expose myself to anything written by anyone who works under a fictitious name online.

I am much of the same view as Francis, although I do read a few blogs where I personally know the identity of the bloggers; even though this is not known publicly.

But I think we ought to take seriously the warning that it is often an insidiously harmful practice to conceal identity. Insidious means that it does harm over time.

Of course, blogging under one's real name does limit what can be said in the public space, but perhaps it is better (overall, in the long-run) to acknowledge that limit.

For example, if - because of 'hate crime' and other laws - we are deterred from explicitly and freely discussing non-Christian monotheistic religions, or non-biological forms of sexuality, then we should simply say that these cannot be discussed - because illegal, or prohibited with Establishment-supported sanctions.

Which is the case.

NOTE ADDED: The above is not intended as a deterrent to pseudonymous commenters! Your comments are still welcome. But it is a suggestion that they examine their reasons for pseudonymity; and whether it is having, has had, adverse consequences. 

As for impetuous commenters - I have often declined to publish, or edited, comments when individuals get too reckless for their own good. After all, net-anonymity is an illusion under pressure, when the chips are down, or when powerful individuals or institutions are involved. 

Certainly, young people are prone to get carried away with themselves, especially when they imagine themselves to be anonymous - likewise people with various innate dispositions and medical conditions. So in moderating I try to help them avoid nasty consequences. But this is only useful to them if they learn from the experience. 

But there is no safe strategy for being alive, here-and-now. We are like the USSR in that (cowardly) obedience to evil and avoidance of controversy is no defence against persecution. And on the other side, some high profile dissenters operate for many years without being nobbled. 

If They happen-to want-to Get You, for whatever temporary reason currently fits their agenda; and if there is no available 'evidence'; then 'evidence' can and will simply be fabricated. This is just as effective. 

Paradoxically, in a world that is fundamentally incoherent from its pervasive evil; courage on those subjects you personally value as primary in importance, is just as 'expedient' as any other possible strategy! 

(Because nothing is safe, you 'might as well' have integrity!)