The rules of blogging – and of commenting on this site

Posted on

Another batch of commentators from the Right who find my style irritating have been seeking to get their remarks on this site. Many do so by being abusive, by offering false identities or by simply stating that I am wrong, without offering argument as to why that is the case.

For their benefit, and that of others who would like to comment can I reiterate the ground rules for doing so? These are that:

1) Your comment must be legal.
2) Your comment must not be abusive.
3) You must add information or you must present an argument when making your comment.
4) You must not be promoting a commercial service (you will note that this site does not carry advertising).
5) Pseudonyms are strongly discouraged and if I discover a false email address is used the comment will be barred.

It is rare that a comment falls foul of points (1) and (4).

Comments frequently fall foul of condition (2). Those that do often violate condition (5). I have no idea why the web induces traits similar to road rage where people believe that its relative anonymity affords them the right to abandon all normal social etiquette. I will not tolerate it so please do not waste your time seeking to tell me an idiot, or questioning my parentage. My twin gets very upset when people do that.

Condition 4 is, however, the main stumbling block for those who seek to disagree with me on this site. You are very welcome to disagree with anything or everything that I write. Since I think we live in a normative world I think that all writing is subjective, and as such open for debate.

I will also readily concede that I can be wrong. And I can be persuaded to change my mind, occasionally. I assure you, it does happen.

But for that to happen you have to present an argument. I wish I knew why this was so difficult for those who wish to argue from the Right, but it seems to be so. To say that something is self-evident is not, for example, an argument. It is a statement of belief. There's nothing wrong with belief, but I do wish them to be explicitly recognised. For example, as someone who believes in God, as I do, I explicitly recognise that my belief does not prove the existence of God. I have chosen to believe in God. That's something quite different. God's existence remains quite unprovable, a fact that I am happy to live with, but about which I am explicit.

I would add though that believing in positive economics is also just that i.e. a belief. It is based upon a set of assumptions which are, in this case, provable - or rather, can be shown to be false.

That means I do not accept that it can be argued that 'economics says so' is an argument. In that case please do not use it: please argue your case if you want to disagree on the grounds of economics or politics: some of us quite specifically do not accept the assumptions of the Right and its economics and not only have the right to do so, we have also made our case for doing so.

Finally, please do not get upset if I choose to have the final word. This is my blog, written in my time. I have no obligation to promote your ideas, or to suggest they are better than mine (unless I think that true). You can say that on your own blog. That's the way this blogging thing works. But for me to run my blog as I want to promote my ideas is not arrogant, or bullying as some would like to have it. The arrogance is in saying I do not have the right to offer my opinion, and it's bullying to say I should stop doing so.

Now, let me get back to the business of tax.