Road-testing my brave new world with a guest blog from Richard Murphy is a great way to flush out the bits of this project I have
not thought through thought through insufficiently. One of the less attractive aspects of the tax debate – and I have touched upon it here – is how intelligent and thoughtful commentators so readily move from enthusiastic disagreement with one another’s views to enthusiastic criticism of one another’s personal qualities. This tendency does not illuminate discussions of policy issues: indeed, it makes sensible debate harder.
But what to do?
I could simply reject comments that attack the author – but that would be a pity because those comments often also contain intelligent points alongside the ad hominem attacks.
I could assume that such is a normal and healthy function of politically charged debate. But I don’t think it is.
Or I could edit the comment to remove the personal criticisms (excepting the unusual situation where the attack is clearly relevant to an assessment of the point made by the commentator).
I’m inclined to do the latter and to indicate with the words “[edited]” that I have done so. But I’d be very grateful for your views?
A further question is what to do about anonymous posters. These I am inclined to allow because there will be many – those engaged by large professional services firms or Govt departments – who will otherwise be unable to participate. But, again, what do you think?