Thursday, 25 May 2017

Academics should back free speech 100%.

I hope you are not so naïve as to think the comments after articles written by academics and similar types of people are always a realistic representation of reader’s reaction to such articles. Some academics can be very selective in which comments they publish.

Universities used to be havens of free speech and open debate. Those days are long gone.

One reason for the latter censorship may be that negative reaction to an article may not do wonders for the author’s career. So if an academic is keen to keep the cash rolling in, a bit of censorship probably pays off.

Censoring comments which are blatantly offensive or totally moronic is perhaps justified. Though frankly I get a maximum of about one such comment per year on my blog. Moreover, there is a good argument for publishing blatantly offensive comments: when A insults B, it is normally A who is made to look stupid. So why not let people make fools of themselves?

The following is a list of sites where I have left dozens if not hundreds of comments over the years, starting with the most liberal or “pro-free speech” blogs. That is followed by a list of blogs where censorship is too common for my liking. Strangely enough, the tendency to censor does not seem to have much to do with whether I agree with relevant authors. For example, advocates of Modern Monetary Theory (which I support) seem to be towards the “censorious” end of the scale. Though to be honest, the number of blogs listed below is not a statistically significant, thus I shouldn't really make the latter generalisation.

Liberal / free speech blogs.

Frances Coppola. The only person I’ve known her to censor is someone I didn’t blame her for censoring. He was a total time waster and idiot. Strangely though, Frances is fairly “censorious” on twitter: regularly blocks people.

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. 100% free speech on this blog, far as I know.

Mike Norman - an MMT blog.  Pretty much 100% free speech. One commentator was asked not to comment again. As with the idiot commenting on Coppola’s article, this is a genuine idiot and time waster. BTW, Mike plans to stand for president in the US in 2020. What you might call a "long shot"...:-)

Simon Wren-Lewis.  Very liberal. He even publishes comments that insult the great SW-L. But not absolutely 100% liberal, though. SW-L often does not publish comments because he does not have time to moderate them. I don’t blame him for that: he has a full time job to do as well as looking after his blog.

Ann Pettifor.
Lars Syll.
Project Syndicate.
Mark Wadsworth.
Wall Street Journal.  

Stumbling and Mumbling.
Lars Syll.

Blogs where unwelcome comments are sometimes not published.

London School of Economics blog.

Financial Times.

John Redwood. (Tory MP). He certainly doesn’t like publishing comments which criticise the Tories. Maybe the same goes for all or most politicians.

Social Democracy.  Very choosy. Odd, given that the author, who goes by the name of “Lord Keynes” is clearly very bright and well read. He should be well able to defend himself against critical comments.

New Economic Perspectives.  Very choosy about which comments get published.

Bill Mitchell.  Very touchy when it comes to comments that disagree with him. He often edits out links to people/organisations he does not agree with.

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