UK Politics

Widening the Debate

There are no shortage of interesting posts at the website Socialism in an age of Waiting so I’m pleased Harry accepted my recent suggestion that we include them on our links bar.

One of their latest posts raises an interesting question which I’d like to answer briefly. They wonder why

Harry’s Place (link in sidebar –>) is recommending that we all read the latest intemperate and irrational outburst from Melanie Phillips, whose opinions deserve nobody’s respect.

The author of the article also chides Philip Stott at Envirospin for linking to the same article at Melanie’s place

I can only speak for myself but one of the reasons I link to articles is because I’m interested in the debate that often occurs in the comments box after I’ve done so. In the case of the recommendation objected to I thought an article which challenged received wisdom about the environment was at least worthy of examination by those with an interest in such matters.

Unless I explicitly say so the act of linking to a posting, website, or newspaper doesn’t automatically imply that I (or anyone else at Harry’s Place) agree with every word of the article or even that I agree with the main conclusions the author has reached; what it does mean is that I think the subject under scrutiny is worthy of consideration.

I prefer articles which are provocative to those which follow well-worn grooves
because I think the development of critical thinking is important to good debate. We can all make up our own minds about a political position taken by someone; the important thing is that we have the argument. There’s no point in refusing to accept the challenge of an argument because you don’t like the person who makes it. Let’s challenge ideas not people.

It may seem odd for someone posting on an avowedly left-wing blog, which, rightly, makes fun of the “loony left”, to be, apparently, so naive about the loony right to the author of the Socialism in an Age of Waiting post but it’s no more odd for me to link to an article by a Daily Mail columnist than to a trio of Trotskyists by the seaside. If it’s interesting I’m interested in it despite the provenance of the author.

PS SIAW – You do have Permalinks on your site. Just click on the hash sign at the bottom of your articles and you’ll have a link to the article as opposed to the site.