information is the essence of good elections

[See also this followup, which goes into much greater depth and is important to read for anyone who is interested in the subject of this post.]

I’d like to join those (1, 2, 3) who are kindly asking Murray to retract his comments and use this year’s elections to really voice his opinion. –Og

I’m not really ready to comment in detail about Murray’s post (I haven’t read more than the first two sentences of Murray’s post, and suffice for now to say that Jeff is a very good personal friend, but I think he and I would both agree that we’ve had several frustrating clashes when we’ve worked together) and I haven’t read any of the linked calls for retraction. (I’m really pressed for time today.)

But suffice to say that by posting now, Murray is exactly using this year’s elections to voice his opinion, and any calls for retraction on that grounds are misguided.

Murray’s post is exactly is what elections are about- people pooling their information, and then making decisions based on that pooled information. You may disagree with the content of Murray’s post, his language, his timing, or his choice of medium. You may certainly call on him to restate it in less rude terms, or apologize for the highly negative way in which he provided the information.

But he has provided information, and allowed people to discuss the information, reply to it, combat it, and in the end make their own private, anonymous judgments on the validity of it. That is the essence of a fair, free election, and that core of his act should be applauded, not retracted or apologized for.

[Ed. later: I should add that I think not voting for Og is an overreaction; I voted for him and look forward to working with him, and this doesn’t change that. I spoke very strongly in this post because I have given a lot of thought to voting and information, since I did a lot of political philosophy, with a focus in deliberative democracy, in college. But if you haven’t done that, it is pretty easy to overreact and speak unclearly when you see something like this going on, so I don’t hold that against Og. The important thing is to focus on the substantive discussion (good or bar) around Murray’s post, not to focus on how Og responded.]