Running Heads

From the editors of Cascade Books and Pickwick Publications at Wipf and Stock Publishers

Anonymous Commenting at Running Heads

“Anonymous” recently left some critical remarks about my post from a couple of weeks ago, The Idol of Liberty. I welcome critical comments on anything I write, as I believe I should emulate St. Augustine’s view of dialogical charity:

What I desire for all my works, of course, is not merely a kind reader but also a frank critic. — De trinitate III, prologue

Accordingly, dear reader, whenever you are as certain about something as I am go forward with me; whenever you stick equally fast seek with me; whenever you notice that you have gone wrong come back to me; or that I have, call me back to you. In this way let us set out along Charity Street together, making for him of whom it is said, Seek his face always (Ps 105:4). — De trinitate I.1

Yet in this format—i.e., at Running Heads—I’d prefer not to fence with “Anonymous” windmills and will not spend time on comments posted under aliases of any kind. I invite readers to comment critically under their real names, though I cannot promise I will always respond or respond adequately to critical comments! We will in all likelihood delete anonymous and/or aliased comments in the future.

The reason for this preference and policy is simple: the purpose of Running Heads is for the editors to make themselves better known to potential authors; we hope in turn that Running Heads can become a forum for us to get to know potential authors and readers of the books we publish. Anonymous commenting simply doesn’t aid the mission of the blog.

A concluding note regarding the specific criticisms raised against The Idol of Liberty, should “Anonymous” wish to press them under his/her real name: my focus was not “libertarianism,” though it is clear from what I wrote that I’m no fan of it. However, I’m not interested in pivoting from the focus of that post—which was on Catholic Social Teaching and its aid in resisting the powers that would divide and subjugate the church—to a full-blown critique or defense of libertarianism. Perhaps another time.

2 Comments

  1. I’m sorry Charlie, I wasn’t trying to put you in an uncomfortable position by posting anonymously (I usually don’t see the relevance of personal information in casual commenting) or to pull you away from the purpose of your post and this blog generally. I certainly didn’t want to get into a lengthy debate on ethics with you either, my intentions were to simply critique very specific statements that I felt did not exemplify the division or subjugation of the Church as you presented them. I don’t approach commenting expecting a response, but rather simply voicing an opinion, so I apologize if I made you feel pressured to do so.

  2. Hi Adam. No need to apologize! I didn’t feel like I was put in an uncomfortable position, and I do not mind the push back. I just wanted to clarify my policy on interacting with commenters on this particular blog. I’d actually prefer that folks use first and last names, as I otherwise have no hope of ever connecting interactions with actual people, and that’s the point of my work here as I understand it. I think there are good reasons for different policies at different blogs. For example, where the point of a blog is to advance certain lines of thought, it makes sense to deal with respectful comments as they come, anonymously or not; development of lines of thought is the point. I’m not sure I understand why so many people feel the need to post/comment anonymously, but I wasn’t in this post meaning to cast aspersions on the practice in general. All the best to you!

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