Roger and Laura Continue Debate
From Roger: Laura
The floodgates of reasoned discourse certainly opened when you enabled anonymity on your blog.
I'm not sure whether it is sociology or psychology, but perhaps you can enlighten me as to the dynamic of the mob. I seem to recall that this is the theory of individuals being restrained by custom and upbringing, but when part of a group, and yes, anonymous in the crowd, they find it much easier to do things they would never consider while alone.
One more thing. Will you follow through and add me to the list of contributors, or do you intend to throw some red meat out to the mob and silence me? They'd certainly appreciate it. Already one - didn't catch the name - has suggested I go home to my rag. I'm really quite hurt by such anonymous sentiments, but whatever; I also understand perfectly well that you could be quite the hero to these people by doing a bit of muzzling of your own.
Food for thought, as it were.
From Laura: Roger,
I apologize for the tardy response, but I have had more pressing matters at hand as of late. But, I will now attempt to address your curiousness.
Yep, it's open season for hunting down the facts of an administration gone awry. The only way to get the facts presented to the public is to allow anonymous comments from the folks that have these facts, but until now have had no opportunity, or avenue by which to make ALL the information public knowledge. Since I, and many others, feel it imperative to have all the facts before a true conclusion can be drawn on any matter, I stand by my decision.
I have repeatedly read that the budget "fix" was supported, at least in part, because it was the only "fix" being presented, and nobody else had presented another alternative.
Indeed! How might one go about such a task when the information is not available to the general public?
I personally sat through hours of budgetary hearings last year, when no public comments or questions were allowed, but it was an open public meeting. There were precious few of us there, and although we've never met, I do not believe, by description, that you attended these hearings, where every department head made their plea for a larger cut of the pie.
At the time, I did ask Kay Garry for a copy of the budget proposal that the council was pondering, and was promptly told "no". No member of the public was allowed to see the budget proposal until after it was to be submitted and returned from State officials.
Now I ask you, how might anyone outside of City government have the information necessary to accurately debate if there might be a better alternative or not?
As we heard at the last council meeting, there is still $65K sitting in the Building Commissioners budget for employees that no longer exist (example).
As to your "mob mentality theory", yes this is a sociological dynamic, but I contend that you are misguided in its use. You see, people lose their inhibitions and act out in unacceptable social manners when they are actually IN a mob (physically) that has escalated into a frenzy of actions and emotions. This stimulus has a psychological impact that reduces or eliminates the perceived notion of personal responsibility of ACTIONS.
I don't believe this theory is applicable to someone sitting alone at their computer simply reading other peoples opinions, and knowing that they will suffer no repercussions by offering up what opinion or information they may have to this discourse.
As to your hurt feelings, well I suggest you reconsider some of the name calling you threw around (cowardly), and the presumptions you made regarding anonymity (tantamount to vandalism?!), as well as your predetermination that all forthcoming comments would be nothing more than "gibberish" and "anti-social blathering". Do you think hurling such comments are less hurtful than one who suggested you "return to your rag".
However, if you have read my postings carefully, you will find that I have warned of inappropriate comments or slander and that I do retain editorial control and will not allow this opportunity to be abused or misused by ANYONE, anonymous or not.
Finally, I applaud your venture into the realm of civic activism, and look forward to more thoughtful exchanges with you. I believe such activism (on everyone's part) is long overdue in New Albany. But, I certainly do not endorse any of the hurtful comments (from either side), and hope that you will continue to contribute to these lively, healthy, and informational, debates with appropriate respect. You are welcomed on the Speak Out Loud NA blog as always.
After all, as you stated, this is too much fun to stop now.
I wish you continued success.