Glenn Reynolds, Ace support mindless, authoritarian heckling of Newt Gingrich
The video below shows Newt Gingrich being confronted by an angry GOP voter in Iowa about Gingrich's recent comments about Paul Ryan. The voter presents no argument against anything Gingrich has ever said or done but instead just tells Gingrich: "You undercut [Ryan].... you're an embarrassment to our party... Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?"
Whatever Gingrich said about Ryan (and whatever he clarified later), that's not how politicians should be confronted. The quote is just a slightly grown up version of a tantrum, with a strong authoritarian undercurrent. The voter didn't, for instance, ask Gingrich one or more questions that would reveal how the voter thinks Gingrich is wrong. He just basically told him to shut up.
That might be good for enforcing GOP discipline, but it's not good for the U.S. We need an open and honest debate about important issues. We aren't getting that from the mainstream media, and we aren't getting it from regular citizens (for many other examples, see the bad questions page). And, we aren't getting it from self-styled citizen journalists and bloggers.
For instance, "Ace of Spades" (Ace Mu Nu) says of the quote (ace.mu . nu/archives/316264.php): "I'm not a fan of heckling, so I say this without endorsing it: That's an effective heckle." Whether he endorses it or not, it's not unfair to say that he supports it. He knows what's going to happen: his readers are going to see him as promoting it. He's not offering his readers an alternative: he's not suggesting to his readers that they go ask Gingrich tough questions and try to engage him in debate.
And, of course, Glenn Reynolds does implicitly endorse the quote, linking to the Ace post with the text "very effectively" (instapundit . com/120852). Reynolds has already shown that he's a fan of heckling and other thuggish, mindless actions, and his goal is to highlight how effective he thinks the quote is.
The alternative to how Ace and Reynolds approached this is to engage politicians in debate by asking them tough questions in an attempt to show how they're wrong; see the question authority plan. I've been promoting that for over four years, with almost zero help. On an ironic note, one of the few sources of help came from Ace's site, when a guest blogger promoted a comment I'd left with the plan into the post. That was the last the plan was heard of there, and needless to say Reynolds has never promoted anything like my plan. That's despite (or because of) how truly effective the plan would be at solving several problems the U.S. faces, including an out-of-touch elite and a highly corrupt media.