Hunter, writing at the The Daily Kos makes a salient point about iron manning. Speaking of Ralph Reed, invited just this Sunday to NBC’s Meet the Press to comment on the subject of gay marriage (he commented on the science!), he writes:
Anyway, this all leads to the biggest scientific question of all: Just how shamed and discredited do you have to be before Meet the Press and the Wall Street Journal will stop propping your sorry ass up as someone we all ought to be hearing from? The press is still looking for insights into the moral issues of our time from Ralph Effing Reed? Why?
Here’s a question, however. Philosophers have long distinguished, perhaps wrongly, between informed discussants and the rest of us. They argue that since not everyone can pay attention to every single issue, at least in the way required to participate as a fully informed and capable interlocutor, they ought to be kept ignorant of those debates. Don’t try this at home.
This raises for me a related question. In light of the fact that not everyone is paying attention, or paying very close attention, to our various Democratic debates, do we not therefore have a special obligation in their regard–a special obligation that we are on our best behavior? People do not pay close attention to debates over moral or scientific questions, so when you host them and invite them to join, you should perhaps think carefully about what you are going to expose people to.