Dennis Prager

Some might argue that anonymity enables people to more freely express their thoughts. But this is not true. Anonymity only enables people to more freely express their feelings. Anonymity values feelings over thought, and immediate expression over thoughtful reflection.

There is not one good reason for any website, left or right, or non-political, to allow people to avoid identifying themselves. Anyone interested in serious political discourse, or in merely lowering the hate levels in our country, should welcome the banning of anonymous postings.

It would be interesting to find out how many websites continue to encourage anonymous postings. Presumably, they would pay some financial price by insisting on posters identifying themselves. I don't know why, and I don't know how big a price that would be, but it is hard to imagine that it is higher than the price society pays when hate, anger and irrationality become the normal way of citizens expressing themselves. And even from the websites' own perspectives this policy is probably self-defeating. I doubt I am alone in reading fewer and fewer comments sections because of the low level of so many of the postings. Just as bad money chases away good money, moronic postings chase away intelligent ones. I have come to the point where I even read fewer comments posted about my own columns.

Websites should insist on listing names and cities of those who post comments, just as newspapers and magazines do.

The irresponsible, the angry, the obscene and the dumb have virtually taken over many Internet dialogues. But there is an easy fix, and websites owe it to society to use it. Just ban anonymous postings.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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