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You're a braver man than I am, John Band

John at Shot by Both Sides recently put up a post entitled "Ignorance Remedied in which he tries to clear up some misconceptiona about English laws, especially regarding free speech and self-defense in case of burglary. Crooked Timber's Daniel Davies calls John's attempts "a rather Sysyphean task" and that was what sprung to mind when I read the title as well. After all, The Straight Dope has been fighting ignorance since 1973, and made very little headway in those 31 years. And the good folk at The Straight Dope aimed their efforts at the general public, who on average are a whole lot less knee-jerk and closed-minded than the subsection of the population that blogs, so what John is trying to do is even harder.
Yes, I'm getting a bit disillusioned with this whole blogging thing, at least as far as political blogging is concerned. With few exceptions, I don't think a whole lot of communication goes on in political blogs. Community-building, yes, but if you look at the sort of community that results in places like the Blog that LGFWatch Watches, then that doesn't look like a great contribution to the common weal of mankind.
Nevertheless, I applaud John for trying, and I hope that his work will soon inspire me to do some Augian bullshit-removal myself. I have been looking at one life-and-death issue relating to my home town that received some coverage in the international press and in blogs, all of it that made it back to me appallingly uninformed, and have been meaning to put in a bit of work to correct the misinformation. The thing that's been stopping me so far is my own cowardice; I do not look forward to dealing with the fallout if that post gets widely distributed, which it should be if it's to be effective. However, I have not seen anyone else take up this gauntlet, so I just might end up writing it to get it out of my system. Just as soon as I work up the courage.
Meanwhile, go to John's site if you want to know what it takes for someone in Britain to get a conviction for "defending yourself" against a burglar inside your house (shooting a fleeing man or stabbing him twelve times in the back will do it) and why the new religious hate law there, while bad, will not cause Rowan Atkinson to go to jail.

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I'd like to reply to this, but I'm too scared to post in here. :)

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