In response to the comments made by Mayor Correia on WSAR during Ric Oliveira's program 12/24/08 and to the anonymous commenter(s) who, ironically, post comments disparaging my choice to remain anonymous, I offer a brief history of anonymous writers. I understand Correia was a teacher in a previous life. Whether a teacher of history, or even just a student of it, critics of the anonymity of blogging should be very aware of the abundant number of anonymous publications, and the reasons behind them, throughout history. The history of anonymous expression in political dissent is both long and with important effect in human history
The Federalist Papers – Written in anonymity in the late 1700’s by James Madison (prior to becoming the fourth president of the United States), John Jay (subsequently the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States), and Alexander Hamilton (who later became the first Secretary of the Treasury), the Federalist Papers were our founding fathers attempt to promote the ratification of the Constitution. They argued, under the cloak of anonymity and safety that the existing government was defective and that the proposed Constitution would remedy its weaknesses without endangering the liberties of the people.
Common Sense – In 1776, an anonymous pamphlet called Common Sense was published and sold for two shillings. The 47-page pamphlet, advocated America’s independence from Britain and the King, and quickly became a sensation. Written at the outset of the Revolution, Common Sense became the spark for change. It stirred the colonists to strengthen their resolve, resulting in the first successful anticolonial action in modern history. Historians have described Common Sense as the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era, and it was authored anonymously.
In modern litigation regarding the anonymity of political critics, courts have likened anonymous political speech on the Internet to the anonymous political pamphlets handed out during the Revolutionary War era. John Doe v. Cahill (2005). "Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind." Talley v. California (1960). "Great works of literature have frequently been produced by authors writing under assumed names. Despite readers' curiosity and the public's interest in identifying the creator of a work of art, an author generally is free to decide whether or not to disclose her true identity. The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one's privacy as possible." McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n (1995).
I don't need to put my name on the line as Correia indicates because facts are facts. My name on facts doesn't make them more true it just allows people to find me and possibly retaliate.