Thursday, October 12, 2006

The truth about blogging...

Here's how I approach blogging. I see it as different than writing articles. When I post something to one of my web sites (or elsewhere) as an article, I consider it complete. I've written it, re-read, re-written it, thought about it, edited it, and written it again.

But, blog posts, I consider to be thinking out loud. I compose them pretty much with a stream of consciousness approach, and often have no idea where I'm headed when I begin. When I'm done writing, I click the spell check (sometimes) and take a quick look at the preview for any obvious major formatting errors, then I click "Publish Post." And I don't look back.

If something is in error, or I realize that it's stupid, I don't go back and change it or delete it, I just make a new posting that shows the new thinking. This is what I like about blogging; it's improvisational, extemporaneous, and unpredictable.

Blogging, for me, is a welcome change from the overly thought out, thoroughly proofed and edited (by many people) writing that I do professionally for nonprofit organizations (and others).

So, bottom line... Sometimes I step in [**]it, sometimes I have to admit I don't have any answers, and sometimes a reader points it out for me.

Barry Leiba left an excellent reply to my post the other day on Muslim cab drivers refusing fares on religious grounds. Barry took me for task for overlooking an important aspect of the situation: Taxis are closely regulated for a number of reasons. Because there are a limited number of taxis legally available in any given region, anytime one of them refuses a legitimate fare - for any reason - it puts pressure on the system and is contrary to the public good.

Barry made some other points that I don't think are as relevant. For example, he suggests that, "when people's preferences interfere with how they carry out their jobs... maybe they're in jobs that aren't suitable to their beliefs." I agree, but it's not up to any government agency to decide what profession any individual citizen or resident is suited for. This is one situation where the free market should take care of the problem by that person being unable to make a living through turning down customers.

But... the public good argument about taxis being a pseudo public resource... I'll think about that one. As Barry said, where will I draw the line? When a cabbie refuses to carry an unwed mother? When he refuses to carry any woman not covering her face with a veil?

These are different than the situations I wrote about (not carrying alcohol or dogs). In the real life examples I used, it was not the person who was refused carriage, it was their luggage or pets. In Barry's examples, it's refusal to the person, based on their life choices or beliefs. People have rights that can be violated or protected, bottles of booze certainly do not, dogs have some, but in a far more limited way than humans. So, yes, there is a clear line between my examples and Barry's, but still...

No answers today, just more things to think about. The issue is far more complicated than I obviously considered when I posted my initial thoughts before 8 AM Tuesday morning. And that goes along with this week's unintentional theme of growth and changing viewpoints.

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  1. Regarding maybe being in the wrong procession, I'm sure you've seen this from The Onion: If you haven't, I think it's brilliant.

    I discovered not long ago that I was in the wrong profession, or rather, practicing the wrong variety of my profession. I was writing software, which I still love, but I was in a kind of an elite little group (I'm pretty good at software) that worked mostly on especially difficult or quick-turnaround classified projects. It was the last part of that that I decided I couldn't do any longer. Even though I ended up taking early retirement and only enjoying it a little (my natural state is working), it was definitely the right decision.

    I suspect the whole discussion about pharmacists and so on might have alerted kids in school that the work they've chosen might require them to do some things that are in conflict with their values. Thinking about that could only be good.

    [Blogger doesn't like the <cite> tag? Sheesh!]

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