Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Several people have asked me why I write under a pen name.
In fact, some of the leading writers have used pen names.
As one of the best financial bloggers, Tyler of Zero Hedge, points out (edited slightly for readability):
Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks), anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the United States. Used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka publius) to write the Federalist Papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume.Good points, Tyler . . . whoever you are.
Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech.
Like the Economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker - as it should be. We believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn't.