Will Wilkinson

Blog. I. Am.

Andrew Sullivan collates a few comments from bloggers about why they are what they are…entitled I blog therefore I am it provides some insights into my own thoughts.

When I started, back in 2005, I created a personality, a pseudonym, a character. I did that for a number of reasons. I knew as soon as I started people would want to know who I was, and as soon as they knew that they would hurl about accusations that even as an adult I did my fathers bidding. Intellectual pygmies still hurl that about, even though Dad is essentially retired from national politics, has almost nothing to do with the National party and is 70 years old. I’m 45, but apparently my thoughts are not my own. That of course flowed onto my National party links and somehow it is dishonourable to have friends and acquaintances in the National party but perfectly acceptable if they are Green or Labour politicians, such is the hypocrisy of my opponents.

In any case I created a character, and built a wall for the inevitable public attacks. Each time an attack got through I built my walls higher. I still do this. It takes an effort to get behind my walls, to know the real Cam rather than the online character and personality that is Whaleoil. And Whaleoil the online character is not Cam the person…people confuse that, only very few know Cam the person and they are true friends. My walls remain high because letting people behind the walls lets people hurt me…and they have.

I have been morphing that though over time, as you read, and learn and develop so must you change…astute observers will have noticed that I comment and write now as Cam Slater not as Whaleoil. Not because I don’t like the brand, just that it is in constant transition. Still the haters and wreckers out there trawl through every utterance of the last 8 years and try to slam things in my face that I have said before. As I have stated repeatedly I can’t hide from my past and I leave it there as a reminder of it. Ever since I have been blogging I have tried to be an open book, not shying from my opinions, hey, at least I have opinions and am not some beige, middle of the road, fence sitting nancy.

I blog and write because I enjoy it. the day I stop enjoying it is the day that I will think about stopping. Right now I have much bigger plans  to extend what I have learned and to not stop at being number one…there are no challengers out there anymore so I must be my own challenger…rather be the best that there ever was and ever will be in what I do.

Have a read though of some other blogger’s thought…they encapsulate my own. Here is Will Wilkinson:

Every time I’ve been hacked and had to take the blog offline, it felt a little like an amputation. A blog is a sort of history of one’s mind, like a diary or a journal, but it’s public and that makes a huge difference. I think the public existence of my blog stabilizes my sense of self. The idea that the self is an “illusion” tends to be grounded on the false assumption that if the self is anything at all, it must be a stable inward personal quiddity available to introspection. But of course there is no such thing. The Zen masters are right. There is nothing in there, and the deeper you look the less you find. The self is more like a URL. It’s an address in a web of obligation and social expectation. According to my my idiosyncratic adaptionist just-so story, a self is an app of the organism “designed” to play iterated cooperative games, and we desire a sense of stable identity because a stable identity keeps us in therepeated games that pay. (Also those that don’t. The self can be a trap.) Expectation, reputation, obligation–these are what make the self coalesce, and the more locked in those expectation and obligations become, the more solid the self feels. There’s nothing wrong with blogging for money, but the terms of social exchange are queered a little by the cash nexus. A personal blog, a blog that is really your own, and not a channel of the The Daily Beast or Forbes or The Washington Post or what have you, is an iterated game with the purity of non-commercial social intercourse. The difference between hanging out and getting paid to hang out. Anyway, in old-school blogging, you put things out there, broadcast bits of your mind. You just give it away and in return maybe you get some attention, which is nice, and some gratitude, which is even nicer. The real return, though, is in the conclusions people draw about you based on what you have said, about what what you have said says about you, about what it means relative to what you used to say. People form expectations about you. They start to imagine a character of you, start to write a little story about you. Some of this is validating, some is irritating, and some is downright hateful. In any case it all contributes to self-definition, helps the blogger locate and comprehend himself as a node in the social world. We all lost something when the first-gen blogs and bloggers got bought up. Or, at any rate, those bloggers lost something. I’m proud of us all, but there’s also something ruinous about our success, such as it is.  Read more »

Public Sector Unions vs Private Sector Unions

Big Think

Will Wilkinson discusses the differences between private sector unions (good) and public sector unions (bad) in the wake of the Wisconsin recall elections:

I’ve argued elsewhere that public- and private-sector unions are quite different beasts and that public-sector unions cannot be justified on liberal-democratic grounds while private-sector unions are not only unobjectionable, but desirable. I’ve argued that it’s not only possible but reasonable to support private-sector unions as a safeguard against economic exploitation and oppose public-sector unions as an instrument of political exploitation, but I don’t think I’ve said enough about why private-sector unions are a good idea.

Competition essentially keeps private sector unions relevant and reduces the worst excesses of unions:

Competitive globalized markets for labor and capital make the worst excesses of unions infeasible. That outsourcing and capital flight would prevent a reinvigorated American private-sector labor movement from becoming as a powerful force for a more social-democratic politics is a fact progressives have a hard time accepting, but for me that fact is more feature than bug.

…It’s pretty clear that global market forces function worldwide to keep unions’ worst anti-competitive instincts in check.