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25.2.04

Hopefully No Clarkies Read TAPPED

It seems that Nick Confessore has swiped the argument that I will made in the commentary to be published in tomorrow's Scarlet (and written it better than I did).

Maybe I can rationalize it like this: adhering too strongly to the demand for originality can send a genre (whether it be political commentary or a branch of academic research) off into the pursuit of edification rather than of knowledge -- finding interesting and brain-stretching ways of looking at things rather than building solid information. In some cases, such as the creative side of the humanities, that's entirely appropriate. But in other cases, there's something to be said for independent invention of a similar idea as being a test of its validity if something's true, it's more likely to occur to multiple people than any particular falsehood (consider for example the parallel achievements of Chayanov and Boserup). It's also more efficacious. If I came up with a totally original and insightful argument, perhaps a few dozen people would ever read it. Confessore is in a better position, writing for one of the top blogs and political magazines, but even so the readership of TAP and TAPPED are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. But Confressore and I together reach more people. And so on for anyone else who comes to a similar conclusion.

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