Mark Cripps, in his opinion piece "My user name is Mark Cripps" of February 9, 2011, writes: "Plato touched on the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges."
Explaining further, he says: "Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly. That's not freedom, that's anarchy."
Two months ago, Julie Zhuo in her op-ed piece "Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt", in the New York Times dated November 29, 2010, wrote: "...Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges."
Zhuo goes on to explain the power of the Gyges ring:
That mythical ring gave its owner the power of invisibility, and Plato observed that even a habitually just man who possessed such a ring would become a thief, knowing that he couldn't be caught. Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly.
Paul Berton, in his quest for the real story of the turbulence set off by an 'onymous donation', instead ends up celebrating 'anonymous commenting'.
Justifying its invisibility, Berton writes: "But it is providing readers with more information, factual or otherwise". And attempting to project power onto "all of us" he concludes: "The days when politicians and newspapers can control the message are long gone."
Is the story here about a happy synchronicity of thought between Cripps and Zhuo? Or is it Berton's bold conclusions, which rest precariously on the illusion of power arising from anonymous commenting?
Or could the real story be about the mythical Gyges ring that both Cripps and Berton continue to wear since the summer of 2010, when an election was thrown by the willful and cynical control of the message by the 'politicians and the newspapers' of Hamilton?
Maybe the real story is about Cripps and Berton, who, under the influence of the Gyges rings they proudly choose to wear, blinked in the face of the voice of 'all of us' screaming back at them in 2010.
In the presence of this unaccountable legacy that will haunt Hamilton for decades, can the real story ever be told by 'all of us' in a city, where living vicariously through invisible anonymous comments is a far safer option than pitching onymous tents in Gore Park to usher in transformational change?
To the many anonymous commenters of Hamilton who misinterpret nausea and bile to be the flickers of fire that once burned in their bellies - the lyrics of Game Theory's: "Throwing the Election", reminds us:
...Don't even waste the man-hours on us
We are finding no solution
Call all the boys in from the fighting fronts
We have lost the revolution...
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