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Reader riposte: Prodded by Larvatus

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10 February 2011 09:32

Richard Green writes:

I greatly appreciate the role of The Interpreter as a way for the IR community to help expand the discussion beyond the confines of the think tank/bureaucracy/academic/Greg Sheridan box where it has traditionally stayed, so that people outside that box know what is being discussed inside and talk back.

It is inevitable that some of the people outside who are interested will disagree, and they may even be ignorant of what is being said, as Sam believes Robert Merkel to be. This may feel infuriating. I certainly understand when a false consensus is assumed within economics (or even false disagreement, as is also assumed in climatology) by those who are less familiar with the field.

But these outsiders are the very people that a site like The Interpreter is meant to be reaching. The fact that outsiders are trying to engage is a success! If you believe them to be ignorant then seek to redress their ignorance, by outlining different positions and providing links. I know this is already done, but do it again on the specific topic of naval warfare. There's nothing at all to suggest that Merkel's ignorance (if that is what it is - I'm not in a position to evaluate) is in any way malicious.

If the Interpreter's task is to educate on what is going on in IR circles, than do so. Please don't just raise the barricades.