There is a very interesting discussion going on right now at Denialism blog concerning pseudonymity/anonymity and the ethics of “outing” the pseudonymous/anonymous. I don’t want to get into that directly here. Rather I want to address a related point.
It seems that there is an idea floating around that harsh public criticism of aspects of a profession necessarily constitutes hatred of that profession and its practitioners and acolytes, and is tantamount to personal insult and libel of individual members of that profession. It has been asserted that this rises to the level of an “outable” offense when such criticism is made pseudonymously or anonymously.
This pernicious idea needs to be brought out into the open and debunked. Having and expressing strong feelings that a profession, its training system, and even its acolytes and practitioners have flaws is absolutely not inconsistent with devoted, expert, careful participation in that profession and its training system.
The idea that the opposite must be true–that those that point out flaws hate the profession, are illegitimate infiltrators, and must be expelled and/or destroyed–is classical authoritarian follower thinking in its purest and most destructive form. It is exactly the same–and just as absurdly false–as “those who criticize the war in Iraq hate America, are traitors, and should be killed”.