Could not agree more with Steven Reynolds, Richard Anderson, and, I am sure, many others. While the First Amendment primarily serves to limit government’s ability to constrain free speech, the essential element of free speech is to be found in spirited, lively and open dialog. Such a forum as existed at this website until recently; it offered the opportunity for a free debate of ideas expressed both in support and challenge, and timely opportunities to rebut or expand upon the ideas of others. To be sure, this opened the door to sometimes extreme, distasteful, and offensive comments. Such are the risks of a free society. But by shutting down these comments, the Independent has defied its namesake and put a chokehold on the voices of its readers.
Letters to the Editor are a fine idea, particularly when they open new topics for discussion. But the time delay inherent in being limited to respond only through another Letter to the Editor intrinsically hampers a true forum for ideas.
To the Editors: Return the Disqus comment section, at least to the Opinions page. If you feel so compelled, do so in a way that identifies contributors to the forum, but please, restore the free flow of ideas, good and bad. Such is at the heart if what the Independent used to be.
Editor’s Note: Identifying contributors had proven impossible.