Once again, Robin’s doing what he does best: get meta. I’ve argued that Sylvia Hewlett hurt her book sales by stepping on her friends’ toes without reaching out to potential allies. But if that’s what I think, says Robin, isn’t it reasonable to suspect that I’m incorporating these insights into my own marketing strategy?

So unless Bryan was lucky enough that nothing he thought true or relevant to say ever risked stepping on toes on “his side”, readers should treat his words more skeptically, knowing they are probably filtered to gain “his side’s” support.

Now I could say, “If I really used this strategy, I wouldn’t be telling people about it!” But it’s more useful just to point out that I have a long history of stepping on libertarian toes: the Austrians, most prominently; but also Tyler (well, you could call that retaliatory toe-stepping, but he is one of my best friends); Megan McArdle; and lately Will Wilkinson. It’s easy to multiply examples.

Now it is true that strive to be friendly or at least civil to people I disagree with. But I don’t see a conflict between truth-seeking and good manners.