Thank you so much for your blog-letter, ‘The Merit of Letters‘. I do not intend on getting the last word on this discussion, but do hope that by continuing to demonstrate and practice the Blog-Letter, it will continue to attract interest (which it appears to have).
I want to touch on your point: ‘Yet at the same time, the practice of virtuous discourse is informed by its values, so perhaps you could turn those into principles if it were strictly necessary. Those values include, but cannot be restricted to, politeness, insightfulness, fellowship, eloquence, and wit.‘
This is interesting. I agree that Values are something different from Principles. Perhaps they are the unspoken or less organized aspect of Principles? Values can be passed on to us by family, society, or invented by our own volition. To value something is both a goal and an action, while Principles tend to be an explicit statement and thus less dynamic.
If I may be so bold, I am going to also suggest the additional Values of Openness and Transparency. The former being your stated intention to welcome all, regardless of status or standing, the latter being the practice of writing these letters in the open so that any can be witnessed (and thus be invited to participate).
It was my intention was to formalize the concept of the Republic of Bloggers, and while it shall remain a more informal entity, I believe that your establishing a set of Values can attract others seeking the same things we do. This appears to be the case with your commenter Luke.
So it is my view that our first experiment with the Blog-Letter and the Republic of Bloggers has accomplished something. The Values you have cited are sustainable and virtuous, and in review I find the transformation of our original question to be pretty remarkable.
‘The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances:
if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
— Carl Gustuv Jung
Thanks and warm regards,