Tom, this is a beautiful look at a well-thought-out piece by Shirky. I never made it a secret that I think Clay and the gonzo believers approach things from different points in the universe--him from the outside in and us from the inside out. That analysis doesn't lend answers to all of the questions and unknown potential of the net drives Clay into deeper analysis, where he seeks answers to unfathomable quandries, while we, on the other hand, tumble within the vastness and connectedness of the net, open to and welcoming to a reality skewed.
So, Tom, in addition to saying you offer an amazing take on this topic, I also say to you, thank you for finally giving some meaning to the allied title of my blog:
"There are souls in the world whom one will never meet or know, but to whom one - we - are allied by something far more binding than overt modes of human interaction, or possibly even common ties of language, country, or religion."
Yah, that's what I meant when I named it.