Saturday, February 19, 2005

Blogger, explain thyself
Sometime in the past day or so, I received a comment challenging my reasons for blogging, and referring to my opinions as "copycat branding." He asks "What do you think it says to me about the effort you are making to advance public discourse in a genuine way worthy of your education, rather than just scoring imaginary points in front of an imaginary audience? If you have this blog going because you believe in a particular ideology, why bother? That ideology will do just fine without you defending it." Then comes my favorite two lines: "I think you know what I mean. You can do better!"

Well, I thought I'd respond to "mike" with a post all its own, addressing the reasons I got into blogging, the reasons I continue, and the goals for this site. Before I get into this, however, I should point out that mike's expectations are way off base. Mike came here, I can only assume, because he posts on DailyKos, where I have been seen quite regularly this week.

I come under attack at DailyKos very often for being a "freeper" or a "troll" or a "wingnut" or whatever other made-up political technobabble they choose on a given day—and it gets me angry, oftentimes.

Why? I can't possibly expect to be accepted by a bunch of people who loathe everything I stand for, can I? No, of course not. But I can expect them to have enough foresight to listen to me. I know, I know, why do I think I have anything special to offer? Simple: I'm patient. If you've never been, you should go read the comments posted on DailyKos sometime—it's not as bad as Democratic Underground, but it's pretty incredible. What they've got going over there is an echo chamber. The amount that the Kossacks substantively disagree with each other is unbelievably small. Of course, this makes sense, as the reason they go there is for meet-ups and so forth, to build strength in their movement. And that's fine.

The problem is, in politics, as with anything, you can't win without understanding your opponent. I go to Kos to learn about my opposition, to debate issues with them, to understand by experience. I do so respectfully, and I do so with the full intention of disclosing my beliefs and why I hold them. So, I'm patient enough to put up with the attacks, and carefully explain that the Kossacks stand to gain as much from me as I do from them—and because of that, I stick around and they do gain from understanding my position, if they choose to.

So, "mike" came to see my blog most likely with this in the back of his mind. Of course, I don't blog here for the same reason I post on DKos. So why do I blog?

I got into blogging because of my my brother and his friends, who started diet coke for breakfast back in early 2003. Later that year—around September, I believe—I was invited by James and Jake to join them. I posted exclusively there for a time. Eventually I tried my own blog, which failed several times, and a bipartisan group blog, whose remnants still exist here. Finally, on January 28, 2004 I posted here, at Running for the Right: "So, we're gonna give this another shot. My first two attempts at a solo-post blog have failed, and it looks like elmivy might be dying too. So, this is going to be an Andrew Sullivan, or Glenn Reynolds type of blog. That is, I will link to things I find interesting or funny, and make comments. The format will likely change over the next few days/weeks, but hopefully I'll make this a regular thing for once... "

Clearly, my goal was in no way to further political debate, or to have both sides expressed. The point is for me to publish my thoughts, and link to articles I find interesting. If other people find them interesting, then I'm glad they enjoy it—if not, then they need never return.

And over time, my efforts did indeed change. My sub-head eventually evolved to "Strategy-focused political thoughts from a conservative Yalie," as political strategy—both electoral and otherwise—occupies the focus of my interest. I blog, therefore, to publicize my take on things. Unfortunately, with the election past, and the next one not in full swing yet, there is little strategy on which to focus, and my posts have turned more often to explanations of what I believe.

And this, of course, is why mike indicts my intentions. In his mind, I'm just like all the rest, and I'm wasting words to defend an ideal that is so well defended.

Well, mike, I don't expect you to understand, but there is distinction on the Right. Yes, many people believe the things I do—but if you truly believe that your position as expressed on DKos is unique, then you're deluded. Blogging is not restricted to one person of each set of beliefs. I write to defend my beliefs on DKos so that I can learn from the Kossacks, and in return they can learn from me if they like. I write to defend my beliefs here, because I know that a lot of the people who read this are not familiar with what I believe, and because many of the people who share some beliefs with me do not share others. My ideals are not those that control the Republican Party these days, so they are anything but dominant, and every little bit helps.

Like I've said many times, if you don't enjoy my posts (I'm not intelligent, my analysis isn't original, my views are wrong, whatever) don't come back. I don't need the hate mail, or the harsh posts—though I know they'll continue as long as I'm posting—but I welcome questions and disagreement. Debate is fine, and I'm happy to engage in it—just understand that I'm not here to find a resolution to political disputes, I'm here to express my side of that dispute, pure and simple.


Nettie said...

Hey, found your blog randomly and thought it was cool. Rock on, Right!

one-dimensional man said...

Hey -

I actually found your blog by linking from a reply you made at DKos. Its kind of funny because I was thinking pretty much along the lines of the reasoning in this post - 'wow, thats interesting that a conservative actually bothered to read through this and respond rationally.' I'm pretty new to the blogosphere (started and immediately neglected my own blog mere weeks ago) but the one thing I have noticed is exactly that 'echo chamber' phenomenon you were pointing to. It seems to be endemic in politics of our time (though, then again, maybe its been endemic to politics since the beginning of time). Regardless, I just wanted to say that while I probably disagree with a lot of your political values or priorities, I really appreciate your philosophy on dialogue and communication. As far aparts as the right and left seem to be on a lot of issues, I think the distance would seem a lot smaller if people would bother to actually listen to each other more often, to actually engage in a discourese.

Thumbs up!