So I pinned this to Dennis's door:
I have been working like a slave (well paid, though) for the last six months and have almost ceased blogging or commenting on the blogs of others. I still spend an hour or more a day staying up to speed..but as time has gone on the question "to what end?" keeps coming up.
An arena of ideas requires arguments and principled positions that can be debated and judged on merit. Healthy representative democracy should always benefit from debate; what has evolved over the last decade or so is less a debate than a battle of the bands. National discourse (and the bulk of that is still firmly in hands of MSM, make no mistake) is retrenchment by the left to feigned outrage and slogans.
Bush Derangement Syndrome has been accepted as the foundational philosophy of the Left.
The rise of the web has diluted the power of legacy media and political activists to manage public opinion. It has put source materials like the whole texts of speeches, public records, and accounts of individual experts or eyewitnesses to events in the hands of the people who actually decide public policy - voters.
The trend toward conservative majorities is no accident. It's the manifestation of a market responding to better data. And by "conservative" I don't nearly mean the hyperbolic label defined by what's left of the Left - I mean people who vote in their own self interest before any larger agenda.
We are trained by a lifetime of public relations campaigns to guage propriety as being that which is applauded publicly. The rise of blogs - especially on the Right - strikes me as a case of water findng its own level.
The Left is losing elections, and has been for most of my adult life. But since the MSM is invested in the pursuit of big government, antireligious, social engineering, race pimping, populist interests they find themselves adrift when what they write or televise doesn't result in the political landscape they consider "normal".
They still equate volume with relevance: so too do a lot of people on the Right. So we end up with a grundle of self-publishing individuals who invest tremendous amounts of time and effort in following the narrative and getting their opinions into the mix on a daily basis. Yes, there is a vital need to deny injection of falsity into debate, and for that the blogosphere's "fact checking" function is an undeniable factor... but when is enough enough?
I can't blog on politics any more. In truth I had little enough hope that debate was a productive pursuit with the Other Side long before 9/11. Commenting and blogging was exhilirating at first... but truly I think too many of us take ourselves too seriously. Now we have arrived at a point in time where the remnants of the other national party and the entire weight of their media and intelligentsia exist only to destroy one single political opponent who isn't even an election threat anymore. This driving obsession denies any peripheral consideration such as war, natural disasters, looming collapse of social programs, and lately has brought the inflaming of racial, regional, and economic divisions to a new low... and most importantly, they have emphatically abandoned any pretense at the necessity of a political party to provide reasons for voters to support them.
As long as they fail to apreciate that it's elections that count much more than the opinions of the NYT editorial board, my political broadsides will probably be confined to choices on a ballot.
I doubt I'll lack good company, and lots of it.