Tuesday, January 24, 2012
- All The Insight... None Of The Trolls
Much of what I comment on comes from the various nooks and crannies of National Review, but I try to restrict the direct cross posting to those things that I feel I can add something substantial to. You don't need me to repeat things you can as easily read for yourself in "The Corner".
I confess, the people there are so smart that they don't often leave a ton of meat on the bone. So there are occasions where I find myself so impressed with a an essay or a particular insight that I end up doing little more than pimping for them. If anyone were paying for any of this I'd feel worse about it. But as it is, I find my conscience can handle it. "Me being impressed" may not seem particularly substantive to you, but my friends send me stuff all the time, and I think of that as doing the same.
This item is a bit of an exception though because I think it casts the past two posts into particular relief. Here is Jonah Goldberg discussion the NRO "Corner" moving into it's second decade. I think most people view the corner as a big time serious intellectual powerhouse for the right. It's a place where intelligence and applied expertise are valued above all other things.
This offers an interesting contrast to a place like Freerepublic where the value of both intelligence and expertise has been discounted to something very near to zero. On Freerepublic, if you are a retired military non-com who has never done anything but soldiering, you are treated as if your opinions have the same weight on something like physics for example, as someone who has a Nobel Prize in the field.
This is the product of anonymity. Anonymous web posting takes away accountability. And just like liberal policies that do the same to real life, they foster so much unproductive behavior that finding productive things becomes harder not easier. In truth, that's why I started this blog. I wanted to be in a position to take a little more credit (or blame) for my ideas, without having to cope with all the unproductive (or really... counter-productive) noise of FR.
I don't write this blog anonymously, but I do make it tough to find me. My full name, town of residence, and employer can all be found in these pages if you take the time to look. I do that more out of paranoia springing from my mis-spent youth than anything else, but it does also cut down on the hate mail. And having received death threats in the past I like to at least make it take some effort to track me down.
But the broader point about the Web is that I think the age of anonymity in political discourse is coming to an end - or at least fading to an irrelevant sidebar. While places like FR which allow anonymous posting increasingly fade to backwaters, (where even supporting one of the two leading Republican candidates is considered too leftist for them), National Review and the corner have shown a greater diversity of opinion, and have gained substantially in influence.
Personally I think that can only be a good thing.