Political Weblogging

The argument in defense

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Oddly enough, two separate threads related to two totally different subjects and both leading to this posting.

As stated earlier, B!x posted a reference to the Weblogging Consortium idea to Blogroots. At this time, I rather wish this hadn’t happened because the idea was just something I was throwing out to see what kind of discussion it would generate in my own comments; to see if interest was strong enough to take the idea further.

Well, it generated discussion at Blogroots. Lots of discussion. It also generated a great deal of dismissiveness, from me, and from others. Anil says I proposed the idea because I’m promoting my return to weblogging; Matt says that the idea is far too idealisitic; Melody states the proposal is ill-formed; and someone going by the name of ‘watermelonpunch’ sure doesn’t like the reference to ‘weblogging community’.

I’m feeling trapped behind bars that allow me little room for movement. Result: Oh, Yeah?

Conversations shut down before they even started, for what was nothing more than a simple idea. Slam! Hear that door shut! And not just on the ‘proposal’, but also on the criticism. Playing the game “What animal are you”, I could have been a hedgehog. Bristle! Defensive manuever! Lick them tennis shoes and foam at the mouth!

Or: How Not to Keep a Conversation Going 101.

And as I was trying to smooth the quills down on my back, I stepped over to Glenn Reynold’s and read:



The problem, essentially, is that Dave came into this debate late, and he’s not up to speed. He’s a smart guy, God knows, and as entitled to an opinion as anyone, but a lot of people have been wrestling with these things in somewhat more depth. Vague, general statements about playgrounds and bullies are merely inapt analogies, not arguments. You can make an intelligent argument against invading Iraq. And — here’s the other post I don’t have to make — Jim Henley has done so. I think he’s wrong, but it’s a question of the weight you assign to various factors, which is something about which reasonable people can differ.

And this

MARTIN DEVON is echoing a question of my own: why are the arguments offered by those opposing the war of such generally poor quality? I can make up better, more coherent arguments against the war than those who seem to have made it their mission to oppose it.

And this

MEETING THE CHALLENGE: HappyFunPundit is proving that warbloggers are better than anti-warbloggers even when it comes to thinking up arguments against the war.


You can hear the door slamming in each of the quotes that I pulled from Reynold’s site. The condescension as he dismisses other opinions, the refutation of other arguments as being poor according to his standards, the very fact that he doesn’t even reference most of the other arguments — only those of like mind — are all discussion killing tactics. He is using his position of influence to control the flow of the discourse.

Rather than refute the arguments, he’s disparaging the player; surprising behavior for someone who should be skilled in debate as one would assume a law professor would be.

If I taught “How Not to Keep a Conversation Going, 101” this morning, Reynolds has been teaching the advanced course all day long.

But then, he is a professor.

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