I just dumped Protein Wisdom from my news feeds. Another page full of Dan Collins’s dumbass posts just did me in. That’s not the only reason, though.
I’ve dropped a lot of former favorites. Some because of ideological differences–I don’t like distortions or slogans presented as facts–some because I can only hear the same joke a handful of times before it annoys me. But many of the right-wing blogs are gone largely because I think they are utterly devoid of new ideas.
Except for a few unspecific attacks on unspecified “Islamofascists”, the right-wing bloggers are primarily interested in attacking Democrats. It’s an “us vs. them” mentality that engenders enmity rather than amity. In constant attack-mode, they perceive all criticism as a sign that the criticizer harbors untold other heretical beliefs, leading to incessant strawman attacks. If you don’t like the Bush administration’s suspension of habeas corpus, you probably also want to kowtow to terrorists, and you are a “hate-America-firster”.
(If Sean Hannity were struck dumb today, we’d notice an elevation of public discourse by tomorrow. This is not to say that censorship is good; this is to say that Sean Hannity is stupid.)
I notice that most of my remaining feeds tend towards the paleo-conservative and libertarian. I still read Ann Coulter’s column, so I suppose I’ll be allowed into neo-con Heaven. I wish there were more reasonable pro-war bloggers. Jeff Goldstein I would count as one, but he’s abandoned his blog to lesser lights for the most part, and he seems to be forever trying to recapture the magic days of his great blog-wars: incessant and tedious nit-picking rebuttals with whoever calls him a bad name. I think part of the reason he does that is because it’s fun. I like to do it, too. That doesn’t make it compelling to anybody other than the parties involved, unless you’re a fanboy. But another reason is that there’s nothing left to debate.
The Iraq war is clearly not what the 2003-era supporters hoped it would be. It isn’t even what the 2003-doomsayers hoped it would not be. It’s a mish-mash of some good, but mostly bad. Incoherent sloganeering replaces objective metrics. We’re little closer to a stable Iraq than four years ago, and indeed what meager progress that has been made is balanced on the edge of a sword. Insistence that we stay is argued with the threat of widespread genocide, but at no time is this clearly inherent instability acknowledged when talk turns to political solutions. Why is a land prone to bloody anarchy likely to gel into a functioning democracy? This question is not answered, and never asked.
And to top it all off, now there’s talk of moving on Iran.
These are not happy positions to defend. You can find a story here or there that puts a shine on that turd, but it tastes like weak-tea handwaving to do so. Nobody can provide anything like a clear and cogent argument for how everything is going great and that we should do more of this, so talk instead turns to how the media makes mistakes, or how the media shows bias, or how the Democrats lied about something, or how this or that left-wing blogger sounds like a girl. This too is weak-tea handwaving, but it’s aggressive weak-tea handwaving; maybe you are still wrong, but at least you’re not a pussy.