Monday, January 18, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Strange loop"

A fascinating thread topic. If the big difference between the Right and Left sides of the Innertubes is that the Left delivers less content then we should ask, Why? It may be that for the Left their content is generated and paid for in institutional settings. The Left are entrenched in Government, Academia and in Media. Professionals from those communities do not engage in "peer review" in public on the internet. They do blog to engage in personality and political posturing or to build support for other ventures that can be monetized.

For the Right little of that applies. People with other experiences and credentials meet online to explore issues and offer evidence or anecdotes. This is analogous to an 18th and 19th century tradition of pamphlet and journal writing combined with a skill for public civil debate that was once the cornerstone of a Socratic education. The Right uses the internet this way because they have no place else to go. The biggest weakness the Right faces is that their strengths are based on their age and experience but except for those socialized by an experience in the armed forces few people under 45 are now learning the skills needed to use the internet as the Right does.

If the Left wanted to drain the best minds on the Right away from the online conversation then they should arrange to get them tenure track positions at small but cozy colleges. However doing so would risk allowing the Right to transmit their values and skills at reasoned discourse to a new generation. Therefor it may be in the interest of the Left to keep the Right in an online ghetto and hope that dominance of the Media will allow them to keep their messages from leaking into the general body politic.

no mo uro,
Thank you for the reply. Regarding your specifics, on point #4 you note the common lack of a grasp of science, logic and Western thought on the part of many attempting political discourse. This relates to my concern about declining educational standards. At one time a liberal education meant a broad based program, such as was delivered by a Common Core that most great universities based their curricula on. These ensured that even those who majored in the Humanities or Social Sciences had some understanding of the scientific method and that all were exposed to the basic canon of Western Civilization. That can not be assumed, with rare exceptions, for anyone who graduated within the last 20 years.

While I generally follow the logic of your argument I would caution you to remember that while the positions of the Left may be more likely to leave their adherents open to error it is still possible for someone to be overtly religious, technically competent, neither hedonist nor ostentatiously ascetic, the recipient of a well rounded education, and indifferent to the praise of Charlie Rose and to still be wrong. We should always be on guard not to mirror the errors and assumptions of virtue of those we disagree with. While the argument may be made that their positions would tend to certain conclusions, I would avoid stating "they will always" as if what followed is a proven fact.

A Conservative Teacher,
If the Belmont Club "rules the media" then I want to start making money for my contributions to this forum. How about it wretchard? Time to pony up.

Jeff Medcalf,
If you find Cass Sunstein frightening look up his wife Samantha Powers.


Nice to see a flame free thread. Excellent comments.

Jan 18, 2010 - 7:24 pm

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