Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Partisanship in America

I know it's trendy to decry partisanship these days; heck, I've even done so myself. But hey, I figure, why not flog a dead horse while it's down, and mix other metaphors while I'm at it?

Andrew Sullivan has a nice piece today about partisan blogging, and while I'd love to disagree, about all I can come up with is a weak, "So, what did you expect, exactly?"

Andrew points out that one of the benefits of blogging (I hereby vow to never use the word "blogosphere" unless a gun is held to my head, Or I change my mind.) is that individual voices can be more easily heard. This is so true, and is one of the reasons I love the Internet, because on the 'net, everybody is a publisher (though some companies seem to want us to forget this. What he doesn't seem to account for is that:

1. Nobody has to listen
2. Most individuals aren't terribly individual

The fact is, I can go to nearly any bar in El Paso county, Colorado and get Rush Limbaugh's opinion from nearly anyone on any world issue I care to name. Or maybe Michael Savage's; it would depend on the bar. But if I try to engage those people in conversation as to why they believe it, they tend to have the same rationales as their talk-show heroes, and are about as willing to listen to dissenting evidence.

Not that the Left is any better-- that's one thing I really noticed after moving to a much more liberal area of Colorado. They're just as shallow as their right-wing counterparts, just with Michael Moore and Al Franken instead of Limbaugh and Savage. Just try explaining to a random selection of people up here that we are doing good things in Iraq, and that the entire populace is not, in fact, lining up to kill themselves just to get at us. Heck, try pointing out that the "insurgents" (read: "terrorists") are targeting Iraqis more than they are us these days, and what that implies about their goals, vis-a-vis "liberation".

Or try pointing out to people in Colorado Springs that we badly bungled the postwar occupation, and that Rumsfeld should be fired for his criminally negligent understaffing of the occupation. You'll always get some people on all sides willing to listen to reason, and debate honestly and forthrightly on any subject, but the vast majority of people-- and I include myself in this, right up front-- are less interested in arriving at the truth, and more at winning, whatever that may mean to them. Why this should be any less true on blogs than in real life, I can't imagine.

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