Please Let it Be Over

October 26, 2004 | 18 comments
By

I was surfing around some of my favorite blogs for something to post about, and there were a couple of interesting posts, none of which I am going to link to. Rather, I am going to muse for a few minutes about the pernicious effect of democracy on blogging.

I am frankly amazed at the number of blogs by otherwise intelligent and interesting people who have become increasely shrill and predictable as we come closer and closer to the election. Of course there are some interesting blogs that are more or less always shrill when they stray beyond a certain core area. However, even blogs that I generally find interesting for their political discussion have become just awful. Since Kristine and my mom have rebuked me for writing mean posts, please notice the absence of any links. (Except, of course, to one blog. BTW, I have a theory about him.)

Democracy, I suppose, is a necessary evil and when I stop thinking about it in terms of self-government or meaningful discussion and realize instead that it is simply the equivalent of WWF for the better educated, I get a bit less depressed. I am, however, looking forward to the blessed day when the ballots will have been counted, the courts will have decided the election, one side can announce the end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it for a couple of weeks and we can get back to normal. It is becoming increasingly difficult, however, to have any conversations in which one is not immediately transformed into a character in someone elses ideological morality play. Certainly, blogging will be the better for it.

18 Responses to Please Let it Be Over

  1. Adam Greenwood on October 26, 2004 at 2:48 pm

    “Democracy, I suppose, is a necessary evil and when I stop thinking about it in terms of self-government or meaningful discussion and realize instead that it is simply the equivalent of WWF for the better educated, I get a bit less depressed.”

    Whatever comforts you, Nate. :) My experience suggests that it is also the equivalent of WWF for lots of the less well-educated too, but maybe that just makes democracy more likable for you?

  2. Nate Oman on October 26, 2004 at 2:50 pm

    Point well taken.

  3. Russell Arben Fox on October 26, 2004 at 2:55 pm

    “I am, however, looking forward to the blessed day when the ballots will have been counted, the courts will have decided the election, one side can announce the end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it for a couple of weeks and we can get back to normal.”

    So, around February then?

  4. Steve Evans on October 26, 2004 at 3:15 pm

    Nate, are you talking about Bloggernacle sites, or the blog world in general? I’d agree with you about the blog world as a whole, but I’ve liked the Bloggernacle lately.

  5. Nate Oman on October 26, 2004 at 3:18 pm

    Steve: I admit that by and large my frustration is with the world of law blogs…

  6. Steve Evans on October 26, 2004 at 3:23 pm

    Then I share your frustration. Politically- and legally-themed blogs are notoriously locked in to mindsets that only get more frustrating as elections approach. May I suggest that you just watch clip after clip of the Daily Show until it’s all over? Or Vote for Pedro, as I suggest.

  7. Nate Oman on October 26, 2004 at 3:33 pm

    Actually I am saved from this dilemma by the fact that I am not registered to vote in Virginia (I missed the deadline during my move and first weeks at work). At this point, I think that I will make a campaign contribution as my gesture of civic involvement. ;->

  8. danithew on October 26, 2004 at 3:35 pm

    I’m not sure if this fits exactly with what you’re saying Nate … but I get turned off by blogs that are wholly political in their outlook and posts.

    There’s just got to be more to life …

  9. The Only True and Living Nathan on October 26, 2004 at 5:01 pm

    I think I just found the new motto for my blog: “Politics Whenever Unavoidable, Ephemera Whenever Possible.”

  10. Ethesis (Stephen M) on October 26, 2004 at 9:22 pm

    We talked politics and the church today at our JRCLS meeting for Dallas-Fort Worth. A couple guys talked about voting for Carter and the link between abortion and voting for them.

    Interesting stuff, but polite.

  11. Aimee on October 27, 2004 at 12:06 am

    I tend to stay away from blogs that talk about politics. I have my views, they have theirs, and talking about them online is not likely to change our point of views. This is why I especially enjoy the bloggernacle, we seem to stay away from such posts, even now I think the most I have read politically is this post, and maybe a few about voting (with no direct refrence as to who they should vote for).

    WWF? Do you mean the World Wildlife Fund? Maybe I just don’t understand that part, but I like the WWF. :)

  12. Clark Goble on October 27, 2004 at 12:25 am

    I think what is most frustrating is that the debate really isn’t over ideology but how much we trust each figure to do what they say. The rhetoric has become extremely shrill and harsh of late and I’m eagerly awaiting the end of the election season and am praying nothing like 2000 happens. (Although I suspect it will)

  13. Rob Briggs on October 27, 2004 at 4:03 am

    “I am, however, looking forward to the blessed day when the ballots will have been counted, the courts will have decided the election, one side can announce the end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it for a couple of weeks and we can get back to normal.”

    I’m age, er, well, I’m older than most of you. I can’t recall an election in which there have been some many predictions of the end of Life-As-We-Know-It if the other party’s candidate is elected. I receive dire warnings every other day. Ordinarily sensible people make outlandish claims. It amazes me.

  14. Ken Maxwell on October 27, 2004 at 6:07 am

    Amen to that brother.

  15. Kaimi on October 27, 2004 at 1:09 pm

    Nate,

    As persuasive as your Lieter theory is, and as hard as it is for me to abandon it, I think Leiter’s recent musings in his Dworkin piece also show some of the reason for his tendency towards, shall we say, strong arguments.

  16. clark on October 27, 2004 at 2:47 pm

    Kaimi, exactly what in his Dworkin piece do you see as holding the key to Leiter’s shrillness?

  17. Kaimi on October 27, 2004 at 2:53 pm

    Clark,

    I’m refering to the little personal note at the end, where Leiter states:

    I shall conclude on a personal note. I’ve never met Ronald Dworkin. Once,
    about a half-dozen years ago, he e-mailed me out of the blue to express his appreciation
    for an obscure article of mine—or, perhaps I should say, “a more obscure-than-usual
    article of mine�—showing that Quine was not a postmodernist. It was a kind gesture
    by a famous man, and I’ve obviously repaid that kindness badly.
    But philosophy is not about kindness, it’s about getting things right. A large
    number of those who work in legal philosophy say privately what I’ve said publicly this
    evening. Perhaps because, unlike the vast majority of those who work in jurisprudence, I
    never passed through Oxford during my studies, I never internalized the “reverence for
    the great man� which keeps so many others silent. Perhaps because I did my graduate
    work at the University of Michigan, in a philosophical climate that was ferocious and
    often merciless in its pursuit of an argument—and in which the standards of excellence in
    philosophy were set by the likes of Allan Gibbard and Peter Railton—I have reacted
    badly to Dworkin’s merry-go-around of confusing distinctions, his endless reinvention of
    the wheel (as though no philosophical work on the topic had come before), his failure to
    represent either his critics or his targets correctly, and his dismissal of serious
    philosophers like Railton as making irrelevant or unintelligible claims about basic
    philosophical questions.

    The whole paper is at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=598265

  18. Davis Bell on October 27, 2004 at 3:18 pm

    Am I the only one who’s having trouble pulling up any of the blogger-hosted blogs?