Sunday, November 30, 2008

[Tom Hilton, speaking for me only]

This week's installment in the ongoing Why I Loathe the Blogosphere and Despise Progressives series comes to us courtesy of Avedon Carol, who posts this astonishingly silly bit:
Top-down isn't really democracy, but that works fine for Obama, I guess. And his minions agree - it's not the business of the people to make our will known; it's our duty to do what we're told. Chumps.
Click through the link and you'll see an even sillier post juxtaposing two excerpts: the first from Obama's press conference the other day, when he said that the vision in the administration would be his; the second from some random commenter somewhere, saying we should trust Obama. Somehow, this adds up to the spectre of an authoritarian President Obama manipulating the mindless hordes, although I think you have to have the ├╝ber-progressive secret decoder ring to understand the conclusion.

One might reasonably wonder how an unexceptionable statement by Obama that he won't be a figurehead, that his administration will be more than the sum of his appointees, could possibly be spun as negative. (One might also reasonably ask: has the last Republican died in captivity? did the right-wing meme industry suddenly shutter all of its factories? have women and LGBT people and African-Americans and every other group that experiences discrimination magically attained full equality? and is there no more suitable target to attack than the very people on whose success any progress in this country depends? But I digress.) The answer is that it makes sense only from the perspective of reflexive opposition to Obama. There is no carefully considered critique here; only the habit of complaint.

And roughly 98.35% of the post-election kvetching from progressives has been like this. When progressive bloggers attack Obama or congressional Democrats, it isn't because after careful, calm, dispassionate consideration they conclude that there are in fact reaonable grounds for criticism and that airing it will have a net positive practical impact. Progressive bloggers attack Democrats because bloggers are conflict junkies and progressives are desperately in love with failure. Bloggers habitually parlay the most trivial incidents into overblown hysterical outrage; progressives cannot bring themselves to lend their support to anyone who has actually won an election.

The liberal blogosphere was born in opposition to Bush, and is habituated to misrule by corrupt and incompetent right-wing ideologues. The attitudes that were appropriate and necessary under those circumstances are dysfunctional and self-defeating when we have a president who isn't corrupt, isn't incompetent, and is (for any but the narrowest, most dogmatic lefties) on our side. We had some value in opposing Bush; we were more or less useless during the election (Obama won with a network he built himself, not the 'netroots', and some people will never forgive him for it); and now, it seems, a sizable faction (majority? large minority? I don't know) is determined to be worse than useless. I have good reason to be optimistic about Obama's presidency, and no reason at all to be optimistic about the blogosphere--which is determined to doom itself to irrelevance and self-parody.

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