Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

March 18, 2009

Word to the Blogosphere: On Not Preaching to the Choir

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:24 am

Preaching to the choir: that’s what so many bloggers in the increasingly stultified, conformist, Crips-and-Bloods gang war atmosphere of liberal and conservative blogs do. As someone who reads both liberal and conservative blogs, I find the comments a sad echo chamber that often does little more than mouth the pieties of each position with little more than smug bile to add, thus reaffirming the blogger’s own self-satisfied, inside-the-box predictability for fear of the lynch mob mentality with which any dissent from the accepted position is punished.

As the only consistently liberal voice (well, pro-Obama voice; I would accept Roger L. Simon’s assertion that he is still standing up for classical liberal values that have been left behind by all too many contemporary liberals–freedom of speech, for instance) it’s sometimes lonely on a mainly conservative blog aggregator. But I’m grateful for the freedom–not available on any liberal blogs I know of–not to preach to the choir, but rather to piss off the choir, often enraging both conservatives and those liberals whose limited understanding of dissent and free speech doesn’t extend to the idea that a blog website should have more than one point of view. How dare a liberal write for a conservative oriented blog, these sad cases (who really aren’t liberal at all, but totalitarian enforcers) fume. Their rigidly intolerant view of the iron rules of dissent (liberal views must only be expressed on liberal blog sites) is pathetic and blinkered and demonstrates they lack any understanding of liberalism in the larger sense of open discourse.

And when I dissent from liberal orthodoxy (as I often do) they become apoplectic. But apoplexy seems to be the constant state of conservative commenters who seem so frightened that their views can’t stand up to criticism that they often seem to want to abolish the expression of any ideas that challenge them. In their frightful, diminished view, dissent is legitimate only if they agree with it. They have much in common with the totalitarian liberal enforcers of the Rule of Dissent.

They ought to take a look at the recent warning from staunch conservative Tony Blankley, that hysterical intolerance of other points of view has increasingly become the norm on both sides of the blogosphere to the detriment of the value of debate itself.

While everyone likes being praised for their views, I’ve come to enjoy not preaching to the choir, indeed pissing off the choir, exposing them to views other than those they encounter in their little hermetic worlds of self-congratulation in which they whip themselves up into a mob frenzy of often inarticulate rage at views they don’t agree with. Many seem to want to narrow, rather than widen their world so they only read views exactly like their own. I think it’s healthy for them to see (in the comments) just how conformist, Pavlovian and thoughtless their responses can be. A useful mirror in which they can witness how ugly they become when their prejudices are challenged. I exempt from this portrait intelligent conservatives who are confident enough in their views that they can tolerate and debate opposition with articulate civility. But frankly, I don’t think some lynch mob commenter types are doing the conservative cause any service in the way they represent it.

But I think liberal blog sites ought to provide the same service–a dissenting blogger–so the preachers to the choir there can experience dissent rather than the back patting, ass kissing they seem to revel in.

The whole blogosphere would be healthier for it.



  1. […] the entire story here […]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » Word to the Blogosphere: Stop Preaching to the Choir — March 18, 2009 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  2. For this one, I am your choir. Right on! (as we used to say)

    Comment by Roger L Simon — March 18, 2009 @ 10:11 am | Reply

  3. Both liberals and conservatives tend to oversimplify the problems at hand. It makes it tough to get anywhere when hostility is thrown into the mix. I admit I agree with liberals on some things, yet both sides seem to think a complete overhaul is in order for the policies and programs they don’t like. You have to work with what you have and eat the elephant one bite at a time if you’re to effect change. The hostility on the liberal blog sites scares me a little more. Maybe it’s a sign of aging.

    Comment by bear — March 18, 2009 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  4. I never read blogs. The best place for dissenting opinions are the comment sections of online newspapers. My fave is Times of London Online.

    Comment by flashwoman — March 18, 2009 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  5. Ron,

    I’ve gone over to Lefty blog sites just to read the articles and comments of other readers. I’ve never posted comments there and am under no illusions as to what would be done with my comment (it would be deleted). I’ve known conservatives who have been banned at those sites for nothing more than disagreeing with the community of socialists there. Word travels quickly, and we on the other side alter our habits accordingly. I sometimes go over there to read just to see what and how the other side thinks. There is value in that.

    What most worries me about where we are now: people will pour out their opinions as if one is flogging someone tied to a post. I find that really good thinking and writing involves a person being able to explain WHY he’s a socialist or why he’s a conservative. What process or life experiences have brought one down this road. We have become a society full of people who cannot peel themselves like onions, uncovering the layers of their experience and intellectual formation in order to understand why they are the way they are.

    When I was a kid growing up, as was the case for any Catholic kids who grew up before the 1970’s, we learned in school from the religious sisters, brothers, and priests the importance of doing a thorough examination of conscience. We learned to look at our lives and to uncover what we had done and WHY we had done it. A habit of good introspection was encouraged. Not everyone got into it, but I did. We came to understand ourselves at some depth. This habit carried over into later years, when I was studying the history of ideas. Thus, I understood back during the late Seventies WHY I was a socialist and how I had come to that worldview. And then by the late Eighties when I left Marxist thought I was able to account for WHY this had happened and what the steps in my change were and how they happened.

    Being circumspect is a dying habit.

    Comment by fred — March 18, 2009 @ 10:33 am | Reply

  6. Because of this blog I purchased your “Shakespeare Wars”, and of course, I have your “Explaining Hitler.” Also, I have discovered that Charles Finch, the really good mystery writer, is the son of Charlie Finch, your friend.

    As to your political stances, I have never understood your support of Obama, except to mark it down to a tendency to see the world through an artistic ethos. In my view, running a country is a difficult and often very boring job, unsuited to flamboyance and poetry. The debacle over the DVD set given to Britain’s PM is just a straw in the wind: by electing Obama, the American electorate has signalled the world that it is now isolationist and weak. My fear is that same as any person in a community where the police force is disappearing.

    I hope you are well. And if you ever ever do anything more on the Munich Post Poison Kitchen, let me know.

    Comment by heathermc — March 18, 2009 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  7. When you cower in the corner of either the Conservative establishment or Liberal establishment, you can take comfort in knowing that the arrows are all coming from one direction. Not to mention the ego boost from everybody praising your intelligence for agreeing with Them.

    When you dare to think for yourself, ignoring talking-points from both camps, the arrows come at you from all directions.

    In addition, it takes less effort to imitate than to think for one’s self.

    I wouldn’t recommend it for the timid or for those seeking an ego massage.

    Comment by FLMom — March 18, 2009 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  8. Gee…. there was nothing narrow-minded or preachy in your 19/20/21 January posts re: the newly elected president redeeming us all “our” sins of slavery.

    Ahh yes, the Memory Hole

    This is John Thull, just so nobody starts up again about anoniminity.

    Comment by anton — March 18, 2009 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  9. I acknowledge I/we/conservatives/frightened citizens need to do our best to argue about ideas and not get into hysterical frozen responses. But I will not accept that that means that all of these assertions should stand.

    By deciding on what characterizations we want to see in blog communication, are we not indicating that we consider those who “do it better” as more deserving of freedom of speech?

    The libs have always screamed, exaggerated and lied.

    It has only been in the last couple of years that conservatives in any significant % have started speaking up. It is intimidating to go up against the well-practiced screaming, namecalling libs and requires discipline to learn not to respond in kind.

    Many conservatives I know who are perfectly eloquent in person don’t even dare try to express themselves on the internet because they know they’d be ripped apart, not for the quality of their expression but because of their opinion.

    Haven’t you ever observed someone who, after years of abuse, has found a listening ear. And then they scream and yell for the first 30 minutes, until they finally realize that they really ARE going to receive a hearing???? That dynamic is what I attribute much of the conservative sarcasm and heat to.

    Millions of us have been keeping our mouths shut for decades and finally, can’t take it any more. So as we jump in and try to express ourselves, yeah, sometimes we’re going to go over the cliff in our amateurish efforts.

    I still think we have the right of Freedom of Speech.

    The libs have been burning the books for years on this stuff….so please don’t create a lopsided and artificial standard that says that now that conservatives are starting to fight back–that all of a sudden it’s an issue and that suddenly, once again, “it’s up to us to raise the level of communication”.

    That kind of rationale is what has gotten us where we are.

    Where were these comments when it was only the libs burning the country down?

    Comment by Meryl — March 18, 2009 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  10. unfortunately i have to agree with anton… those three or four posts really turned me off to your writing. i felt they were petty and preachy in a way that I had thought you were above. I had sworn off reading you, only to return recently. My loyalties begin with Shakespeare Wars and hopefully do not end there.
    Anyway, for a real liberal trying to preach against the choir, read Paglia on Salon. She is about as honest and principle driven as anyone on either side.
    Anyway hope you are well and I am happy to be reading again… for now.

    Comment by bryan — March 18, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  11. Tough day Ron? Hope you’re feeling better. Good bit of thinking here. You owe yourself a tall cool libation. It should make the headache go away for now.

    Comment by aloysiusmiller — March 18, 2009 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  12. As a (relatively new) blogger, I have to chime in in defense of the echo chamber.

    For one thing, no matter what anyone says, it’s Rush Limbaugh that built this house. Much of the content of his show is what ends up in Blogs, both conservative and liberal. My very first political blog was a response to Rush.

    So far as preaching to the choire, that may very well be a problem on the Left, but on the right: we’ve been so beaten down, so cowed, so humiliated and villified that it’s refreshing to find out there are indeed likeminded people out there with half a brain!

    So, forgive me: the “Consevative Echo Chamber” at least helps me get the message.

    Comment by wancow — March 18, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  13. “But apoplexy seems to be the constant state of conservative commenters who seem so frightened”

    No….I really don’t think we’re there yet. Your liberal brothers and sisters, I think, have taken intolerance to a whole new level. But you go ahead and think that way if it makes you feel better.

    Comment by LynnS — March 18, 2009 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  14. I agree whole-heartedly with Ron’s post.
    We all have our strong opinions, and I have as many as any other.
    But I do notice that the national dialogue between the conservatives and liberals has taken on, as Ron puts it, a Crip vs. Bloods tone.
    Specifically, there is so much effort put into destroying the other side, and defending our own, we sometimes forget that there is SOME truth to each side, or to put it another way, both sides actually have a lot of common ground where we agree.

    This shows up mostly in the AIG issue- both conservatives and liberals agree that rewarding the very people who brought us this debacle is shameful- and while there is plenty of blame to go around,trying to pretend that somehow conservative/ liberals are purely innocent and blameless, while the other side is entirely guilty is laughably absurd.

    I think it strengthens, not weakens an argument, to be able to view it from the other side, and to admit foolishness from our own side is a good thing.

    Comment by ChipD — March 18, 2009 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  15. Ron,

    As another liberal-minded person on this site I wholeheartedly agree with you that there are far too many blogs from both sides of the fench where disagreeing with the majority results in the most vile abuse possible rather than a debate. In my personal experience this is more common on liberal blogs/websites than it is on conservative.

    There seems to be an increasingly widespread mentality that if there is someone who disagrees with the majority then their views aren’t worth debating and because they disagreed they are in fact the ‘enemy’ to be annihilated. Too many seem to be full of a false sense of righteousness.

    There was a recent article on a liberal blog (which unfortunately I can’t remember the name of) where the author of the article argued in support of Israel having the right to defend itself from attacks being launch from Gaza. They backed up their arguments with independant sources. The commentors on that article immediately ignored what had been written and instead launched personal attacks on the author (warmonger, Zionist, Nazi etc). One brave person tried to defend the author and themselves became a target for the lynch mob. Another person posted dozen of photos of dead or injured Palestinian as their response, seemingly not grasping the idea that by posting photos in which 95% of the wounded/dead were uniformed Hamas men they were actually supporting the author’s argument.

    Too many congregate to place with likeminded people where their opinions are generally safe from those nasty people who don’t agree with them. Where there should be debate there is only the repeated pronouncements of acceptable ‘truths’, where facts inconvenient to that ‘truth’ have long since been excised and forgotten.

    I would disagree on one point. It’s not just in the Blogosphere where this situation exists (as the title suggests). All too frequently the mainstream media are equally guilty of preaching to the choir. On the few occasions where a dissenting voice is allowed to speak they are often asked questions where they must tacitly accept the premise they are disagreeing with before they can answer the question otherwise they spend their brief airtime argument about the invalidity of the question rather than the topic at hand.

    Comment by JoshC — March 18, 2009 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  16. au secours, Oscar ! :mrgreen:

    I don’t know about the lefties bloggers in the US, though I have been told many times on conservative’s to move on on daily causes, just because I am french, therefore a dumbf**k socialist

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 18, 2009 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  17. […] results. No sympathy for someone facing that challenge? Teeny tiny bit? Come on — make Ron Rosenbaum […]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » Obama: I have “complete confidence” in Geithner — March 18, 2009 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  18. I’ve read a few of your posts that have had interesting titles, but your tendency to quickly descend into childish insults with comments that disagree with you rather than address the issues raised turned me off.

    Also, you have the tendency to create strawmen so you can tear them down, by either assuming bad faith on the part of those who disagree with you, or by taking the weakest parts of contrary arguments and posit them as your opposition.

    You post next to two of the most brilliant commentators in the blogosphere–Roger Kimball and Richard Fernandez; when raging against the conservative position, ask yourself, is this what people like Kimball and Fernandez really think? Too often you seem to assume that the people who disagree with you are the uneducated rednecks of the world. Speaking as someone who usually disagrees with you, I’d put my education (Ivy J.D.) against yours any day.

    Comment by Rob — March 18, 2009 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  19. Rob, am I in your collimator ?

    if you’re talking of me, then I recall you that a few persons did really insult me and or my compatriots on the afferrent blogger’s sites ; I have been breed with rude american vocabulary by the same sort of persons so, now I know how to reply

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 18, 2009 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

  20. Ron Rosenbaum — Sorry Ron. I don’t buy it either.

    Everyone gets trolls, but you’ve done nothing but complain bitterly and self-righteously about it for over a year now in multiple topics, and you seem to extend that to bashing people who simply disagree with you.

    If you’ve got something more substantive on your mind, let’s hear it. Frankly I suspect that these complaints are protective cover for your inability to defend your candidate, Barack Obama, now that his presidency is becoming such an obvious disaster of incompetency and far left policies.

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  21. A real pisser of dissent you are..

    Comment by Mad Dog — March 18, 2009 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  22. Hey, handsome. That was a sweet omage to PJM.

    -As fred mentioned…sometimes Liberal blogs are so intimidating that ‘lurking’ is really the only option.

    I’m hard-headed at times but if someone addresses me with a different opinion in a genteel manner I listen and digest rather than knee-jerk reacting with hostility.

    Some of us have such completely opposite world/and/political views that the best we can do is be cordial and at worst get into online pissing matches. I’m guilty as charged of the latter at times.

    In these struggling times I find it harder and harder to keep my temper but I’m trying to find my ‘zen’.

    Just because you are a Liberal doesn’t make you a bad person. Hardly! -And visa versa for us Conservatives. -But, I doubt group hugs are going to happen any time soon.

    Comment by Delia — March 18, 2009 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  23. I’m with Rob @#10. The whole thing reeks of intolerance. Pot. Kettle.

    If I want to read liberal views, I’ll go to liberal sites. If I want to read mixed views, I go to places like RCP. But when I’m on a conservative site, I don’t want to find liberal (et al) writings. The world is swamped with such. I’d like a haven from all that.

    Personally, I’d like certain posters banned from here. There are a few posters who don’t really indulge in dialogue, but rather, radical disruption techniques. Soon after they post, the dialogue devolves into a shouting match.

    Tolerance can be taken too far.

    Comment by Marc Malone — March 18, 2009 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  24. Actually, after a friend posted a link to pjm on his blog, I came over and began reading fairly regularly. My friend preaches to the choir on the Right but while I find myself mostly in the Middle (whatever that is) I’m generally of the thought that, as you posit, most blogs are simply akin to the Oscars, Emmys and such.

    Mutual Admiration Societies.

    Some sort of barbarity is pronounced, everyone piles on until someone comes in with something particularly witty – everyone replies on how witty that someone was – then return the next day and repeat.

    Personally, I find PJM about as fair and balanced as it gets. Sure, many posts are extreme – but one is as likely to find counters, appropriately commented upon to in the end, achieve some sort of equilibrium.

    I suppose I should admit, I find myself more on the Right than the Left, but I would also say, I don’t want to join any but an Independent Choir.

    I agree with #4 was it? “Circumspection is becoming rare.”

    Comment by JK — March 18, 2009 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  25. Wow Ron…I’ve noticed on the right wing sites that when a lefter winger gives a ligit argument the “regulars” argue back with facts. On the left wing sites when a right winger gives a a ligit argument their character and family are attacked. Why is that?

    Comment by Ms. Attitude — March 18, 2009 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  26. As an aspiring blogger myself, I have been conscious of the variations in the tone I take. Honestly, I think that some of it just comes down to the path of least resistance. It’s easier to trot out the appropriate dogmatic arguments relevant to the news article that you just linked to than it is to try to come to a more nuanced position. At the same time, I find that the posts that get the most comments (really big numbers, like, say, 6!) and the best responses are the ones where I avoid preaching to the choir. Perhaps that’s because I don’t really have a choir to preach to, but I would also like to think that the people who read my blog do indeed value a well thought out argument over one that simply confirms their existing beliefs.

    Comment by Max — March 18, 2009 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  27. I have commented as a libertarian in many liberal, socialist, or progressive sites. What keeps me from posting and coasting is the acknowledgement of other readers. It is not a ringing endorsement, but rather an extended hand from another reader that seconds my motion of dissent.

    All it takes is one person to publicly reach out and that dissenting pov on that issue will return for another future engagement.

    In short, choose your critiques wisely and do not hesitate to acknowledge when your opponent is right. You might just end up in a conversation.

    Comment by Brennan — March 18, 2009 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  28. Too right, a little more objective discussion would help.

    Comment by Ian Thorpe — March 18, 2009 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  29. Here, here! Long live PJM.

    Comment by Heidi — March 18, 2009 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  30. Did someone say my name? 🙂

    Marc, I would argue that the intolerance you experience on liberal sites is the exact experience I have here.

    It’s funny – I haven’t been reading PJM for months (save for the occasional post when I need a laugh). The thing is, all the posts are now completely irrelevant to what is happening. Where are the posts on actual current issues that the *majority* of people care about? There are always a couple posts railing against Hollywood morons who think their opinions matter because they’re famous. Is that news? It’s been happening since Charlie Chaplin!

    Rather, PJM has made itself so totally irrelevant to current discourse that it has failed. As I understand it, the blogging portion of the site ends March 31st? What does that tell you?

    Comment by Someone75 — March 18, 2009 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  31. The rancor, paranoia , poor reading skills, vitriol, humorlessness, ad hominem attacks, libels, viscosity, self-involvement and bumptiousness on this blog are as American as Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. As the price of freedom and the pinpricks of Presidents, long may they wave! That Ron Rosenbaum just breezes though the OR, don’t he?

    Comment by charlie finch — March 18, 2009 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  32. It’s good to see that you’ve repented your old ways, Ron, and are now in favour of rational dialogue rather than personal abuse.

    As a start, perhaps you could address this question I directed to you in January, which remains unanswered:

    Even the descendants of the slaves have profited from slavery, by your assumptions. They inherited the America that slavery helped to build, but were never slaves themselves.

    Should black Americans feel guilty about slavery? Your position becomes ridiculous when subjected to logic.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — March 18, 2009 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  33. someone75…
    have you ever read the posts after Camille Paglia writes on Salon? these are liberals destroying one of their own. Intolerance and bigotry especially in regard to her sexuality are the norm. I only mention her because Ron appears to be calling for something other than preaching to the choir when blogging on liberal/conservative sites…
    As for the vitriol one might experience: yes there are jackasses on both sides of the isle, but nothing on a major political site compares to the hatred thrown around on DailyKos or Salon. Ration and logic are not welcome there. Pajamas is not in the same league.

    Comment by bryan — March 18, 2009 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  34. Too often the complete failure of a policy is not recognized because of people seeking a “middle ground.” (What does that term really mean, no-man land?) Someone75 has his feeling hurt because we do not take his opinions seriously. Bad ideas are not worth addressing for the 50,000th time.

    Hammurabi’s Code is a case in point. King Hammurabi carved his laws into stone. People could see the laws and read them. This was a radical departure from “Living Document Law.” In Bronze Age courts the law was whatever the judge said it was. There are still “progressive” throwbacks who argue for a living document constitution in the tradition of Neolithic law. 5,000 years of failure should be enough already, move on!

    Policies like subsidized industry are failures and always a bad idea but partially implemented is worse then a full implementation. We need to make decisions and judgements people! Being nice to failures does not make things better it makes them worse. A bunch of Congressmen are right now proposing a bill of attainder to claw back the AIG “bonuses.” (They are really commissions for work already accomplished.) Madison in Federlist paper 44 makes it clear that this is the kind of situation that was the reason the founding fathers outlawed bills of attainder in the constitution.

    Comment by Avitar — March 18, 2009 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  35. This little screed is a generalization. Is there some preaching to the choir going on? Yes, name me one area of public discourse where that DOESN’T happen, I would posit the MSM is worse than the blogs. Having said that, some of the most nuanced and in depth discussion I have ever had occurred on forums or blog comment sections such as this. In fact that is basically the ONLY place you can have them these days. You also need to remember, sometimes the choir is right! Would you imagine that folks who are conservative might agree with each other on the issues, I would.

    Comment by Ken — March 18, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  36. I have long wanted to engage liberals in rational debate and discussion, but all too often the debate goes like this: 1) My position 2) their position 3) my rebuttal 4) their adhominem attack 5) repeat steps 3&4. Now, I’ve run into some uncorked conservatives, but I have been able to temper their views as being irrational and for the most part they change their behavior. Not so with liberals. Liberals always believe their point of view is right and that dissent is the exercise of the idiot who is a knuckle-dragging Bible thumper. It would’ve been nice that for the last eight years the liberals had engaged in thoughtful debate and contributed to the discussion, but they were heavily vested in trafficking hatred and conspiracies.

    Comment by Chris Bolts Sr. — March 18, 2009 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  37. Also, I havent seen much refutation of my conservative beliefs as much as name calling and subject changing and goalpost moving, all while argueing that the failed ideas they champion can really work if only THEY get to be in charge. We’re seeing a classic example of this arrogance in Obama. No thanks.

    Comment by SGT Ted — March 18, 2009 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  38. I always cringe at the man who will criticize both sides for their apparent shortcomings, as only he has the insight and wisdom to understand both.

    ** BARF **

    Comment by Tex Taylor — March 18, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  39. If you even try to post a conservative comment @ DU, they immediately delete it and you get banned, even if it’s respectful. Ridiculous.

    Comment by Dave B — March 18, 2009 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  40. Congratulations, Rosenbaum, on your Dixie Chicks moment. Take a bow.

    And when you’re done taking a bow, re-read the First Amendment. It does not shelter you from disagreement, any more than it gives me a “right” to post this comment.

    I don’t quibble with your concern for the acrimony of the comments section. Nevertheless, I believe there are only two solutions: (1) remove the cloak of anonymity which encourages vulgarity, etc. or (2) stop permitting comments. It’s really no wonder the blogosphere has harnessed the power of populism (both Left and Right) when anyone is encouraged to express an opinion, no matter how ill-informed.

    If you’re not up for either of these options, then you cannot really be surprised at the nature of anonymous comments. Rather than take a pragmatic step to eradicate this phenomenon, you demonstrate why you are a progressive-leaning thinker by your preaching and wringing of hands. That’s right, shame those masses Rosenbaum!

    Comment by cackcon — March 18, 2009 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  41. One word, Ron: JournoList.

    Blog comment sections may be echo chamber cesspools, but that still makes them a thousand times more honest than the left’s echo FACTORY over at JournoList.

    Comment by After — March 18, 2009 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  42. amen. but some of my best friends are communists (really!).

    Comment by Michael Ledeen — March 18, 2009 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  43. You don’t appreciate the repartee found in comment sections? Your attempt to make it a bi-partisan observation falls flat on the reality that liberal blogs as a general rule delete comments that do not conform, while conservative blogs welcome debate. Good examples are found at Mitch Berg’s Shot in the Dark, Freedom Dogs and our own beloved Anti-Strib.
    While it is true that a comment thread can degenerate into a scrum, it is more often a useful forum, especially when rules are applied.

    At our blog we welcome dissent, and (most of) the contributers are sensitive to incivility. We know it is counter-productive. Sadly, we can’t make others conform to collegial debate rules, and doing so would also be counter-productive.

    It’s important to remember that these forums are not only voluntary, but for many a source of entertainment, if not amusement. It is participatory democracy in it’s most roughened state, and as such should be treasured and nurtured.

    Comment by Kermit — March 18, 2009 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  44. 20. Tex Taylor:

    I always cringe at the man who will criticize both sides for their apparent shortcomings, as only he has the insight and wisdom to understand both.

    ** BARF **

    Meh. I don’t see the ‘superiority complex’ you’ve contrived regarding someone who honestly tries to see both sides of ‘any’ situation be it political or judicial or [God forbid] the witness to a fatal accident.

    Rodney King’s, “Can’t we all just get along?” is a sad, resounding answer- “No.” We can’t, or we just can’t/won’t. So? What do we do? Hate and deplore each other to the point where we can’t even be on speaking terms? I feel sad for Liberals because they are a prime example of brain-washing 101. Me? Nobody could EVER convince me to ‘believe’ diddly squat unless I already believed it. Emotional exploitation is the “Lib Mantra”…that’s how they game.

    For me to build up enough energy to HATE someone for simply being of different opinion is just WRONG. I can love someone who hates my POV. Big deal! We all have to squat a brown bear. We’re HUMAN.

    Comment by Delia — March 18, 2009 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  45. Is the problem that not enough liberals or unaffiliated voters come to this site?

    If so, is that a reflection of an inability to discuss tough issues within that point of view and hold people whom you like and respect accountable (but respectfully)? For example – when is someone merely paying lip service to a particular political point of view and when is it permissible to hold that person answerable to the views that he or she professes to espouse?

    On the right, a core belief is the recognition of the right to property. If someone owns a website and he or she wants to have rules about what can or cannot be said, the owner prevails. Censorship stinks, but the good news is that people who want to disagree go elsewhere to find a forum for their opinions.

    Comment by saveliberty — March 18, 2009 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  46. Hey, you don’t know how some of us would love to find intellectually honest liberal folks to come articulate intelligent opposing points on conservative blogs.

    But all we get are nasty trolls who are incapable of engaging in a dialog of any kind. They don’t answer your points, spew ad hominem ad infinitum, move the goalposts, disembowel obvious straw men, and basically get off on roiling the waters for the sake of roiling the waters.

    Or if they have their own blogs, they link to ours and sneer to their friends that they could run rhetorical circles around the conservative, but when the conservative calls their bluff, they descend into troll-like behavior and even end up deleting their whole blog to avoid letting others see what they’ve written.

    Debate-averse is what I’ve seen. So until you can find us someone who is willing to make intellectually, invective-free arguments against us, we have no choice but to listen to our own echoes.

    Comment by dicentra — March 18, 2009 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  47. Hey, wonderful comments and I appreciate Ron’s efforts, but I’m sorry. It’s maybe a little moral equivalence for the well, little fraud of trying to be or appearing to be, balanced. Ya can’t straddle the fence forever, cos eventually your groin will ache.

    When Harry’s Place, a humourous and semi-reasonable Left Liberal Brit website was being sued by an Islamist creep, it was the conservative side of the Net that organised a blogburst, and it was overwhelmingly conservative sites all the way through.

    I am unaware of the left ever rallying to any conservative in a similar fashion ever. Nope, it’s usually almost invariably delete, delete and delete again.

    Hey, I posted on the incompetence and non-reading of Palin etc, cos it was empirical and awful etc. I never moderate or delete a single comment except mine. Go figure. That satirical objectivism for you.

    All the ex-liberals I know of were almost invariably turned off by the appalling behavior and thinking of their peers, and that conservative principles of respect for the constitution, respect for life, limited government and self-reliance, made sense as an adult. I should be so lucky. And hey, insults are irresistable fun if witty, let off steam and are entirely true.

    After all, with creeping Sharia and the already here Marxist sodden products of critical theory, PCism, envirofreakism and so on, it really is about life and death, innit?

    Left liberal ideas now entirely spring from support for the welfare state, abortion and identity politics.

    Read [Left] Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, The Death Of The Grown-Up by Diana West, The Real Che Guevara and the idiots who idolize him by Humberto Fontova, America Alone by Mark Steyn, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, Stealth Jihad by Robert Spencer, Why They Hate by Brigitte Gabrielle and Radical Son by David Horowitz to start.

    thepeoplescube com, drsanity blogspot com, bestobamafacts com, dissectleft blogspot com and my shabby effort at colonelrobertneville blogspot com are also a laugh.

    All the best from Colone Neville.

    Comment by Colonel Robert Neville — March 18, 2009 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  48. There’s definitely an echo chamber quality to the blogosphere, but that’s true for most media. The MSM is certainly a self-congratulatory organism that seems to exist solely by repeating its own feedback.

    I think, though, that you are simplifying things a bit too much. A healthy blog can also be a place in which blogger and commenters work together, developing ideas and sharing information. While my blog is definitely right of center, those who come to comment bring so much more than my mere writings. They are an analytical, well-informed group, and there is a constant aggregation of knowledge and thought thanks to them.

    Also, my commenters keep it clean, which is not something I find at the liberal blogs. That’s actually the reason I stopped reading liberal blogs. It’s not that I disagree with the ideas, although I usually do. I simply can’t stand the obscenities and intemperate insults. They leave me feeling soiled.

    Comment by Bookworm — March 18, 2009 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  49. We have a cast of characters here on PJM who come over from the Left blogosphere on assignment for their masters, and they specialize in disruption, distraction, ad hominem argument, and in general being pains in the podex. I rarely see that many people from the Right over at their sites either leaving comments or conducting the same tactics. The fact of the matter is that intelligent and mature people don’t like behaving like adolescents and making fools of themselves. They also know the utter futility of trying to argue with the folks on the Left.

    The two sides don’t talk with each other. They talk at each other. I agree that both sides do it, but my experience has been that the Left is much worse. And they stoop at nothing. There is another blog I go to and we had a member from the Left who was a regular there. He would twist someone’s words, actually try to get away with erroneous information, and I even caught him in outright lies. He was insulting, obstreperous, and had testicles bigger than his brain. Eventually, the blog author banned him. He overstayed his welcome and the more we indulged his bad behavior the more he pushed the envelope. I mean, this kind of behavior is something that I would find embarrassing and would never be caught dead trying to imitate. Some of us have a sense of dignity.

    I don’t think that things are going to get better. They are only going to get worse. This nation, right now, is boiling and is riven with division. I predicted more than a year ago that the Left’s takeover of the Democrat Party (I’m a former Democrat myself)can only mean that the day is coming when the Left and the Right are going to have it out. We are in the early stages of a huge showdown. It will either be resolved by normal political processes or, if not, by means that are a lot less pleasant.

    Comment by fred — March 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  50. fred, this not specific to the left, I used to argue, rather quarrel, with a person saying he was a strict christian believer (and conservative), but who behaves like the lefty member you describe, so depends on the persons, generally in group most have the sheep behaviour, only a few acts like their billy goat ; one our anarchist poets, Georges Brassens, said “au dessus de 3, on devient une bande de cons”

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 18, 2009 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  51. Jerks commenting on blogs are just a fact of life. Anonymity breeds contempt.

    Even as a social liberal, however, I finally gave up commenting on liberal blogs where any deviation from accepted orthodoxy was greeted with slews of ad hominems. I comment almost exclusively on conservative blogs now, where most folks are actually willing to engage alternate viewpoints — generally with passion, not abuse. I still read on both sides of the divide, but the stereotypes and condescension so widely embraced on most liberal sites makes them considerably less interesting. Commenting on mainstream media sites is like posting to a landfill.

    I wish I could remember their names, but last year a couple of columnists in major media (the WaPo?) deviated from liberal dogma and were stunned by the vicious response from the left. A lot of us just shook our heads in recognition.

    The impulse to drive off dissenters certainly exists on both sides of the blogosphere, but bloggers themselves have a lot of influence on the quality of their threads, if they choose to exert it — and for the most part it can be done without banning. If they’re not prepared to monitor their comment threads and set the tone by adding comments of their own, they’re just giving miscreants a sandbox to play in and should probably just turn comments off. There are bloggers who attract a lot of abuse, who, sadly, have to implement more stringent controls.

    Ironically, in this case, I think you’re actually preaching to the choir. The folks who do the flaming are enjoying themselves far too much to listen long or stop.

    Comment by JM Hanes — March 18, 2009 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  52. In America, there is no practical difference between left and right. Eldridge Cleaver supported Ronald Reagan, so did Gene McCarthy. Gary Wills and Karl Hess wrote speeches for Goldwater than gravitated left. Kerouac supported Nixon. Joan Didion and Jonh Leonard started ourt at “The National Review”. Sidney Hook was a Trotskyite, moved right. Joe Rauh fought communism from the liberal center. Grace Paley was a Marxist had many conservative friends and fans. Lew Hill founded Pacifica, had forums there mixing socialists and libertarins. Ralph David Abernathy supported Reagan. Gloria Steinem was a Playboy bunny and worked for Norman Mailer’s mayoral campaign. Pro-Nixon Merle Haggard was busted for dope. Nowadays Larry Craig gets busted in the toilet, “nobody messes with Joe Biden” (hah!!!), and Congress passed vanity resolutions on CSPAN, but doesn’t have time to read the stimulus bill. Few who contribute to this blog know who most of the people cited above are, but then neither does Barack Obama, who thinks Stevie Wonder is “avant-garde”. We are not in a Depression because of CDOs or home mortgages, but because we are a dead culture whose main aesthetic pursuit for the past few months had been hammering the last five people with rabbit ears to “go digital”. America is not to big to fail, just to stupid to succeed.

    Comment by charlie finch — March 18, 2009 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  53. charlie finch — Nice rant. But nothing more.

    I know all the people you’ve mentioned.

    If you or Ron wish a substantive debate, bring it on. But this posturing that you are both something special, something above and beyond the current brouhaha, is simply bogus.

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  54. Hmm … and when will my earlier post survive “moderation”?

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  55. The rancor, paranoia , poor reading skills, vitriol, humorlessness, ad hominem attacks, libels, viscosity, self-involvement and bumptiousness on this blog are as American as Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. As the price of freedom and the pinpricks of Presidents, long may they wave! That Ron Rosenbaum just breezes though the OR, don’t he?

    charlie finch — Not really.

    To anyone interested in the genesis of this silly thread, I recommend the Ron Rosenbaum’s topic:

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  56. Ron Rosenbaum claimed that he was leaving cyberspace for a week for some medical reasons (sincerely, Ron, best of luck with that) and turned over to the helm to charlie finch who posted one of the ripest, most brain-dead pieces of Obama worship I’ve encountered — please read it for yourself. Again, that’s:

    charlie got clobbered for that, and now, two days later despite Ron’s medical considerations, Ron is back with us whining about how unfair the blogosphere is when he and charlie courageously choose not to speak to the choir.

    Thanks Ron, thanks charlie!

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  57. Frankly, this whole thing leaves me a bit cold. I read what I do on Pajamas to get a different point of view on things. I don’t always agree with the blogger’s point of view, and when I disagree I say so, often pretty flatly. I think I have disagreed with Ron on one or two occasions, and I know I’ve disagreed with other writers here. As long as those discussions (arguments, whatever you wish to call them) remain civil and discuss issues, I’m fine with it. So far, I’ve managed to avoid being called names or insulted in any serious fashion.

    The thing is…those who are members of the choir tend to read things with which they agree. They then post to those articles and blogs, telling each other how right they are, and how stupid and arrogant the other side is. I tend to be on the conservative side of things, not consistently but the majority of the time. I always strive not to be arrogant or overbearing, and at least occasionally I succeed. The difficulty is that while some of us try to be reasonable, there are those who don’t, there are a lot of them, and they tend to inflame the other side rather easily. I know I, for one, get pretty upset at Keith Olbermouth…I mean Olberman. I actually used to like the guy when he did the sports out here in LA 20 or so years ago. Now he’s just insulting, and arrogant. Thing is, the more insulting and arrogant he gets, the more listeners he has, the more ratings he has, the more money he makes. Being reasonable, while it’s good for the debate, doesn’t sell well.

    Comment by DavidN — March 18, 2009 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  58. And when I dissent from liberal orthodoxy (as I often do) they become apoplectic. But apoplexy seems to be the constant state of conservative commenters who seem so frightened that their views can’t stand up to criticism that they often seem to want to abolish the expression of any ideas that challenge them. In their frightful, diminished view, dissent is legitimate only if they agree with it. They have much in common with the totalitarian liberal enforcers of the Rule of Dissent.

    They ought to take a look at the recent warning from staunch conservative Tony Blankley, that hysterical

    Apparently this blogger hasn’t heard of Firedoglake a site in which comments are deleted within minutes of posting if they do not echo the sentiment or lick the boots of the bloggers…they are the worst hypocrites on the blogosphere and set precedent to most all liberal sites. At least conservative sites don’t micro-control their comments sections.

    Comment by Sunflower — March 18, 2009 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  59. I’ve never been to a liberal site. I don’t even know any liberal sites. I come to PJ, not to preach to the choir, but to commiserate with like minded people.

    Does that make me stupid?

    Someone75: I think the economy is a pretty relevant topic. I count eight articles about the economy on PJ today. I think terrorism is pretty relevant. I count eight articles about terrorism on PJ today.

    By the way, is it just me, or is anyone else out there getting tired of the cliches “strawmen” and “throw under the bus?”

    Comment by Moogie — March 18, 2009 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  60. “Rather, PJM has made itself so totally irrelevant to current discourse that it has failed. As I understand it, the blogging portion of the site ends March 31st? What does that tell you?”

    For the record, Someone75, that is completely inaccurate. We are getting out of the advertising side of our business only. That’s it. The PJM site and its blogs (like this one) remain. The television side grows. You are going to have to live with more irrelevant posts (and videos) about Hollywood, etc. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to read or watch them.

    Comment by Roger L Simon — March 19, 2009 @ 12:44 am | Reply

  61. I am Intolerant of Tolerance towards evil :O)

    Comment by volubrjotr — March 19, 2009 @ 2:39 am | Reply

  62. The intolerance we see while blogging reflects an escalating ideological battle. The frustration of dealing with a great number of uneducated bloggers leads to angry posts. The more details we learn of the workings in Washington, the more polarized we become.

    Good news…more of us are polarizing to the right. Soon, we will see more terrible results of liberal government meddling. Thoughtful, persuasive blogging will recruit conservatives. Pointless, angry bluster will chase readers away.

    Comment by HawkWatcher — March 19, 2009 @ 2:51 am | Reply

  63. Remember, liberals are taught what to think, not how to think.

    Comment by W J A — March 19, 2009 @ 2:54 am | Reply

  64. Interesting discussion. Except that the one to two percent of Americans (and others) that are involved in this don’t reflect what the rest of us think.

    We like talking to our echo chambers. We want the divide to widen and deepen, until something happens either by vote or violence, and we want it to happen before this Republic is destroyed or even worse- becomes something that our history and founders would despise.

    For those of you who think that just talk will solve anything at this point, I think you will understand in a few months or years that you would have been more productive and useful if you had blogged on survival information, home schooling and weapons care.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas

    Comment by Papa Ray — March 19, 2009 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  65. A liberal well-known blog tries from time to time to offer the opposing viewpoint. It gives the moderators a work-out, no doubt.

    I personally find that when a piece shows no respect for the opposing viewpoint, the article is, in general, nothing more than ranting. It might be great for the author’s soul, but it does very little to add to the world of discourse.

    Comment by AnninCA — March 19, 2009 @ 6:23 am | Reply

  66. “But apoplexy seems to be the constant state of conservative commenters who seem so frightened that their views can’t stand up to criticism that they often seem to want to abolish the expression of any ideas that challenge them.”

    Yah, well not all of us kimosabe. I started a blog 4+ years ago and I welcome any and all (progressive) liberal rants.

    Comment by Craig — March 19, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  67. The two sides don’t talk with each other. They talk at each other.” – fred

    This assertion, however, was not supported by the anecdotal evidence you offered following. In general my observations have been:

    – Liberal sites (e.g. Kos, Huffington, etc.): Absolute lock-step intollerence of dissenting conservative opinion, regardless of how it is expressed. This includes liberal banning policies (I was once threatened with banning simply for saying that my being against gay marriage did not in itself make me a biggot), stealth banning (showing your comments to you but not to the larger audience, a practice that has been revealed on many mainstream commercial “news” sites), personal flaming and intimidation through practices such as carrying the argument into the real world via posting addresses and phone numbers.

    – Conservative sites (e.g. PJM, LGF, etc.): Depending upon the site, commenters are a mix of cheerleaders and thinkers. Many of the liberal comments run in the “you stupid conservatives just don’t understand” vein, usually with little or no cogent supporting arguments but often with copious expletives (but note that they are still visible). When liberal points are addressed by the cheerleaders, there may be personal attacks and invective, but more often than not well intentioned liberal posts and comments are answered in kind by the thinkers. Liberal posters often seem to confuse people disagreeing with them as people not listening (clue: I can listen and understand someone’s position and still disagree).

    Comment by submandave — March 19, 2009 @ 6:35 am | Reply

  68. Tolerance of another person’s opinion? I’m thinking someone should have Gibbs read this article. He has truly taken his office into the toilet by bringing private citizens into his press conferences. So much for tolerance and decorum.

    Comment by AThinkingPerson — March 19, 2009 @ 6:47 am | Reply

  69. Amen, brother! Almost all of my friends are Left liberals- whereas I’m a Market liberal, and tend to vote Republican… Why do I perceive that people on the “Right” are more tolerant of my liberal values than people on the “Left” are of my conservative values?

    Comment by Darius — March 19, 2009 @ 7:49 am | Reply

  70. Ron Rosenbaum vaguely complains about those individuals allegedly engaging in true believer argumentation. This is simply not good enough. He must provide specifics.

    Comment by David Thomson — March 19, 2009 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  71. (who really aren’t liberal at all, but totalitarian enforcers) fume


    and with that, you sum the problem. while I do know conservatives who don’t tolerate other POV’s (not that many, but some), it is *far more common* for liberals-in-name-only (I live in a blue area of a blue state and come from a blue family), who preach tolerance for other viewpoints until the cows come home. But when it comes time to practice what they constantly preach, I find them to be anything *but* tolerant if someone dares to express an opinoin they don’t agree with. And even worse, they will gladly take away my freedom’s to act within my conscience and shove their extremism down my throat.

    Comment by ked5 — March 19, 2009 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  72. What I have observed in my (hotbed of socialism) city is that the liberals purr about “dialogue” only if they can be the ones calling the shots.

    They throw tantrums until their policies are imposed upon an unwilling, browbeaten populace who have no recourse except to grow angrier and angrier at each new outrage committed by and covered up by the left.

    Oh, yes, and be increasingly taxed to support the foolish utiopian dream of free babies, free healthcare, free housing, free food, free college, free gas, here’s a thought…how about free taxes?

    Comment by sule — March 19, 2009 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  73. Hear, Hear! David Thomson. This is now the third time that I find myself admiring the rigor of your criticisms.

    Comment by Clare Spark — March 19, 2009 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  74. Mr. Rosenbaum:
    “They ought to take a look at the recent warning from staunch conservative Tony Blankley, that hysterical intolerance of other points of view has increasingly become the norm on both sides of the blogosphere to the detriment of the value of debate itself.”

    Lord man, get over yourself!

    I mean really…what is the blogosphere but an endless “Letters to the Editor” page populated by cranks and crazies?

    Who really GsAS what we babble about here and there?

    It’s much ado about nothing…

    Comment by Bilgeman — March 19, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  75. I re-read Ron Rosenbaum’s blog over at Pajamas Media this morning and, after getting pissed that my comments were ignored, I came across this one from David Thompson:

    “Ron Rosenbaum vaguely complains about those individuals allegedly engaging in true believer argumentation. This is simply not good enough. He must provide specifics.” (response #34 to Rosenbaum’s blog)

    I tend to agree… however, I think both of you are missing the larger picture. Bloggers, at least most bloggers, are not paid media types. They do it as a pass-time to articulate their own views with the possibility of others seeing and, maybe, commenting upon them. This notion that bloggers are somehow supposed to be better than a mob of angry cats is… well, I’ll be kind and say it’s a little fantastic.

    The widespread use of the term “Echo Chamber” is used a lot. I just heard it the other night on KGO Radio out of San Francisco. I was listening to Gene Burns who was talking about how he became a Democrat after so many years of being a Libertarian mainly to support Il Duce Obama, but lately because his idea of libertarianism simply doesn’t work… and he went on to talk about how the big economic mess is a result of deregulation right after he complained about the “Conservative Talk Radio” echo chamber.

    What Gene Burns did in this case, quite effectively, is join his own Left Wing Media Echo Chamber. Burns ignored the Community Reinvestment Act, ignored the extortion ACORN inflicted upon banks of all sizes, and ignored the resulting need to create Credit Default Swaps as a result of that extortion. Leaving out vital information is exactly what the major media outlets have been doing for decades.

    We, as individuals, have to dig, and dig hard to get to the truth. Is it any surprise that the Blogosphere, armed with a spotty, inacurate picture is going to mirror what’s happening in the media? Where ELSE is the blogosphere getting its information? Wikipedia? Little hint, Wikipedia also mostly depends on the media for the information users post. It is, fundamentally, a fancy blog 😀

    As I noted, bloggers are not, by and large, paid. Those that are not chose to do it for their own enjoyment, whether or not they know it. It is personal entertainment, like reading a book. It involves thinking, processing available information and putting it into (mostly) readable form. If someone happens by, and happens to comment on a blog, that blog has had value to more than just the blogger. The blogger can count on the fact that at least the title has been read, if not the body of the blog. Frankly, I doubt most political blogs, even the ones with the most responses, are read in their entirety.

    Rosenbaum also takes issue with the idea of cutting and pasting. Frankly, it’s a time saver for me. One particular blog I read makes good use of it, and since I can get the gist of an article before following the available link, finding out if I’m at all interested in reading it… well, we all know the net is not always reliable, and since I use computers owned by the Livermore Public Library, and have limited time… you get the idea.

    You also pointed to Tony Blankley’s blog in which he states:

    “In the past fortnight, the most high-toned, rarely partisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning Brahmins of Washington print commentary have used the following phrases to describe the president or his words: “double talker,” “opportunistic,” “brazen deception,” a “great pretender,” practicing “deception at the core” of his plans, and a “fantasy.” ” And goes on to show how the left goes berzerk when Il Duce is being critisized. That’s normal for conservatives. It’s part of life for a conservative.

    Mr. Rosenbaum’s statement that “Apoplexy seems to be the constant state of conservative commenters who seem so frightened that their views can’t stand up to criticism that they often seem to want to abolish the expression of any ideas that challenge them.”

    Excuse me??? Since when have Conservatives (and I’m not talking about Politicians) not been willing to defend our views? For crying OUT LOUD, have you watched the View lately? Have you not seen Conservative after Conservative being shouted down by shrill commediannes?

    Our problem, as conservatives, is simply being heard AT ALL!

    Liberalism cannot survive in the free market of ideas without being shrill. Complaining that Liberal bloggers are echo chambers of ridiculousness is a quixotic excersize. Complaining that Conservative Bloggers are repetetive echo chambers, likewise. As I noted, bloggers are not, for the most part, paid. That which you complain about is a symptom of a much larger problem involving an established media that, thank God, is slowly dying…

    Comment by wancow — March 19, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  76. Did anyone see Breitbart debate Michael Dyson on Bill Maher last weekend? I thought that was some of the best TV I had seen in a while. I would love to see a leading liberal blogger and a conservative blogger debate a topic in text rather than just beating on “straw men” like they usually do and talking past each other.

    It would also help expose the Democrats pathetic attempts to justify their policies which are generally a mix of straw men, false choices, and ad hominems. Example:

    “Some people say we should do nothing to solve these problems. Well, you didn’t elect me to do nothing, and that’s why we need to pass this extra trillion in taxes. And I don’t know why you would even listen to the critics, they’re the ones that got us in this mess. So let’s pass this bill and take care of those hard working men and women and prove we’re a great and compassionate country.”

    Comment by Tristan Yates — March 19, 2009 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  77. #35 Bilgeman – Some people do GAS about what we post here. If the post is clear and offers some fresh viewpoint or argument, then one may see it picked up by others.

    I personally have seen a couple of my arguments or phrases used by writers or pundits. For example, during the Ayers controversy, I created an analogy of a bombing of a black church. If the guy who had done it were unrepentant, would Obama have hung around with him? Someone turned that into a whole article based on a bombing in ’62. Who knows how many read that?

    We are not operating in a vacuum. Good ideas get around. That’s the point.

    Comment by Marc Malone — March 19, 2009 @ 11:54 am | Reply

  78. I have a personal posting policy. I worry less about civilized discourse than most “can’t we all just be friends” types. I like the rough and tumble, in-your-face kind of debate. Note I said debate, not ad hominem attacks. If I find something interesting on a site,liberal or conservative, I may or may not post a reply. And if someone lets me have it between the eyes (metaphorically, of course), good for him or her, and I will respond in kind. So my personal policy is that whenever I post or reply, the third time I’m greeted on any site with the deeply intellectual “you’re an idiot, you moron, right-wing fascist bastard,” I’m outta there. If it’s on a liberal website, I just stop visiting the site. If it’s on a conservative website, I just consider the source, issue a troll alert, and ignore the commenter entirely from then on out.

    Comment by LawhawkSF — March 19, 2009 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  79. The New York Times.

    Every time Bill Ayers rolls over in bed and knocks over a pen that lands on a piece of paper, it’s printed.

    Not so with John McCain during the Presidential election campaign. Gentile John could write a thoughtful column and the Times would refuse to print it for any one of many obscure, trumped up reasons.

    The point being: The Times, the Wash. Post, the biased clowns at MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Sunday morning talk shows, The View, Bill Maher, Herr America, Dave Lettermen, PBS.

    They’re all one giant echo chamber regurgitating liberal shouting points. Ever consider asking them to tone down the lib rhetoric and be more understanding of the more conservative points of view?

    So why does Ron Rosenbaum decide to tone down the choir preaching acrimony on blogs?

    Well, in all her lil’ ole 19 year old blue eyed innocence, Rachel believes it’s because here Republicans and Conservatives have a voice.

    Ron wants to convince us not to use it. Consider the other guy’s point of view. Play nice.

    Maybe Ron should send the same message to Daily Kos and Moveon. I wonder what kind of reception he’d get there?

    From Herr America to the View, to the networks, I’m talking mainstream media, The Slobbering Obama praising media.

    When that gang of lib speakers decides to listen to another point of view, then maybe Rachel will, too.

    Obama and his attack machine are quickly running this country into a political, economic, socialist ditch, and Ron Rosenbaum wants us to tune up our conciliatory engines in the Peanut Gallery comments section which pummels my main nerve.

    Okay, Ron and Roger, look at it my way if you will.

    It’s 1939 and pretend the world has an internet full of bloggers. Hmmmm. I think tonight I’ll get the German and Japanese viewpoints. Let’s see, the Germans want to exterminate the Jew rats while the Japanese want to attack the United States and China, and, in the process, stick Chinese babies on the ends of bayonets like slabs of uncooked meat, slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children and play the game of seeing how many American POW’s they can decapitate with just one swing of the Samauri sword.

    Let me exchange ideas with them to better understand their points of view.

    Or, bringing it back to 2009, maybe, Ron, you should talk to those Bush lies, people die View girls and ask them to rethink George Bush’s point of view.

    Then throw in the Sunday morning news shows and the rest of the mainstream media; ask them to make a real college try at understanding conservative viewpoints, where we’re coming from.

    And, Ron, while we’re making a college reference, maybe you should visit Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Brown.
    Ripon, Stanford, Hoftra and Berkeley, and urge them to allow the conservative view to shine through. Of course, that might mean hiring some conservative professors, and eventually granting them tenure.

    On second thought, Ron, forget this suggestion.

    Ron, you’d have a better chance of turning the code pink girls (who think the only right the unborn have is the right to die)
    into pro lifers.

    Oh, golly, gee, another massive missive of Rachel’s ranting and raving. Do I make any sense to anyone?

    Am I the choir preaching puke that Mr. Ron is criticizing? Well, like my Dad says, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck and sounds like a duck, you should quackly assume that Obama, the annointed one, is a capitalist-hating, terrorist- appeasing socialist after all.
    Ron, have a nice day.

    Comment by Rachel Peepers — March 19, 2009 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

  80. Frankly, I think this man is right. I get bored when all I read is the same point of view. I relish a good fight and frankly miss my spiteful opposition. Please come back Cedarfort, Mohamid, and Mountainaires. I can truthfully say that I miss them. I will try not to kick you around so much.

    Marie Claude
    You wrote in French again. You know what this does to me, I won’t be able to sleep all night. For now goodbye my love.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 19, 2009 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  81. The always-ignitable phrase “our side doesn’t resort to such attacks – the other side does” is never more well categorized than when it has only two trenches from which to choose its footing.

    I’ve heard it from the left to the right, and I quickly became sick of it. The inability of some of the conservative blogs to even shed an ounce of respect for Obama is a bit annoying although some want to keep the detachment that brings good journalism or at least analysis: I respect that, but the partisanship is not receding. The many left won’t do anything nowadays but say “Rush Limbaugh” and “The Party of No”, but many on the right have only the stomach to spout “Socialist”.

    There is hope. Enough political commenters, bloggers, & journalists are braking ranks at least from this rhetorical internet-argument speak and giving credit where credit is due.

    Politics real was never any better, but it is hard to imagine it any worse.

    Comment by Ryan S — March 19, 2009 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  82. 66. Oscar the Grump:

    “Frankly, I think this man is right. I get bored when all I read is the same point of view.”

    Oscar I agree. It’s refreshing to have other POV’s so long as they don’t devolve into ad-hominem attacks. There are great minds from both sides of the isle and it’s foolish to opine ignominiously with vituperative acrimony.

    -But, to capitulate to pedantic trolls full of their own scathing invective makes us appear ‘weak’ imho.

    Sometimes…it’s time we are BAD@sses!

    Comment by Delia — March 19, 2009 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  83. Oscar, I don’t like when you sleep :mrgreen:

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 6:45 am | Reply

  84. Wow Ron,
    you really have alot of guts in practicing the tolerance for both sides you preach. (snark off) typical.

    Comment by ked5 — March 20, 2009 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  85. Ron, if you are still reading this, take a look at the liberals posting on the Jon Stewart article vs the conservatives. Tell me who is more civilized and who resorts to name calling with zero factual evidence.

    Comment by bryan — March 20, 2009 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  86. hey Ron,
    how good are you at publishing comments that disagree with you?

    Comment by momof5 — March 20, 2009 @ 11:02 am | Reply

  87. uhuhuh, Mr Simon put me in the bin !!!

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  88. Marie Claude
    I get put in the bin pretty regularly. The other night six out of seven of my blogs were censored. Who a thunk these guys really have standards and they live by them. That doesn’t reduce the fun I have on this blog and believe me they still let me get away with plenty.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  89. Delia
    You little spit fire, I like your spunk.

    By the way, king pawn forward two.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  90. 18.Rob- how many award winning books has your education produced for you ? What kind of lame school-boy pissing match do you think you want to get into ?

    61. Wancow, precious little post you made. Credit Default Swaps were created to insure the loans to darkies forced by the evil libs? Sorry, they started in CRE and then went to muni’s and corp bonds, and residential MBS last. Cute little idea, had not seen that bit of counterfeit history before.

    In general ? Right and left sites are intolerant, but right attacks are way more personal, sexual, and arrogant IMO. Who invented the Bwhaaaa ?

    Comment by Brave Captain of Industry — March 20, 2009 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  91. 71. Marie Claude:

    uhuhuh, Mr Simon put me in the bin !!!

    Mar 20, 2009 – 12:38 pm

    72. Oscar the Grump:

    Marie Claude
    I get put in the bin pretty regularly. The other night six out of seven of my blogs were censored. Who a thunk these guys really have standards and they live by them. That doesn’t reduce the fun I have on this blog and believe me they still let me get away with plenty.

    Mar 20, 2009 – 1:06 pm


    Poor Ron, he’s “so sensitive” to other’s opinions. I dare him to put this through. three times certainly isn’t the charm.

    Comment by momof5 — March 20, 2009 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  92. 72. Oscar the Grump,

    “Open game” it is. *mirrors your moves* and sizes you up with an evil grin…

    Comment by Delia — March 20, 2009 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

  93. Oscar “ah ça ira ça ira les censeurs à la Lanterne…”

    what the revolutionnaires sang, “ah we’ll get theses censors in jail…”

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  94. Delia
    Queen to H5

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  95. Marie Claude
    Do you really think we need to? Can’t we just work around them? You wrote in French again mi amore. I won’t be able to sleep again tonight.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  96. uh, that was a joke, anyway glad you’re going to not sleep again 😆

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  97. momof5
    Gee, I hope I didn’t hurt Ron’s feelings either. I suffer from that same malady. Yes I too am a sensitive guy. Keep pushing that envelope. As long as we don’t use our real names we should be able to say anything. Right?

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  98. Marie Claude
    Check out this video on the new Islamist tactics in France.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  99. I know Oscar, I made an update in the comment part on Atlas Shrug’s

    Pam, I have some info complements, I show this video to my hubby, and he told me that the guy who speaks is’nt arab, but looks like a Sefarade Jew, I replied him, impossible ! (he was bred in Marseille, and he was melted with all the mediterranean ethnies there)) he made a google research with “boycott Israel Carrefour”, there are documents on blogs and on a palestinian paper, but not on national papers, and you wouldn’t believe it, there were anti-sionist Jews among the manifestants

    the associations :

    EuroPalestine, Droits Devant, Femmes en Noir, Réseau International des Juifs Antisionistes…

    and about the jewish association :

    w w (scuse me, the blog swallows the whole link)

    also, why the directon and or the police didn’t interven, again my hubby gave me the response, probably that the manager was Jew, like many in such hypermarckets, and also may-be a sympathetisan to the manifestation too, ie my previous post, cause the store is located in St Denis, one of the hottest surburbs

    for the police, there is a law that forbids the police to enter into private properties, but private guards could have made it, they didn’t because of St Denis place, and may-be the manager is a sympathetisan

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  100. Oscar, I made a reply on your link

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  101. joanbob, is hiding to throw her/his venin

    Shame on those French people. And what morons.

    Bravo Mr Simon !!!

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 20, 2009 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  102. Marie Claude
    Thanks for the input. We have the same type of thing in this country. We call it self hating Jews and they cause all kinds of trouble. Give your hubby a big kiss. I’ll do likewise with my wife. She’s been the one translating French for me.

    I have one question. Does this mean that we have to stop flirting?
    Love you keep up the good fight.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 20, 2009 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  103. Oscar, it’s a pleasure to “collaborate”

    Of course we are not flirting, we are playing to flirt 😆

    thanks for the encouragements,I have a “warrior” soul

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  104. Oh Oscar…

    Now you’re playing with me:

    Do you really want me to fall for that?

    What move do you suggest? I’m thinking something entirely different and shocking. I don’t always ‘protect’…sometimes I go ‘balls to the wall’ with my moves. Careful now. 😉

    Comment by Delia — March 21, 2009 @ 3:42 am | Reply

  105. Delia,Oscar isn’ta Mormon 😆

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 3:51 am | Reply

  106. Though Rosenbaum has a few points, and as much as I tried to read the article with ‘tolerance,’ the “both sides do it” argument can only work if you ignore 20 years of intolerance from the left. Both sides don’t do it, and that has been the problem for conservatism. Maybe if we HAD been doing what the left has been doing for the past 20 years, we wouldn’t have lost several generations to failed liberal thought.

    Thanks to liberal dominance in government and education, we’re in a lot of trouble now. We have a population that doesn’t have the ability to think critically, has no basic knowledge of civics, history or economics, and is happy to have the government hand them a life full of little distractions not based in reality.

    No wonder some of us are shouting. Nothing else has worked. Maybe that’s the only way conservative ideas can cut through the crap its been wading through.

    Comment by kasper — March 21, 2009 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  107. By the way — the phrase “lynch mob mentality” is always somehow applied to conservatives. What I’ve been hearing from the left is demonization of anybody who doesn’t hold their “ideals.” But the problem has been we are so used to hearing their demonization of the the years, it doesn’t register anymore as offensive. Now that their is a pushback (the internet and talk radio being the only media conservative though has been able to use), somehow we’re “the lynch mob mentality.”

    So point the finger at commentators like Limbaugh — he is always in the cross hairs of the left and the soft right. But, he’s simply handing the left their own meal on the platter they have been serving to conservatism for many years, and he does it in an entertaining way (I love it). Unfortunately, conservatism has had no leadership or cohesive voice in Washington except for a few limp-wristed attempts, and those poor souls promptly get eaten by their own (McCain ring a bell).

    I’m afraid it’s too late to man-up now.

    Comment by kasper — March 21, 2009 @ 7:02 am | Reply

  108. 15. pst314:
    When I remember how assiduously the French have worked to assist Muslims in defaming Israel, I am reminded of Admiral Lord Nelson’s advice to always hate the French like the very Devil. Will the French ever learn? Can they learn?

    what do you think of that ? isn’t it as grave as anti-semitism ? is moral only reserved to anglo-saxons ?

    pst 314, you’re very brave to hide with such a nic and behind the curtains, you remind me the persons that denounced Jews to nazis. What do you know about history, except your arrogant anglo-saxon original contempt, weren’t the french to supply your country with money, warfare knowledge and soldiers, that took you more than one century and a half to pay back, without us you would still be subjects of Nelson descendants.

    I recall that in your holly country, manifestations pro-palestinian are more numerous than by us, all cofounded ethnies. Israel has her policies,France has her policies, the US have their policies, and they don’t all go at the same time unisson, tell me when France said that Israel must disappear, I recall you that Israel exists thanks to the support of France, because, you so moral anglo-saxons, were doing your possible for the project fails

    see :

    I can never thank too much Mr Simon to let express such vile sentiments, I guess that he is sharing them too

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 7:56 am | Reply

  109. Delia
    I’ve won game in two moves. What do you suggest?

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 21, 2009 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  110. 109. Oscar the Grump,

    LOL! Oscar you’re a man after my own heart. When my husband plays chess with me he takes FOREVER to make a move…drives me completely BONKERS. I know, I know. Chess is ‘supposed’ to be a ‘patience’ game but I like it hard and fast.

    Move? Play me chess in PERSON. I’m much ‘funner’ that way. *wink*

    Comment by Delia — March 21, 2009 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  111. bizarre, etrange, je me sens mal entourée tout d’un coup, ah oui, je défends mes compatriotes, c’est cela les “evils” de la genese c’est nous, certains veulent le faire croire

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  112. c’est bizarre on m’a coupé le sifflet là aussi :

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  113. Delia
    I’d love to play you chess in person, I just don’t know how or when.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 21, 2009 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  114. Marie Claude
    My wife translated but she’s not not sure of her French. She hasn’t used it in a long time.

    Don’t lament the Jews leaving France. What is supposed to happen will happen.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 21, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  115. Oscar, this is hardly the case but certain persons want to make it like it would look worst with deturned infos, for good raisons, and bizarrely, they are the persons who shouldn’t, cuz the effects that they want to reach will come back into their face as a boomrang at the end

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  116. Marie Claude
    Our Torah says, “They will come back to Israel from all over the world. Many will not even know that they are Jews, for I will bring them back. Not for their sake; but, for mine for I have given my word to them.”

    Then the prophets also predict the same thing that we will be brought back to the land of Israel.

    In our country, our President has reached out his hand to Iran, “We are not your enemy.” This is in spite of what Tehran is saying to us and the rest of the world. All the lies that have been spoken through out the world are being echoed here. Soon my beloved land of Israel will have to stand alone. And, it will be our turn to be driven out of this country.

    Just as G*d hardened the heart of Pharoh to achieve his goals, our new Pharoh will turn on us. Nothing we will be able to do will stop it.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 21, 2009 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  117. Well, Oscar, I don’t if all of the french Jews believe that, lot of them are secular, some elders go to Tel Aviv in retirement, What I understand is that lots of them dont want to leave too, because they are French.

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

  118. I don’t know

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  119. Gary Rosen:

    “For when a Frenchman’s “got your back”, make sure it is covered in armour.”

    Naah, nothing to worry about. They’ll be running away in the opposite direction.

    Can I say you’re a fieffé racist

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  120. 16. cfbleachers:

    As a modern American, as a Jew or as an ally…to be kissed by a Frenchmen on both cheeks is to feel the lips of Judas Iscariot.

    (And THAT…is more the true meaning of a “french kiss”).

    For when a Frenchman’s “got your back”, make sure it is covered in armour.

    can I say you’re an idiot, you invented Judas’s kiss

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  121. 23. David Levavi:

    These aint French. These be Muslims. A scavenger faith whose followers produce nothing, contribute nothing and criticize those who do.

    If French Police can’t cool this sort of behavior in France, maybe selling French products here in the States should become more difficult.

    so what, there are also some joung jews among them

    please do boycott our products, you can’t afford them anyways, you didn’t wait for so, Zoreilly teah you how to make it once
    Though I doubt that your army will boycott us and or our manufactured products, they already use them, even your planes are out of pieces manufactured in France, please don’t take the plane you might get an accident

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 21, 2009 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

  122. 113. Oscar the Grump:

    I’d love to play you chess in person, I just don’t know how or when.”

    If you ever come to WA State I’ll gladly cook you a gourmet meal made from scratch [as long as you’re not strictly kosher] and I’ll brew us some nice English and add some of my gourmet raw honey and let the games commence.

    BTW… Does your wife know you’re the ‘stud’ of PJM? LOL! *giggles*

    Comment by Delia — March 21, 2009 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  123. English ‘TEA’ that is. I’m up too late. 🙂

    Comment by Delia — March 21, 2009 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  124. Delia
    Excuse me that last thing was from me Oscar, Reggie is my wife, honest. She blogs too.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 22, 2009 @ 1:07 am | Reply

  125. Delia
    LOL, get some sleep.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 22, 2009 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  126. Oscar t’es un vilain petit canard

    Comment by Marie Claude — March 22, 2009 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  127. 124. Oscar the Grump:

    Excuse me that last thing was from me Oscar, Reggie is my wife, honest. She blogs too.

    Methinks your wife and my husband need to be Sainted. When I show my husband some of my goofy posts he just shakes his head and laughs in dismay. :))

    Comment by Delia — March 22, 2009 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  128. Marie Claude
    Marie, Marie tu es mechant.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 22, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  129. Delia
    Reggie says “Yes, I know.”

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 22, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  130. Blogging reminds me of Eclesiastics.
    There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to throw stones and a time to pick them up. A time to build and a time to tear down.

    I have never enjoyed such discourse in my life. I have learned much from the wisdom of others and shared the little bit I know. Bless you all at PJM and bless all those I have shared with.

    Comment by Oscar the Grump — March 22, 2009 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

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