But I’ll try to get in what I can before they kick me out of the library in half an hour. Gene Healy and Eve Tushnet have already summarized more or less what happened at the blog roundtable I attended last night.
Naturally, none of the very perceptive questions Healy asked were answered by any of the panelists, but moderator’s questions are usually ignored in these types of situations. Stan Evans did a great job of bluffing his way through the discussion, since he clearly had no idea what the hell people were talking about half the time. I’d look over in his direction as someone else was talking and he’d have this bemused look on his face.
But he made some very good points that apply across all media, and one thing he said particularly struck home with me. One thing I find attractive about the blogosphere and opinion writing in general is that I love the attitude. I can pick and choose what I agree with, creating a feedback loop that reinforces what I already think in an entertaining and informative way.
However, there is still this real world of supposedly objective, mainstream journalism that libertarians and free-marketeers need to crack. It’s not good enough to just be blogging in reaction to the latest blunder in The New York Times, or writing an opinion column, or publishing in places like Reason. Those things definitely have their place, but I kind of realize two things about myself and my career at this point: The first is that I’m not any better as a writer than the folks who work for Reason or Cato or any of the traditional ideological organs of libertarian and free-market thinking. I’m certainly not any smarter, or even as smart. I’m not needed there, and frankly I’m not wanted there.
But where I can do some good, I think, is at the small suburban paper where I’ll be the one voice asking the tough questions that don’t get asked about zoning laws, taxes to pay for schools and so on. And I don’t mean as a columnist, but as a reporter who is skeptical of government and of politicians and is looking to show how so many government policies lead to bad results. That I think I can do, and there I think can be of some value.
That’s where I stand now, anyway. I could change my mind in five minutes, and ultimately it all depends on who is the first to offer me a job. Will it be you?
One more thing, on personal info on blogs: I love it. But then again, I’m a nosy sort of person. If someone is a good writer and an interesting person, even the very mundane can be entertaining or insightful. If you like a blogger enough to read about his views on politics, then why shouldn’t his views on bank hassles be of equal interest — if he or she delivers them in the same well-written fashion?
By the way, the Fund for American Studies has a sweet place. Very fancy digs. And free drinks and free dinner. Not bad. I’ve got to find more of these things around town. Here I am sitting at home eating macaroni and cheese like a sucker.