A while ago, I noted that the blogosphere seems to have a rather odd effect on politics. The stereotypical attributes of the Left and the Right seem to flip in the online community. In the real world, the Right is considered the world of the corporate mentality, the big-business, the crass commercialism, while the Left promotes socialism, communalism, and doing things simply for the sake of doing good deeds. In the blogosphere, though, the biggest voices on the Right were folks who have other jobs and interests (Charles Johnson, a jazz musician and software guy, and Glenn Reynolds, law professor), while the most prominent voices of the Left (Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis) all make big bucks off their political activities, and really don’t seem to have any outside interests — or careers.
And now I have another example to cite, thanks to tas of all people.
I’ve linked to tas before, but then it was to mock or correct him. I’ve never really found anything he said agreeable. But he brings up a rather good observation here.
According to the political stereotypes, the Right is supposed to be all about the individual, the “me,” the cult of personality, the supremacy of the one over the group. Meanwhile, the Left is all about the community, the group, the promotion of the good of all over individual glories.
But look at those bloggers I mentioned. Charles Johnson routinely offers “hat tips” to other bloggers. Glenn Reynolds is almost all about linking to other bloggers, to the point where the word “Instalanche” had to be invented to describe the effect of his singling out one of your posts for his attention.
But on the Left, it’s all about them. Kos and Atrios started the “open threads” bit, where they simply provide a space for the readers to chat among themselves. They essentially walk into the room, say “OK, talk,” then walk out — they don’t contribute at all. (Johnson has started doing this, too, but he limits himself to one a day and at least writes something semi-creative to introduce it.)
I’ll admit that I’m not as generous with linking as I probably should be. Wizbang is a top-20 blog, and I really feel like I should “share the wealth” and point out other worthies (in some case, more worthy than me — yes, Will Franklin, I’m talking about you). The problem is, I don’t think like a big blogger.
The evolution of Wizbang into a group blog is an odd case. (And yes, I call it “evolution,” because there certainly wasn’t any Intelligent Design behind it.) Kevin had done a fantastic job building up the site, literally starting from nothing. Then, when he needed a little paternity leave, he asked eight of his to hop on board for a little while. That worked pretty well, but two of us (paul and me) just never got the note saying thanks, but our services were no longer needed. Instead, we just hung around and did our thing, until Kevin finally made it official and listed us as “contributing editors.” (I didn’t notice it for a while; Kevin had to point it out to me.)
The point behind that digression is this: I didn’t start from scratch. I was “born on third base,” to steal a phrase, and spend most of my time reminding myself I didn’t hit a triple. But I simply never learned what it was like to start from the ground up, and never learned all the hard lessons that entails. Sometimes I kinda wish I had; I’d probably be a better blogger for the effort.
Kevin didn’t, though. That’s why every Saturday morning he hosts the Carnival of the Trackbacks, where anyone in the universe can freely have their page linked to Wizbang (it’s where I’ve found several very worthy blogs). James Joyner, of Outside the Beltway, does something similar every day.
So, the Right is into community and the group, while the left is all about the individual and the cult of personality and the Big Leader…
Power to the People!
Update: The Commissar weighs in, with what I think is a hell of a good explanation for what I found so puzzling above. I’m not quite ready to say it is THE answer, but I’m damn close…