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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yes, even in the blogosphere...

Even the blogosphere -- filled with articulate, intelligent people as it is -- is susceptible to a couple of traditional woes of mankind; those being the herd mentality of irrational thought or lack thereof, and the fact that the more popular you get the more afraid you are to take a stand.
Since I'm not popular (yet) or particularly articulate, I'll let Booman at the Booman Tribune speak for me, as he does it so well in this post discussing why much of the liberal left is afraid to take a stand against Israel, even in part.

The latter issue regarding herd mentality I feel I can speak well on. I am a lifelong liberal and a lifelong independent, both by choice. To me being a liberal has always meant being open minded and thus better done by being a political minded to the prospect that right and necessary and possible can come from any direction. "But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a Liberal." JFK

If you are not unwavering in that ideal of open-mindedness, you are easily susceptible to the herd mentality, susceptible to the tendency to judge right by affiliation, susceptible to closing your mind to the possibility of being wrong; and nothing in my opinion is more dangerous than that combination.

So while the internet and blogs in particular are a wonderful place for open dialogue and discourse, it is also plagued by the herd mentality, of close-mindedness, ergo a lack of full thought. A wonderful line in a post by Fallen Monk sums it up poetically and succinctly. It's like "a bunch of ducks trying to fuck a football."

So in these trying times I beseech all, regardless of what pole you stand closest to, to keep an open mind, to base your opinions as much on fact and as little on emotional reaction as possible; otherwise, it defeats the purpose of this whole idea of open discussion as a means of change and progress.


Sally said...

I agree with you. I think part of it is the right wings blogs is quick to say any comments questioning Israel or this administration is "anti" and ultimately lets the enemy win...

David said...

I can agree with a lot of what this post says, but I disagree with the notion that liberals are open minded as stated because it is implying that conservatives are closed minded. I think there are plenty of closed minds, liberal and conservative.

The list of virtues in the JFK quote apply to people on both sides of the aisle. Liberals have not cornered the market on these issues, conservatives also embrace them. It is just that conservatives (mostly) don't believe that big government is the answer as liberals (most of them) do.

Zebster said...

Hey old friend, I think we agree even more than you realize, though a true liberal (of which IMO there are very few) do not necessarily believe in big govt...thems Democrats and one of the biggest reasons why I've never been a Democrat coming from generations of them. And the current admin is helping your argument any, while Barry Goldwater rolls over in his grave.
I will say that IMO the State of Maine creates an interesting perspective if you grew up there (something I intend to blog about someday) but one of the reasons that's true is by looking at the list of Republicans who've come from there -- Margaret Chase Smith, Bill Cohen to name just a couple.
Anyway, I got off on a tangent.
Where we'll probably continue to disagree is that in my humble opinion true open mindedness tends to be is what I believe the definition of liberal really means. Conversely, you could say that being a conservative with a truly open mind makes you a liberal.
The definition of liberal that's been bantied about in the last 30 years or so is a label created by someone else. It is a label meant to demean a certain group of people and yet mischaracterizes those very people. Again, that label applies to Democrats, though the word liberal is used because of political expediency.
Said another way, someone on the far left is not necessarily a fact, probably not. Because you're right, they are as closed minded as anyone.
Did I make that clear as mud?

fallenmonk said...

Thanks for the link Zebster and I agree with your concern that one needs to be constantly vigilant with respect to following the crowd.
I like to call myself an independent or rather a progressive but I am a registered Democrat since in the current system that's my only chance of getting anything done. Maybe someday we will have a system where independents can be successful.

Jeremiah Bullfrog said...

Librals is always a flip floppin and such....They jez wanna give everbody handouts like health care and a livin wage.

Librals thank they has got such open minds! You know wut they say about open minds...Anything can fly in thar! That is why my mind is closed tighter than Hillary's butt cheeks when Bill is home.

Us conservatives find it better ta jez let the bigwigs thank up all th ideas and we jez follow along...I watch Fox news and let my mind soak it all in...pure unfiltered truth. See how good it works? Never before has America been more loved and safe than right now thanks ta the beauty of unthankin democracy...

Y'all librals need ta git with the real man, GW. Why dont y'all ask him into yor life right now...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Zeb, I am a little concerned that the liberal blogosphere is starting to become about conformity. That is a dangerous trend. This Mid East crisis has exposed a timidity on the part of the big bloggers. These guys have finally made the big time - they are mainstream. And now they dont want to take risks and lose that lofty status.

I guess the blogosphere has grown up and become big business.

I wonder where that leaves the rest of us :)

El Mas Chingón said...

That's why I don't post on places like DailyKos and Democratic Underground. I don't follow herds, not even with a bow and arrow or a hunting rifle.

Why the "big-time" liberal blogosphere doesn't make a stand on this issue has everything to do with $$$$. That's why I don't host ads on my blogs and don't accept donations for my blogging. That's the only way you stay independent.