This is a bit of a fly-by-night piece, so I won’t frontpage, and apologies if I don’t follow up with profound comments. I love the polite friendly atmosphere of the Moose, but that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about difficult subjects. Indeed, I have to write something, in my usual British contentious unphlegmatic way, about the Moose/Elephant in the room – the sudden welcome influx of New Moozog (the plural of Mooz).
But first some ground rules. This is not about anybody on any other blog, nor indeed a specific kind of administration, or to relitigate any Obamarox/Obamasux wars on any other site, but to explore the problem of defining loyalty versus individuality, collective strength versus personal conscience.
I think if we stick to these rules of discussing those principles of political pragmatism versus moral purity, we can make sure this isn’t a comment on any other blog or commentator. Just to remind you – most of us cross post at a number of other blogs, and long may that remain.
But let me port over a comment I’ve just made on Daily Kos (with typos corrected and some site specific phrases AMENDED IN CAPS).
Just to reiterate, this is one dumb Brit commenting on the basis of his limited outsider experience of US politics over a couple of decades. In a way US political blogs are a microcosm of the wider conflict in US society, so when I use the example of ‘moderation’ below, what I mean is how to resolve conflicts.
A technolibertarian solution to moderation presupposes individual responsibility. Individual conflicts will arise but will be sorted out by the amalgam of individuals: I.e. community moderation
But SOME SITES ARE so big THEY DON’T work like that. There are several different communities. So the worst excesses erive from a form of communalism.
As an individual I might rate you, but thre are ‘sides’. A one to one conflict is inflamed by upraters and bystanders who are (and we’re all guilty of this) defending ‘friends’. The communal conflict periodically sorts itself out by which group is more numerous at any moment.
But the battle is never completed because, following the principle if American individualism, any communal victory is quickly decried as ‘groupthink’. The marginalised groups are defended. And the cycle of strife continues
And this is all very dynamic, because there is no equilibrium that can ever be achieved. Indeed it’s one of the motors of American dynamism, and part of me would never want to change it
But it’s very damaging for the left, which has always relied not on money power, but the ability to form coalitions transcending individual interest through collectivity, solidarity and loyalt cohesion
THOSE with a Civil Rights background understand this, but the majority still cling to an individualised form of liberty which makes every compromise a betrayal. And every coalition a circular firing squad
Of course, this contrast mainly derives from my experience of the British Labour Party which, vitiated almost to extinction in the 1980s, relearned the values of cohesion and loyalty to win three elections, two with landslides.
Some may say that loyalty came at the expense of principle, and the electoral success was misused. But having had experience of three years of Tory rule, not many on the left now believe that ‘Tony Blair was as bad as any Tory’.
Please use the comment threads to blow me out of the water.
UPDATE: oh, and I meant to use this diary to say HELLO to all the new Mooq I haven’t personally greeted yet. This is very much a collective site, established by a charter group, so no top down command and control here. You’re all in charge. And you’re paying the bar bill!