I've recently been going through old posts and the associated comment threads for a variety of reasons. Some I had almost entirely forgotten. The overall impression reminds me of the four volumes of Orwell's letters and essays, a work I'm fond of reading and rereading—a mixture of comments on a wide range of subject with a common voice. Orwell did not have a blog or comment threads, but he did have correspondents.
One interesting old post
with a comment thread 170 comments long was sparked by the controversy over the Ron Paul newsletters. It dealt with divisions within the libertarian movement that were more cultural than ideological. The newsletters contained a number of articles that were deliberately and forcefully politically incorrect. Some libertarians strongly disapproved, others had the opposite reaction. As I saw it, the disapproval was from people with friends were on the left, culturally and politically, who saw it as both rude and counterproductive to deliberately offend their friends and did not want to be identified with those who did so. The approval was coming from people who saw the attempt to keep speech politically correct as offensive and were happy to see it defied and those responsible offended. From the standpoint of the first group the second were boors, from the standpoint of the second the first were wimps. Some in the commenting thread labeled the same division as between cosmolibertarians and paleolibertarians.
One commenter argued, I think correctly, that both groups were wimps and both were boors—with regard to different targets. The people I labeled wimps were perfectly happy to say unkind things about religious fundamentalists, southern admirers of the confederacy and other people they did not know or want to be associated with. The people I labeled boors had friends among those groups and, although they might not agree with them, were disinclined to be rude to them. The first group saw the willingness of the second to tolerate people they did not want tolerated as a fault, and the second group similarly with regard to the first. Almost perfect symmetry.
An interesting discussion, and not the only such in the past eight years of blogging. If only blogs had been invented a few centuries earlier.