Wednesday, January 04, 2006

That was fast

Less than three weeks ago, I suggested that Democrats pull libertarian voters out of the Republican party by coming out in favor of medical marijuana. Today comes news that the Rhode Island legislature has just passed a medical marijuana law over the veto of the Republican governor.

I didn't realize blogs were that effective.


mark said...

" I didn't realize blogs were that effective."

They are in the aggregate.

And for those with aggregators ( or the patience to systematically keyword Technorati)

I think the blogosphere is causing cultural shifts because it is efficiently connecting a fairly large number of intelligent and well-educated people who would otherwise never have interacted. Sort of like urbanization once did to a predominantly rural except far faster and without the spillover costs.

mark said...

Sorry, should have read " rural society"

Eric H said...

Maybe just *your* blog is that effective. Try posting something about the size of federal government you would like to see while I keep my fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Just a small register of major achievements of the blogosphere over the past couple years, by my reckoning:

-forcing Trent Lott to resign for his good-ol-boy racist remarks
-exposing CBS's shoddy reporting and forcing Dan Rather to resign
-helping to get the McCain torture amendment passed
-keeping attention on various corruption and power-abuse related scandals (the Plame affair, the torture scandals, the domestic spying scandals, congressional corruption...)

I am probably leaving out a lot. And no, these all can't be completely credited to blogs, but a good argument can be made for them (to varying degrees) that the desired outcome could not have occurred without blogs.

So I agree with the above poster that blogs are causing a major political shift. I think blogs are a catalyst for right-minded grassroots political action, better citizen involvement in and oversight of government, and a force to keep the mainstream media in check.

Blogs and related phenomenon are, in fact, one of my greatest hopes for the future of society. I believe that they "wean" general society off of a paternalistic government and mainstream media (even if not all of them directly "consume" blogs).

One of modern government's most powerful weapons, if not _the_ most, is obscurity. No one can keep up with the law, or changes in it--not even law enforcement. This fosters an environment of raw, unreasoning domination of the government class over everyone else. Blogs and citizen media in general help cast the light of day on these phenomenon.

The mainstream media is guilty of a variety of sins that have been "holding us back" and doing damage in proportion to the growing influence of mass media in the 20th century. Aside from controllability by government and conflicts of interest,citizen media essentially does away with scarcity and makes it difficult for the MSM to limit the range of debate. It also holds them accountable for sloppy and deceptive reporting. Its about damn time.

Blogs combat these serious detriments to a healthy society, and I think we will be massively better for it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is the Rhode Island Legislature that's the effective one - they merely have to take up a question and you post about it in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Blogs have two big advantages that make them harder to spin than the MSM:

a. They aren't obliged to fill a newspaper or 24-hour news show with material every day, and they're mostly not about reporting what's happening right now. So they're not stuck trying to report exactly the same set of stories as everyone else.

b. Most of them don't seem to depend on insider access to leaks and such to fill their quota of material. That means they are much harder to punish by withholding leaks or exclusive interviews, and much harder to divert by handing juicy new leaks or promising them in return for dropping a story.

Of course, blogs have their own vulnerabilities. But the biggest source of resistance to spinning in the aggregate they have is simply that there are a lot of them. When there are ten media sources that together determine the picture or reality for 90+% of Americans, you can spend a lot of time spinning those ten sources. When there are a thousand, you just exert the same control from outside.

Anonymous said...

That last line should be "you just CAN'T exert the same control from outside."

Anonymous said...

I reckon that we should expect federal regulation of blogs in the near future if their effectiveness continues to create a problem. All (semi) kidding aside, it's nice to see the left implementing policy more consistent with their civil liberties rhetoric. Now if only the right would just deliver the goods on all of their free market talk...

Anonymous said...

My feeling is that blogs - and bloggers - are reviving the tradition of Op-Ed news analysis.

I grew up reading The National Observer, a wonderful, if left-wing weekly.

Come to think of it, there were a great many such weeklies that did what we do now, for left and right, think aloud, at great length.

It seems that people are coming back to the view that MTV/Bumpersticker culture is all very well as far as it goes, but it's no replacement for serious exploration of the issues that matter to us.

We have been ruled since the 80's by people who have substituted packaging for subsance, attitude for analysis and public piety (both religious AND secular) for substantive, private ethics.

We see the results, and are disgusted - and this in part explains the explosion of the blogging phenomonon; the need has driven the technology.

But if you want a buzz word that fits on a bumpersticker, you can have your choice of two:

"Paradigm Shift" or "Armageddon."

Depending on whether you view the glass of life as half empty or half full.

Jeremy Pierce said...

Democrats in RI don't need to pull libertarians from the Republican party. It's something like 90% Democratic, more than (I think) any other state.