I must call attention to Norm Leahy’s brief look at Jim Webb’s economic outlook and what to make of those thoughts. A year and a half ago this would have been standard fare for the Virginia political blogosphere — a brief, thoughtful attempt by a member of one party to persuade members of the other party to agree with him.
These days most Virginia political blogs make virtually no effort to persuade anybody to change their minds. A blogger will state his opinion, make no attempt to explain it, and insult those who disagree with them. Telling me I’m stupid does nothing to endear me to your cause. It is not persuasive, so it can have no impact on the political process. It reveals nothing about the blogger — at least, nothing flattering. No attempt is made to educate, so no new facts are gathered by the reader. If anything useful results from this process, I cannot understand what it is.
The result of this is that people take to reading only those blogs that espouse opinions that they already hold, because reading others is such an unpleasant experience. Such bloggers set the tone for the discussions, too, such that rational discourse is impossible. And thus begins the ghettoization of ideological positions and with it the end of the enormous value that once made Virginia political blogs so noteworthy.
I’m grateful that Norm has not bent to these particular winds of change, and continues to write interesting and persuasive blog entries, especially those that challenge my own beliefs, such as today’s piece. He’s one of very few.