Friday, October 28, 2005

There And Back Again

My guest spot over at Belgravia Dispatch is winding down, so I'm back here on a permanent basis for the foreseeable future (other than Liberals Against Terrorism of course). Writing to Greg's audience, which trends farther Right than TIA's, was an interesting experience to say the least. I'd like to think that the arguments I made were not altered in any material respect, but I definitely was conscious of being less snarky, not editorializing as much based on speculation, and taking care to present both sides of issues - with a mention of best case scenario outcomes and optimistic takes. To some extent, that is my natural style I think, but it was perhaps more pronounced in my Belgravia-designed posts.

Still, some of the reactions from commenters were curious. At one point I was called a "neo-con moron" and another frequent commenter labeled me a "wingnut" (which was later clarified to a "wingnut with regard to the Iraq war"). Perhaps that is more telling of how prejudice can color observations than any actual shift in my position. Amusing nonetheless. For a brief moment, I entertained visions of my very own Golden Winger.

Ultimately, I found it rewarding to test my beliefs and ideas with a new audience, one less inclined to by sympathetic to such arguments. There is great value in such endeavors. Here is how I summed it up in my farewell blog-speech to the Belgravians:

As I've mentioned previously, I am a big fan of Belgravia Dispatch - but not necessarily because I agree with everything Greg writes. Obviously I don’t, but it is exactly because we disagree that this site has a special value to me. Far too often people tend to cluster in enclaves of groupthink, be it in political circles, artistic, cultural, ethnic, religious, etc. But without a robust contrast of perspectives, absent some semblance of dialectic, ideas and movements tend to lose balance and become self-reinforced extremes that fail to accurately describe reality or formulate solutions.

Unfortunately, opportunities for dialogue can be drowned out and lost amid so much rancor and shouting demagoguery. Luckily, there are sites such as [Belgravia Dispatch] that can pose intelligent, coherent and thought provoking challenges to my thinking on certain issues. My frequent cross-blog conversations with Dan Darling have also been fruitful along these lines. Hopefully, in some small way, I was able to provide a reasonable contrasting voice for some of you.
And so on.

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