Hey, wait a minute! I was going to use “Hello” for my first title!
Some people move from pillar to post. Some can’t hold a steady job. In my case, I just can’t seem to hold a steady blog. How I got here, the short(ish) version:
It seems much longer, but a mere five years ago I was browsing Reason’s blog, Hit & Run. I consider myself a pragmatic libertarian, doubtlessly more about which later, but the real reason I frequented that site was that Ron Bailey, a friend for over three decades and Reason’s science editor, regularly posted there. If I recall correctly, not that it really matters now, someone else posted a notice with a hat tip to National Review’s The Corner about a new group blog being started by academics, most of whom worked for the University of Michigan.
The blog, Left2Right, had a number of authors listed on its masthead but, as often is the case, the lion’s share of posts were from two authors: philosopher David Velleman and political scientist Don Herzog. I think they were hoping to attract and engage bona fide conservatives of the, well, the National Review variety. What they got for the most part instead was me and a handful of other libertarian types including, for example, Mona of magazine subscription cancellation notoriety. Long story short, I spent altogether too much time commenting, discussing, arguing, etc. at Left2Right until, for unrelated reasons, they decided to abandon the blog.
I kicked the blog habit temporarily, but in the summer of 2006 QandO Blog founder Jon Henke recruited me, Mona and Thoreau, then a regular Hit & Run commenter, to participate in a start-up blog called Inactivist. Which we did. Until it crashed. Never to be restored. While the loss of the material we had posted there probably compares unfavorably to the lost manuscripts in the burning of the Library at Alexandria, we were nonetheless unhappy about this state of affairs, the result being that both Thoreau and Mona moved on to the vastly greener pastures of Jim Henley’s Unqualified Offerings and I, now having the blogging monkey weighing heavily on my back, did what I had previously sworn never to do. I started my own solo blog.
Which is a hell of a lot of work. I’m fairly proficient in the stringing-words-together department, but coming up with some fresh horror on a frequent enough basis to satisfy my perverse band of readers – an inexplicably loyal collection whose numbers had by then swelled to nearly double digits – proved once again to be a case of my reach exceeding my grasp. In October, 2007, I threw in the virtual towel.
Like Michael Corleone, however, every time I thought I was out, well, you know the quote. Jason Kuznicki, whom you already know in these parts, was kind enough to extend an invitation to join his group blog, Positive Liberty. Which I did. Until it crashed. Never to be completely restored. Not Mr. Kuznicki’s fault any more than it was Jon Henke’s fault that Inactivist crashed. Just one of those things. Again.
Positive Liberty co-blogger James Hanley (not to be confused with Jim Henley) encouraged the rest of us to start up a new blog, [cue the Who] just like the old blog. Which we did, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Kuznicki was now blogging here as well as Cato and that several of the other Positive Liberty bloggers named on the masthead were mostly conspicuous for their absence.
Because getting consensus among libertarians is akin to herding cats, much futzing around and faux deference to each other’s silly suggestions was given until, virtually by default, Mr. Kuznicki’s possibly off-hand suggestion of The One Best Way was semi-grudgingly adopted.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Mr. Kuznicki. I think he’s a hell of a smart guy and a good writer and I wish him every success in his career and his life and I hope he takes what I am about to say as good-naturedly as I intend it. But as a namer of blogs, Mr. Kuznicki sucks. Mr. Kuznicki has no future in marketing. And if Mr. Kuznicki ever offers suggestions for the name of your future child, run away as swiftly as possible. Positive Liberty was not about positive liberty as theorists commonly understand the term. Libertarians do not believe there is such a thing as the one best way, at least not for everyone. In-jokes are best appreciated once you’re already in, if you get my drift.
Mind you, I’m not saying a blog entitled The One Best Way is doomed to languish in the nether regions of the blogosphere until the End of Days. I’m just sayin’ maybe the name doesn’t draw in the drive-by blog reader as successfully as, oh, let’s say, just as an example, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.
Which brings me back to my original point. As I said, Mr. Kuznicki seems like a fine fellow to me, notwithstanding the fact that he is ranked among the five worst blog namers in North America, and I suspect that after he was invited to join here at LOG – I hope “LOG” is okay; “DAR” certainly is – anyway, after he joined, perhaps he mentioned to Mr. Kain that, except for that Ridgely chappie who mistakes himself for a wit, the remaining authors of Positive Liberty would also be a good fit here. Or maybe Mr. Kain came to that conclusion by himself. Perhaps it was fate, or the hand of God or further evidence of an arbitrary and indifferent universe. If you embrace the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics – and who among us doesn’t? — then perhaps it was inevitable that we’d show up here in some of those worlds, anyway.
And here we are. Or, more particularly, here I am. As for who I am and what sort of things interest me enough to write about them, obviously from the above, I’m a man of few words and poor math skills. I’m a native Virginian who currently lives in Dallas, Texas and has lived previously in Italy and Germany. I have a liberal arts degree which mostly qualifies me for cocktail parties in that I can discuss just about anything for up to five minutes but probably not as long as ten. I’ve also been to graduate school and law school. I know just enough about philosophy, economics, the law and my own culture, broadly construed, to be dangerous, mostly to myself. I love to argue political theory but my actual politics boil down to something along the lines of “People should for the most part leave each other the hell alone.” I am, Gawd help me, a child of the 1960s with children of his own and the world’s most long suffering wife for over thirty years. I like puppies and kittens and rainbows and if I become the next Miss America I pledge to use my crown to eliminate hunger and promote world peace.
Less facetiously, I’m very happy to have been invited here. While I enjoy the expressive freedom blogging affords, I do however find that the more time I spend writing for a blog, the less time and energy I have to work on other projects of importance to me. As a result, my blogging tends to ebb and flow both quantitatively and, alas, qualitatively; but I look forward to adding my own voice to this far from merely ordinary league.