On Paths Taken: A League Census


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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146 Responses

  1. Avatar dexter says:

    Laugh all you want but I got here by typing Libertarian Blogs on Google. The reason I like the site is the quality of the discourse and because it is not an echo chamber.Report

  2. I found this place long ago via Sullivan or Balloon-Juice. I think I came here a few times back during Freddie’s time, since I always liked his work; but it wasn’t until E.D. started blogging at BJ that I read it more often, ’cause I thought his work was good and I wanted to get a better sense of where he was coming from. And I was annoyed by how hostile the BJ commentariat was when his posts were always harmless and often clearly put forward in good faith. (I subsequently came to stop reading the BJ comments b/c…well…anyone who reads the comments there knows why — despite the few good’uns…) Anyway I had just started my own blog back around this time and eventually got to talking with E.D. and was lucky enough to get an invite.Report

  3. Avatar Noah says:

    I came across The League a long time ago… I’ve been following via RSS Reader since mid 2009. I forget how exactly I was referred here, but I think I was following a prominent ex-member of anonymous who no longer blogs here (I forget the name), or referred to this site from another blog.

    Regardless, I realized that this was a place where discussions took place in a meaningful fashion, and people intelligently listened to each other’s opinions. I rarely comment.Report

  4. Blame Jason Kuznicki for my presence (but not for anything I write).Report

  5. Avatar karl says:

    Don’t rightly remember, but I probably stumbled over your site in someone else’s blogroll. Then E.D. started up in Balloon Juice (The Bane of Reason) and I clicked your link a little more often. I always had the impression of this being a libertarian blog made more palatable by a decreasing fidelity to the cause over the years.

    The perceived libertarian bent might be due more to the commenters then the frontpagers.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I came here by way of the implosion of Culture11. I think I got an account there but only commented once or twice (if at all). After Culture11 went away, I think I still read Freddie’s stuff from time to time and paid attention to The American Scene (I think that they were the ones who first posted a link to this place that I clicked on, actually) and fell in love.

    This place posted about theology, it posted about libertarianism, it posted about all sorts of stuff that was WRITTEN FOR ME. I didn’t comment for the first couple of weeks because I knew that I had the potential to derail stuff and I didn’t want to touch this little perfect website I had found.

    That stopped here, I think. I think that that was my first comment on this website.

    By April, I had lost all restraint and commented like I owned the place. Sigh. So many memories.

    The first time I went crazy was here (in comment #28). The first guest post was here and we actually had a text bloggingheads here.

    Looking back through the archives, I realize how much I miss Kyle and Cascadian and Roque and Tony Comstock and Sam M and Nob Akimoto and I wish they showed up every day.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’m a little amazed you can pull out all of that. Especially the first comment you ever made. It’s kind of awesome.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

      I am actually amazed at how little the various conversants’ writing voices have changed since those earlier days. I could see the people in that thread that are still around now having almost the same exact conversation today (potentially with positions reversed, but with the exact same verbal miens).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        One of the awesome things about this place is that, for the most part, most folks are actual (fallible!) human beings who have their own voice but are not actually avatars of some political ideal out there.

        So we’re stuck with people who always use the same verbal tics and make the same syntatic errors month after month but, for the most part, mean it.

        And that’s just lovely.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

      That’s funny, JB. After enduring a decade of how ideal the Eurostate is, wondering if such an admittedly wonderful political dream is sustainable, it’s turning out that it’s probably not.

      MarkT [2009, per JB’s link]: One thing that has long baffled me has been the idea on the American Right that Europe is some kind of socialist hell-hole that borders on Communist.

      Well, not exactly, MarkT. America’s left came around bit by bit over the decades that Stalinism sucked, that mebbe too many eggs were broken in pursuit of the omelet. Even the current villain, Wall Street, hasn’t actively killed millions of its own people.

      Even Bush didn’t manage that!

      But they’re still flashing Che Guevera’s image @ #Occupy, and that should be self-policed as an obscenity, the murdering bastard.

      To the larger argument, the UK wants out of the EU, bigtime. They voted for a Common Market in the 1970s, and ain’t been given a vote since as it mutated into what the EU’s philosophical godfather Alexandre Kojeve called the UHS—The Universal and Homogeneous State.

      Hegel, Fukuyama [Kojeve’s student], The End of History-as-neoliberal bourgeois democracy, it’s all there. That’s not America, at least not quite yet.

      Just laying a trail of breadcrumbs for the gentle reader, as is my wont. It’s a fascinating story, esp Kojeve. Eurostatism seemed like The Inevitable and Desirable Future in 2008, and even like a few months ago. Reality is getting in the way.

      I expect an apology any day now.


      • Much of Northern Europe, Germany, etc. are doing fine. The problem is not the welfare state in these nations, its the false promise of a united political Europe as opposed to an economically united Europe.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          The problem isn’t the welfare state in Greece, either. Greece’s welfare state is considerably smaller, relatively, than Germany’s or France’s. The problem in Germany is the tax code and corruption. But that’s not an easy narrative, ya know? Doesn’t work in sound bites as well as “failure of the welfare state” to point out that the tax laws in Greece are a joke, that tax evasion, both through influencing the laws and through actually evading taxes, is rampant among Greece’s wealthy, and that the government is full of crooks.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          Erik, I’d like to poke through with you just how much of Western Europe is “doing fine.”

          Yes, some of it still is—2011—but even then, we must examine all the relevant parameters, and how they might differ from those in the US.

          If there was one point I was trying to make about Kojeve or the End of History, it’s that one size might not fit all afterall.

          When you have the time, EDK. I think I can substantiate that neo-conservatism owes more to Kojeve than any other influence. It was also quite neo-liberal.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Fuck-no, the leftists didn’t throw Stalin out gradually. Stalin got the boot in one swift move. We’re still waiting for the right to do the same, with its monsters.Report

  7. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I went out and had a few too many drinks and woke up here.Report

  8. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Actually, even weirder than that, I read somewhere that this site was one of the most interesting conservative sites on the web. Can’t remember where I read that or what they were talking about there.Report

  9. I came by way of The American Scene. I think by way of following Freddie. It’s probably because of that that I first considered this a liberalish site. I thought that the conservative writers were only conservative in comparison to Freddie. The more I read, the more I realized that no, this was something… different.

    At some point I left a comment. And much to my shock, people actually responded to what I was saying and not what Rush Limbaugh is saying. So I would poke my head out more and more and the next thing I knew it, I was a regular commenter.Report

  10. Avatar Chris says:

    I came here via Positive Liberty, which I’d been reading since like 2004 when it was just Jason. I read LOG a bit when Jason first started blogging here, and a lot when Positive Liberty died completely. I guess that was sometime at the beginning of 2010. I have to admit, I thought of it as a libertarian blog, but that’s probably because Jason and his PL co-bloggers were all libertarians of some sort, and I came here to read them initially.

    By the way, what ever happened to Ridgely? Did he finally become so cantankerous that he imploded from the weight?Report

  11. Avatar BSK says:

    I followed Kuzniki and Hanley here from Positive Liberty, which I had stumbled onto (quite unceremoniously at the get go) from Freakonomics. I always appreciated their insight and trusted that if they enjoyed a site, it was probably worth checking out. Took me about a year from the death of PL to work this into my full rotation. Glad I did.

    I should also point out that I found Radley Balko and The Agitator through JK as well. His recommendations have not steered me wrong.Report

  12. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    I’d admired the League for a long time, probably because of Andrew Sullivan linking here. Then my old site crashed and I asked Erik if I could blog here for a while until I got things back together.

    The old place couldn’t be recovered, and here I am.

    You might not believe this, but I’d like the League better if it weren’t generally considered a Libertarian blog. I’m possibly too loud for my own good. Almost alone among folks in this category, I’m… willing to consider it.Report

  13. Avatar BSK says:

    FWIW, I never thought of this as a “libertarian” blog. Certainly not the way I thought of PL in that way. There definitely is more libertarian thought here than in most corners of the internet, but it is far from a monopoly and many posts have little or nothing to do with libertarianism or competing ideologies. I will say that I’ve only dabbled in the other league sites, so I’m referring primarily to the front page here. Most importantly, I never felt hostility to non-libertarian ideologies.Report

  14. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    I wouldn’t know about this place if I hadn’t followed my husband here.
    I wouldn’t (sub)blog here if it weren’t for everyone else.Report

  15. Avatar Steve S. says:

    “How did you all get here?”

    Oddly, this is the most the most popular link on midget porn sites. Or so I’ve been told.Report

  16. Avatar Renee says:

    I saw the name in a blogroll somewhere (I have recently been questioning most of my political instincts and bombing around different libertarian sites to get a fresh perspective) and thought that this might be like one of my old favorites: http://www.dullmensclub.com

    Alas, not much dull here at all – but it is the first place on the web where I found the comments to be worth reading.

    I admit to being mostly a lurker – usually by the time I read through the comments someone has better articulated what I was half-thinking. But I am glad I discovered your corner of the internet.Report

  17. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    Pretty sure I came over following the death of Culture 11, or sometime in that time frame. I’ve been a loyal reader and sometimes commenter since.Report

  18. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    If memory serves, I first came around these parts after Erik linked a hat tip to me for a video of Missy Higgins singing “Where I Stood.” I thought, “Dude, this place is excellent,” and I’ve been a faithful reader, semi-frequent commenter, and occasional guest-poster ever since.

    I’ve never considered the League to be a libertarian blog. I’ve almost always found it a place where a variety of social and cultural philosophies are welcome and hotly debated. The contributors have continually made it work, and I commend them.Report

  19. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    This is fun. It’s interesting to think of the site having been around for a long time. It still feels new to me, though all of you seem like old friends at this point.Report

  20. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    I think I bitch slapped Barry over at PoMoCon and was roundly critiqued by Freddie and some of the boys here, so I came over and read the stuff finding JB and Northie just very clever interlocutors. I find the derailed, post Enlightenment dudes to dominate but there’s enough of us ‘believers’ to put up a sound defense against such silly and inchoate thought. I’ve enjoyed peeing in the punch bowl at every opportunity.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

      Bob, I could swear you were here before I was.
      I’ve certainly learned some things from reading things you write and learned a lot about telling the difference between with irascible coots and trolls [the distinction is subtle] from sparring with you.

      Also I have acquired several electronic copies of writings of Voeglin that I have so far had very great difficulty in reading very much into. The philosophy education is lacking, the flesh is weak, my time is scarce and I’m a skeptical agnostic on top of it all!

      But I’ve learned a lot about guilt from it; “If only I could make myself read and understand this Voeglin stuff I’d finally be able to smack that know-it-all Cheeks down on his own football field! /toothgnash”

      All my best to the Missus.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to North says:

        Good grief NOrthie, you don’t suppose I’m remembering what I WANT to remember rather than what was? Well, it could be worse. Thanks to you JB, and the boys/girls for tolerating an aging hippie who lives quietly in his wife’s keep where he is kept out of sight. Two fingers this evening from me and the beloved to you and your husband (Lord, please don’t let me become a progressive…yet, I know there are people you just gotta like!) and the yearning for a decent cigar!Report

  21. Avatar Jeff Wong says:

    I got here because I was looking for a “good” conservative blog that would help me think more like a conservative. Or at least a moderate place where people can have a discussion without assuming people don’t know how free markets work and rehashing Milton Friedman or Hayek or Adam Smith.

    Discussion could be improved, if I spent more time working on the software for making discussion more productive.Report

  22. Avatar Leah says:

    Found it through Reader shares and found Erik when he would comment on the Reader shares of a mutual friend. (Weeps)Report

  23. Avatar b-psycho says:

    During E.D. Kain’s guest stint on Balloon Juice, followed back.Report

  24. Avatar greginak says:

    Came a few years ago i think ( holy mackerel) after reading a post on Mark’s blog. I wanted to find a place to read and converse with thoughtful conservatives or at least people who had different views then myself.Report

  25. Avatar James K says:

    I came here via the (now-defunct) One Best Way, the short-lived successor to the (equally defunct) Positive Liberty.

    Basically, I’ve been following James Hanley around the blogosphere since we first crossed paths on Dispatches from the Culture Wars.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to James K says:

      JamesK & JamesH, the commentariat @ “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” has withered significantly since its separation from the ScienceBlogs umbrella.

      What the backstory is, I do not know, but I reckon it’s interesting. You may pick up the trail here:


      Rock on. I’m confident that its management will appreciate yr support.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I’m still a regular lurker at Ed’s new blog, I read a lot more than I write since I can find writing difficult sometimes.

        My understanding is that when National Geographic took over control of ScienceBlogs they started to exert some editorial control that Ed, and many other Bloggers objected to. There had been an exodus from ScienceBlogs for some time, but Ed and PZ have been building up a new blog network called Free Thought Blogs.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James K says:

          Yeah, I still pop in there occasionally, too. But I hate the formatting of their site, I hate the pop-up window I get (the only site where I get a pop-up anymore), I hate having to log-in to comment, and I miss all the old commenters. Ed’s still the same, but to me it’s all a shell of what it used to be.Report

  26. Avatar Tim Kowal says:

    I started my blog Notes From Babel about the same time the League started. I don’t remember how I found the League, but I was probably trying to find stuff to riff on. I remember coming upon it early on.

    I never thought of it as a libertarian blog. Since I’m firmly right of center, it always struck me as left of center. Freddie was writing here in those days, so I don’t even know how google would return the site on a search for libertarianism until after he left and Jason and the PL gang migrated.

    My own blogging has profited tremendously from moving here. I’ve found it hard to blog as frequently as I used to since I feel an obligation not to waste the commenters’ time with half-baked ideas or fact-starved rants. Echo chambers are not for me anyway.Report

  27. Freddie looms large in this comment thread.Report

  28. Avatar Meaghan says:

    I first visited 2 days ago because Tod mentioned he had written something here that may be worth checking out. Of course it was.

    I have not decided whether or not I will be staying.Report

  29. Avatar Plinko says:

    I would come over periodically from The Daily Dish when Sully would link something, often because Freddie said something thought-provoking and I thought the blog name was rather clever.
    I was afraid to comment for a long, long time. There were (and still are) a lot of sharp folks that had already made comments that were way smarter than anything I could contribute. One day, Mark had a post that related to something I’d just read an interesting study on (the subject was . . . porn, sigh, my wife was very upset to see all these e-mails regarding porn in my inbox from the comment notify system), so I registered and started visiting daily.Report

  30. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I, too, got here via positive liberty, and originally got to that via D.A. Ridgely.Report

  31. Avatar KenB says:

    I heard this was a good place to pick up chicks. Damn Internet, you can’t believe anything it says.Report

  32. Avatar Jonathan says:

    I found this through The American Scene (back when people would update that blog regularly). Freddie, Mark, Scott and others (I think) would regularly leave comments, so eventually I started visiting regularly.

    At that time, I tended to see a lot of posts by Freddie, Jamelle and Scott, so I assumed this site leaned quite to the left.Report

  33. Avatar Kimmi says:

    somehow, you guys got on a news.google.com search for “game of thrones”. Every other blog is jealous.Report

  34. Avatar J.L. Wall says:

    I’ll be honest, I’m too rushed for time at the moment to write a anything substantive, but this is the only way I can figure out how to subscribe to the rest of the comments here. So I’m just wasting five seconds of your time right now.Report

  35. Avatar A Teacher says:

    I stumbled onto Burt Likto through some random internet search on a news story about 2 years ago. Put him on my RSS feeder on my phone. Then he was invited to the League’s front page and I’ve been reading since. I’d love to contribute on a grander scale but wow… no time. As it is I’m commenting while I watch a class finish an exam. In a panic.Report

  36. Avatar Ryan Bonneville says:

    Somewhat late to the party here. I’m not actually sure how I got here, but it was probably Andrew Sullivan. It’s interesting to see people’s perspectives on the bent or ideology of this place, because I originally had a pretty antagonistic relationship around here. It was just too conservative for me. I have no idea if that’s because it used to be more conservative or libertarian, so I can’t really answer that question. It’s just how I remember things.

    The oldest comment of mine that I can dig up is from this post back in June 2009: https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2009/06/16/ive-lost-many-books/

    I’m happy to say I’m still that much of an asshole to this very day.Report

  37. I think I read some comments that Erik had left on another blog somewhere in the blogiverse, I liked his perspective and tracked back here. Of course, that was four or five political ideology switches ago for Mr.Kain (we love ya man!) so that puts it somewhere in the early days of the League I suppose.

    I know I have stated this many times but the beauty of the League is that it’s a community. The comment sections are the best on the web, hands down and they ADD to the League (despite Elias’ claims to the contrary). The fact that the League also lets us guest post when we want to contribute a bit more is also super-awesome.Report

  38. Avatar JG New says:

    I wandered over here from Jonathan Bernstein’s plain blog a few weeks ago and decided that I might just stick around for a while.

    Despite my brief acquaintance, I don’t think that I’d characterize the League’s current incarnation as necessarily libertarian-leaning. I see quite a spectrum of opinion, some of it libertarian and quite a bit not. And I’m somewhat overawed by the quality of the commentariat as well as by the postings. And the overall tone is respectful, which makes it unusual, i not otherwrldly. Not that that’s stopped me from opening my big mouth from time to time.Report

  39. Avatar Chris says:

    Not really on topic, except to the extent that this is a libertarian blog (hehe), but I figure this will irk some of the posters and commenters alike:


    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      Discussions of what a “Right to Privacy” would entail in practice are always fun.

      “But what if someone else is a moralizing prig! Shouldn’t I have the right to prevent them from being a moralizing prig and act as if they were more enlightened and open-minded???”

      There are a lot of premises that need to be hammered out. There are a lot of words that you may be using that I use very differently and despite the fact that we’re using the same words we may mean very different things and we may agree when we shouldn’t (or disagree when we shouldn’t) based on the various vocabulary problems.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh I agree, though I think that’s the case with most things.

        I mostly figured the analogy itself would irk people, ’cause it’s awful and seems to represent a fundamental misunderstanding of how libertarians think.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

          Awful, indeed. Crooked Timber normally is much better than that.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Chris says:

          I guess I’m confused. It seems like a straightforward teasing-out of a disagreement between liberals and libertarians. Presumably the libertarian position is that you have the right to enforce such a contract… right? What am I missing?

          (NB: I guess I don’t assume that the liberal answer is totally obvious. Plenty would probably agree that the contract is enforceable. I consider it not a legitimate contract, personally.)Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

            I assume that the libertarian response would be: if you don’t like the terms of the contract, don’t sign it, and get your lodging somewhere else. This renders the analogy toothless. I ultimately agree with what Quiggin is getting at (I think, the post is bad enough that I’m not sure), but the analogy doesn’t get him there.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Chris says:

              I assume that the libertarian response would be: if you don’t like the terms of the contract, don’t sign it…

              Pretty much. The corollary is that in the long term, nonsigners form a market niche that attracts landlords who cater to it. Discriminators lose in the market, provided no one is there to force another outcome through violence.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                But discriminators can do just fine in the market especially if they cater to rich bigots. If the non signers are poor and/or powerless then they will attract few if any landlords or abusive ones. Your response sounds more like something that is great in theory but the world doesn’t always work out that way.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to greginak says:

                But discriminators can do just fine in the market especially if they cater to rich bigots.

                I won’t deny it. Sometimes they can do okay. But they face a situation akin to an artificial trade barrier, in which they deny themselves the business of the customers whom they discriminate against.

                That this mechanism works in the long term seems to be what annoys most about it.Report

          • I consider it not a legitimate contract, personally.
            In the U.S. it’s probably not enforceable unless you’re renting out a room in the house you live in.

            But why shouldn’t it be enforceable? It’s a private arrangement between two parties–if either party dislikes the agreement, they shouldn’t enter into it. Think of the problems we create when our rule becomes that you don’t have to live up to your end of the agreement in a contract.Report

            • Avatar Plinko in reply to James Hanley says:

              I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the state to set limits on what sort of contracts are enforceable and which are not. From there we have to move into making determinations of what are good policies of said limits.
              One area where our actual experiences as a nation lead us to know that such limits are good policy is housing arrangements. Allowing landlord/renter arrangements that hinge on intrinsic characteristics of the renter can and often will lead to widescale discrimination against groups of people in matters of housing. You get ‘no blacks/Jews/Muslims/kids/gays’ in a sizable portion of housing stock.
              It’s nice to say that the market ought to clear, but it seems it doesn’t. Instead you get ghettos and severely restricted markets for certain classes of individuals.

              The snarky retort of this is ‘if you don’t want to rent that property to people unless you can be engage in discrimination, then sell it and do something else.’Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to James Hanley says:

              Because it’s the exact same way property owners always use their leverage to enforce their preferences on everyone else. Might as well put up a “no niggers” sign. Clearly if the niggers don’t like that, they can just move back over where those people belong.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Chris says:

      Basically they’re saying that, within the status quo, ownership of the building voids ownership of self. While that does pose a problem, it’s because of the ability to have a 3rd party apply force to back it up, which is morally troubling because there is no way of doing so that doesn’t communicate in some way or form an endorsement of the principle they are backing.

      Just because I don’t think introducing the state in order to void these arrangements is worth what else it carries (government just ends up being fought over as a weapon in culture war, among the other drawbacks) doesn’t mean I don’t understand why people would want to. If government is going to exist, then of course I don’t want to subsidize discrimination through it.Report

  40. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I think someone made a post about the TSA back in the late-2010 timeframe, and either it was here or it linked here, and that’s how I found the place.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Speaking of the TSA, a data point: in the past few months, I’ve been on twelve flights, eleven departing from the US, and the only time I’ve been groped was the one out of Buenos Aires.Report

      • Don’t worry, they’re making up for it with groping me more regularly. I got the Freedom Feel-Up three straight flights, twice in major airports and once in a minor.Report

      • Avatar Plinko in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Was it back into the US? I’ve found that my worst security experiences are consistently on my foreign flights back home, I believe the TSA requires many foreign airports to perform extra-extra checks on their outbound flights to the U.S. and I think they relish in making life miserable for the passengers just to stick it to the TSA.Report

  41. Avatar Katherine says:

    During the 2008 election, I was crazily obsessed with US politics and found my way (probably from the Dish) to a blog called the Confabulum (I think), where Friedersdorf had some interesting posts, and got a link from there to Mark Thompson’s blog. I spent an hour or so reading through the archives of his posts, decided I liked them, and either at that time or soon after that he posted that he was shutting down his blog and starting this site. So I started to read it.

    I would say that it’s accurately described as libertarian, with the writers being generally anti-interventionist, socially liberal, and economically right-wing. But the main way it’s different from other politics blogs I’ve read is in being much heavier on theory and political philosophy (which often goes way over my head) rather than everyday politics.Report

  42. Avatar Shawn Gude says:

    A friend introduced me to The League this spring; I kept coming back because there were tons of smart libertarians (I often find libertarian critiques of liberals and leftists compelling and have adjusted my own leftist principles accordingly). I didn’t realize until much later that Freddie was a former contributor. I wish he’d return.Report

  43. Avatar Charles says:

    I got here via a post that E.D. Kain did on a Daniel McCarthy piece (I want to say *that* piece was about Philip Blond.) I was surprised and intrigued to find a self-identified liberal (in the philosophical sense,) engaging productively with McCarthy’s assessment of non-liberal strains in American political thought. What kept me checking in was mainly Kain and Jason Kuznicki (at least at first) since both were in the habit of directly and honestly assessing philosophical school with which they disagreed.

    Personally, I often use “libertarian” as a shorthand for my own views, but not so much because I’m devoted to deriving principles for social organization from claims about rights, but mainly out of convenience/familiarity. I think of myself as a conservative, localist, small-R republican, and in America this ends up allying me with libertarians (of the in-land, “get off my lawn and get your hands off my gold” variety, not the coastal, “legalizing heroin would boost GDP 0.45%” variety). Still, this is one of the few places on the web where libertarian and libertarian-ish views are taken seriously by people who are outside that tradition, and vice versa. And I think that’s great!Report

  44. Avatar wardsmith says:

    I believe this was my first comment here. Not even a particularly good one, but so many of mine aren’t.

    Somehow serendipitously I was searching for Hayek and saw the really cool video and stayed for the comments – maybe to some folks’ chagrin here. 😉

    Sharing my Google-fu, since the search engine at the top of this blog doesn’t actually work, if you copy and paste the following to Google:

    site:ordinary-gentlemen.com [yourname] <- substitute your name here

    Google will return only ordinary-gentlemen.com results and not the other places you may frequent with your same aliases.

    Now if Patrick wants to fix the search engine on this site, he could start hereReport

  45. Using wardsmith’s Google-fu this was the oldest comment I could find for myself:


    February 19,2009.Report

  46. Avatar J.L. Wall says:

    I was around — reading, but not, I don’t think, commenting — from near the start. I don’t think I’d ever heard of this E.D. Kain fellow yet, but I was followed Freddie, Mark, Will, and William Brafford already and I think that by the end of the first six months, they were all here.

    Of course, the reason for much of THAT was the time Mark, the two Will(iam)s and I spent guest-blogging at Upturned Earth in the fall of 2008. And that site, in John’s words, was “fake-libertarian” — which I think, might be apt for the League at times. So fairly quickly the bloggers with whose writing I was most frequently conversing were almost all in the same place.

    But if we’re talking about what the League most resembles — frankly, though its political orientation IS more libertarian, it’s the inter-/intra-blog and article conversations that flourished, briefly, at Culture11. (It’s Autumn; it’s time for me to get nostalgic, I suppose.)

    And I guess I didn’t post my first comment here until last fall… maybe late summerish; around the time I got back into blogging. And then, mirabile dictu, the country club decided to let Jews on its golf courses.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to J.L. Wall says:

      This thread remind me of how much I miss Culture11.Report

    • Any history of the League probably begins with said guest blogging stint combined with the networking effects of Culture11, believe it or not. Save for the two co-bloggers that I brought with me, every one of the original LoOG roster had written a feature article for Culture11.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Culture11 represented a cultural niche that’s gone now, the moment of the dissident conservatives. I’m pretty sure that’s how I got here though I don’t remember exactly which site, it might have been Larison, C11, The American Scene, or something else.

        If I’m going to give myself any credit for foresight, I can say I never was a dissident conservative. It was an interesting time, right about the same time as the rise of the Tea Parties, unfortunately I suspect the memory of it is going to fade away. It struck me as odd at the time that the dissident conservatives had a distant relationship with the Tea Parties, even from the start, and that doesn’t speak well for the dissident conservatives imo.Report

  47. Avatar MFarmer says:

    If I might be serious for a minute, I had become cynical from my experiences with old AOL message boards when all this online stuff started, then the group forums and poetry/writing sites. I found several groups I really liked at times, but they would always disintegrate due to conflicting personalities, egos and politics. I started my own blog when blogs were first created, and a small group of friends followed, but we all drifted away in different directions. I was involved in flame war at one site where many of my old online acquaintances congregated — the flame war got vicious and very ugly, so for a few years I just did my own thing. I found this site and periodically commented for a while, then became frustrated with a few commenters who were here at the time — they reminded me of the worst of the old forums. But, overall, although I’m older than most of you, I think what ED and the others have created here is special. I mostly gravitate toward what’s intelligent and interesting, not particularly toward those who agree with me, and this is an intelligent and interesting site. Good job. The contributors are diverse, smart and open-minded, and the commenters are the heart of it all.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to MFarmer says:

      The Internet is a very human technology, it’s characteristics are the characteristics of humans, with all that implies good and bad.

      I like to think The League is representative of the good.Report

  48. Avatar Visolela says:

    Actually – I’m just discovering the delights of ordinary gentlemen – not to be confused with elderly – and I would like to know more about your Fork in the Road? Where was this picture taken? Which path did you chose through the cemetary or the trees?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Visolela says:

      I’m going to second Visolela here, I was eyeing the picture with not insignificant curiosity. Is this just random stock photography or does it have meaning?

      That graveyard looks like a lot of above ground tombs. Is this in New Orleans?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

        Damn it, now I want to come up with something deep and meaningful about the personal journey I was on when I took this picture. But it’s a stock photo. So I can’t even tell you where it’s from, North. (We could send in into Sullivan’s View From Your Window and see if his readers tell us!)

        Though for what it’s worth, Visolela, I imagine I would have taken the upwards path through the cemetery. It looks like a more interesting path. (Besides, the great thing about choosing paths is you can always double back and make new adventures.)Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

        It’s definitely somewhere that floods, with all those above ground graves. It doesn’t look like the St Louis Cemetery, though.Report

  49. Avatar Jeff says:

    I don’t think of myself as a “regular” (not enough time to read and respond as I’d like [ignores the cheers]).

    I got here from Balloon Juice — I saw the name in the blog-roll and visited and disagreed with almost every post. When Mssr Kain blogged at BJ, I followed him back to comment.

    I still disagree with many of the front-pagers (although not as much — I think different “voices” are posting and with several regulars but by-and-large enjoy the comraderie (which is similar to my other favorite blog, Slacktivist).Report

  50. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    It just hit me…  I should take inspiration from Pat an figure out what all of this says accumulativelyReport

  51. Avatar Silver Wolf says:

    I’m Canadian and a hardcore leftie.

    I read Yankee political blogs because your politics is much more interesting (ie whacky).

    I got here from a link on some blog somewhere else. I try to read multiple blogs to get more than a single perspective on an issue and I find the right on this site much more thoughtful, and as such, less infuriating than some of the other sites that expel the usual GOP sound bites.Report

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