commenter-thread | Developing...

Thanks, by the way, @guy - it's always encouraging when someone actually gets a main point, and not only says so, but proves it by applying it.

As usual, we differ. Others can assess the matter as they will, but I think you always do a great job of being just what you are, Sam, and I intended my thanks to you for your contribution honestly.

Thanks, @sam-wilkinson. Actually, I have a few things to thank you for.

First, though some would be ashamed, especially if they follow your way of thinking, I will look back with pride on yesterday as the day on which a leftwing ideologue declared me "a conservative, obviously" even while a politically well-credentialed rightwinger was elsewhere inviting me to post at his site as resident left-progressive.

You both have your reasons for your assumptions, but I think they're mostly bad reasons resulting in obviously bad assumptions. I think some of the explanation has to do with the color of all cats at midnight, and some of it has to do with the tendency against which I warn, but which you adopt as matter of policy, of dealing with people according to labels and assumptions, rather than with what they actually say.

Someone less committed to incuriosity regarding those who, unforgivably, fail to agree with him, might actually care about what I think, rather than just go ahead and assume it's "obvious." Typically, I said nothing about "writer recruitment." I laid out alternatives for the site, based upon an analysis of the site, and an argument based on that analysis, but you assumed I must be in favor of "including conservatives" or "recruiting conservatives," since the kind of person you label "conservative" would see recruitment on that level as reasonable and desirable.

My argument, or observation, is that you cannot have an ideologically disciplined site and have it be an open site at the same time. To the extent the site adopts your attitude, closed-minded about alternatives to closed-mindedness, even if it does so somewhat passively and unconsciously, it becomes a closed-minded site.

The sole exception to that rule would be a site dedicated to openness or free inquiry. That commitment happens to be one that you campaign against, and, apparently, are happy to call "conservative" - in the process paying real existing American political conservatives a compliment that I think few may really deserve.

In theory, to pursue the commitment to openness - which is not the same as a commitment to chaos but must face the risk - the site could and might even have to tolerate people hypocritically throwing around the term "bigot" for those who fail to recite their party line, however they lay it down, but at the point that, through sheer force of numbers or volume, one side successfully shouts down the other, gets the other side's leading voices banned or demoralized, packs the front page with denunciations, subtly but effectively (and not necessarily consciously) lets one side get away with bullying the other side, and so on, the losers will naturally move on to places where they might be treated better, and a conversation of interest to them may actually turn out to be available. At the point the victorious tendency will determine the consistent, if not necessarily perfectly consistent, top-down and bottom-up character of a site - and wonder where everyone went.

So, to be clear, I'm not in favor of simply importing new ideologues of one type in order to right the scales currently tipped in favor of ideologues of the other type, and repeating what the site has already been through once or a couple of times. The immediate result would be a less ideologically unified site, but with more ideologues being ideological, so might address the problem of ideology only by worsening it. The effect in other words might be of a more incoherent and also more ideological site - chaos and shouting matches - unless an underlying counter-ideological commitment, or the commitment to free inquiry and mutual respect, was strengthened.

I'm not in favor of of a simply more balanced discussion. I'm in favor of an actually interesting discussion, a discussion more than the sum of its ideological parts.

Finally, though I don't agree entirely with your assessment of the discussion regarding Dan Scotto's PP post, I think you point to a flaw in my rendering of it. I wrote:

Dan Scotto analyzes Republican politics in detail, but the only time that he has (tentatively) discussed his own conservative or conservative-leaning views on a controversial subject, he was subjected to intense criticism and effectively forced to apologize and retract. (Oddly, that MacLeod person was one of the people asking him to re-consider his argument.)

I think that my description is factually true, and does provide authentic evidence for my thesis on the actual character of OT. Dan did make an error or set of errors, as Dan admitted, and he did get hit on the way to recognizing them, but, as only weakly implied by my parenthetical reference to myself, he was not hit for his conservative views, and he certainly was not forced to or asked to apologize for or retract them. Though the comment thread discussion was not the kind of discussion one might find at a conservative-tilted site, for a discussion at a progressive-tilting site it was a pretty good discussion, with excesses from the anti-Scotto caucus called out as such from within the ranks.

I think I gave the impression that I thought the discussion was evidence of the site at its worst (as it would have been if it had consisted of denouncing Scotto simply for being conservative) when I think it was actually evidence of the site at its best or near to it, or working as we might hope it would for anyone. In any event, I'll be amending my post to reflect this difference.

@sam Amn't seeking a a re-run of old arguments for old times' sake. If you have something to say relevant to this discussion, then why not share it?


I have partly apprised myself of the LoOG state-of-play post-Election Day 2012. In the interest of honest site self-audit, I think it should be noted that the treatment of TVD culminating in his removal from the masthead may have contributed directly or indirectly to the failure of whichever Rs or cons to return, or the difficulty in replacing them. It's not only elections that have consequences.

A thread or site without a strong "battle ready" conservative voice is simply going to be less attractive to most conservatives than a thread or site with at least one, even for those conservatives largely ignorant of the earlier history. In addition, the LoOG's conduct was noted and discussed by at least one influential conservative at the time, as discussed in his comment section with a former League author (and TVD himself), and the facts or some version of them can be presumed to have filtered out in one way or another to all or almost all past conservative contributors. The effect would have been to put those who considered themselves friends or allies of TVD in the position of having to choose. Wondering if they might find themselves subjected to similar treatment might have made the decision easy - unless they had some reason to value continued LoOG participation very highly.

In short, It may have felt at the time like a personal or aesthetic or community-standards decision rather than a political decision for the LoOG powers-that-were, but I think it may have ended up being the latter, significantly so, whether intended to be or not.

If it WAS your mistake, the ideal presentation would alert you to the fact that your pressed the update button but dint update nothing. It doesn't do that, and it should - can code that or suggest to the developers that they do.

Tho I'm devastated that you don't want to subscribe anymore to this beautiful thread.


THAT would be a major transformation of the site.

The eds - including me - prefer a magazine approach for now, or a magazine-with-forum-features approach, over a forum approach. However, I think in the future, entering a "League Network" via an advanced State of the Discussions presentation - a mega-page with a variety or "polyvocality" of approaches brought together by a combination of algorithmic process and direct decisions - would be one option. So, sometime by around 2030 or so (jk, we could start yesterday if that was the decision AND if people were willing to support it), fans of the OT magazine might hardly even be aware of the Network entry, just as fans of particular writers, or visitors linked to particular posts, might never or hardly ever visit the OT "main page" or "home page" (or any other section of OT or any other site on the Network), and just as those who preferred the Network avenue might skip, or never visit, OT or any of its posts. Another site or node might be a Reddit-like forum or even a network of its own. Another might be dedicated to live social media interaction. A bunch of others might be autonomous blogs linked loosely as on and a few other platforms.

And so on.

Wait, no, take it back. Other CK got a confirmo-link email: The expected behavior. So am reverting to theory B: Maybe Mike and RTod did not properly "manage" their subscriptions when they THOUGHT they were deleting. Could be confused about which email addresses, could be failed to check a box. Theory C would be peculiar not yet reproduced bug.

Got no confirmo-link. If Other CK gets this comment, then my first low-confidence guess may be looking good after all.

OK now here's me, or the other me, leaving a comment, after the other me, or other other me, has deleted his or its subscription.

OK - excuse me while I... re-produce.


I have to ask: Why should I do all of the work around here, and, even more, why should whoever does it exclude you? I view you as one of the site's strongest illiberal, or anti-liberal left, voices at least in the comment threads. Removing you from that part of the examination would defeat its purpose.

As for the topics you name, and for "further leftism" in general, my hypothesis is that where they and it tend toward illiberal leftism, they will meet with greater resistance, although I did give several examples of statements that in my view cross the line and by a wide margin, if not for the most part while touching directly on your specific examples. On that note, in response to Mike Schilling elsewhere on this thread, I said I'd have no problem with adding a socialist - or several! - to the site masthead, as a matter of ideology. If, however, they were "movement socialists" of a certain type, who expressed their determination to change the world by rebelling against codes of conduct that they believed stood in the way of progress and justice (as they understand progress and justice), then I couldn't support including them, or, from my perspective, they would already have excluded themselves from a project committed to free inquiry, or in that sense of the term a "liberal" project.

Shortish or at least non-technical answer on integration with State of the Discussion: Producing a "State of the Discussions" or "State of the Network Discussion" is possible, and some modified version of it might even be desirable (ideally, I think, some sub-blog discussions could be brought in by some combination of automatic and directed processes, but probably not all sub-blog discussions), but it would require either a lot of custom coding or a combination of $$$ premium applications plus some custom coding. Before doing too much investment of time and potentially money, I think we need more clarity about the desired and possible evolution of the project, and more getting-act-together on the site as is.

On the comment subscriptions, I am using a different application here than is being used on the main site. It is set up to auto-subscribe you when you leave a comment, but to wait for confirmation. There could be a bug in the program or a mistake in the way I've installed it: I dropped an earlier version of the application from the main site because it was way too buggy, but this newer version seemed promising, and includes several features that the main site's subscribe-to-comments doesn't have, including the ability to subscribe without commenting, the ability to customize messages, and the ability to subscribe only to replies to your own comment rather than to the entire thread.

So, please let me know EXACTLY what you've been doing (either here or by separate email), and I'll see whether I can make adequate adjustments - for instance by turning off default-subscribe if that's the problem: Conceivably you're unsubscribing manually, then re-subscribing every time you leave a new comment (without choosing "don't subscribe me"). It may be that the developer's idea was that people who unsubscribed would be people who were through with the discussion, so wouldn't get default-re-subscribed, but that after the first confirmation the system stops asking for confirmation. If so, that may have been a faulty presumption. But that's just a guess, and may not even be a very good one.

Michael Cain: I’ve had at least one comment today that showed up on the page returned after I hit “Post Comment” but then disappeared. I

You sure it's not there? It's also possible that you found your way into the same crack in the universe that Mike Dwyer earlier found. His comment temporarily posted to the mostly not accessible pseudo-version of the post that can be found in OT's deep archive, but which users are not mainly taken to. The whys and what's the reason fors of that behavior are something I haven't tracked down yet, but I suspect it's buried deep in the process that allows a post originating on a sub-blog, like this one, to be "broadcast" to the main page - one of several available ways to manage relations between a semi-independent/autonomous blog and its mothership.

Longer background for those interested in understanding the sub-blog/main blog relationship:

I could have gone the other route, posting it first on from within the mothership, then broadcasting it to the subsite or satellite site. In that case, it would have naturally entered into the regular OT circulatory system, comments and all. I would have done that if I had had more confidence that this post would be of interest to, and taken reasonably well by, the larger community. When I shared earlier versions of it with the editors, however, I did not note any enthusiasm for it or for having it published at OT. My relations with the OT commentariat have also been notably poor of late, and comments I made about commenters as well as about certain of them who also have posting privileges - whether or not you consider my comments "in bounds" - could be construed as coming from "site leadership," so may have been taken as endorsed criticism, when these opinions are strictly my own. I also considered publishing it at my personal blog instead, but it seemed to me that that would be unnecessarily remote, and that the post really does focus on "developing" OT, so has a right to be here, or in this here, if not the other here.

It had not been my intention to broadcast it to the regular post "loop" - to the OT mothership and its normal set of posts. I was content to let the trackbacks and twitter link alert the "really interested" to its existence, and to have the post around as a reference for later use. Obviously, I was of at least two minds on the question, since at some point I had checked the "broadcast" checkbox on the draft. When I realized that I hadn't unchecked it, I decided to leave it be rather than de-publish the post from OT.

As for now: It COULD be migrated, either along with the comments or a link to the thread hosted on this sub-blog, but that would be a one-time "custom" operation, not an automatic one.

As for the comment by James K, somehow it got trashed - I assume accidentally, unless some Super-Admin with a thing against James K went in and trashed it but neglected to delete it permanently. Anyway, it's been restored. Let's see if it runs away and hides again.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, @gabriel-conroy

Allocating burdens of proof always comes with some arbitrariness and is always at least a little bit unfair for some people some of the time. I’m not sure of the solution. I’m not even sure it needs to solved.

Whether or not it "needs" to be solved, and the extent to which it can be solved, depend upon what kind of site we want to have.

There are some simple things that a site or community that seeks insight or illumination on difficult questions, that is unafraid of opposing views or even of having its minds changed from time to time, and that places a high value or the highest value on dialogue, can do or try to do, and that will be most effective if pursued both from the top down and from the bottom up.

Treat people with respect, and insist that others do so.

Allow for the possibility - not just in your imagination but in all of your conduct and expression - that what seems clearly true to you, in a way that stirs your emotions, may not be or is unlikely to be or simply cannot be the whole and perfect truth.

Address what people actually say, in their own fairly contextualized words as much as possible, not what "people like them" say, or what it serves some personal, political, or other extraneous purpose of yours to have others believe they said.

Seek to defeat the strong points in the opponents' argument, or the opponent's argument in its strongest form, and, in the interest of a good discussion, be ready to repair the weak points instead of seizing on them for a transitory, but finally meaningless advantage.

Withhold statement of your own principal views until you are sure you understand what the other person meant to say, and that such a statement is directly relevant to it.

When opposing perspectives are being capably argued by others, instead of "piling on" for the one you favor, restrict your involvement to points of definition or clarification or to significant arguments that whichever side, after a fair chance to be heard, has failed to take into account.

Treat impoliteness and unfairness from anyone in the discussion, but especially from those on your own side, as an affront against the higher purpose and interests of the site and of all sides. Condemn personal attacks from anyone, but reserve your strongest condemnations for the underhanded and undignified tactics practiced by your would-be allies.

Be thankful to the skillful, patient, and earnest intellectual opponent for putting your ideas to the kind of test without which your own understanding of them, and ability to present and defend them, cannot ever deepen.

Be ready to let your opponent have the last word, out of confidence that as far as we know there really is no such thing.

To whatever extent a site is a partisan-ideological site, and that its participants view themselves as seeking contingent political advantages and victories, all of the above will be more difficult to practice or practice consistently.

I referred specifically to a communally adopted precept, as enforced on a particular topic, which, up until a few comments ago, you and others were acknowledging really was the unified "view of the site." So you respond first by acknowledging that the question is of an opinion shared - and charge laid - by you "along with everyone else," and then immediately turn to a claim that everyone disagrees with you always and all of the time. I think the truth of the matter is clear. I'm tiring of trying to focus you on the question of mode of discussion and the operation of presumptions. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow or next year.

Not sure, of course, how to answer this question - and I'm tempted to fix your typo (if you want me to, just give the word!).

I refer you again to the Matthew Yglesias piece previously linked, now linked again at OT OTC along with a companion piece purporting, on the basis of statistical modeling, to give the Rs an 85% chance of regaining the White House next year. So, excuse the repetition, does it make sense to you to call a party or movement that already controls both houses, the SC, a large majority of state legislatures, and is poised to make an at least competitive run at the presidency tactically, strategically, or ideologically "unhealthy"? If the first priority of a conservative movement is to make "progressive" legislation difficult or impossible, then possessing an ability to block the same, for as far as the political programmatic eye can see, rendering most of the Sanders-Clinton policy debate merely fanciful except where it may happen to coincide with positions possibly attractive to conservatives, then is that movement in a poor state of political health?

If the conservative movement were in a state of extremely robust political health, then it might have the ability actually to pass major elements of its ideal program. I don't think it's doing that well. It runs into contradictions of its own when its diminution of government in favor of a particular socio-economic model impairs its ability to use government efficiently as an instrument. It doesn't really want a mobilized national polity, or shouldn't. If it really tried to deliver on its agenda, it might finally succeed where liberal progressives have continually failed, uniting the People on the other side of the party of anti-government. This would be a pitfall for it in major areas of domestic and foreign policy.

But this is all speculation. I don't mean to make very much of it. The original question was almost a straw man: Are there Republican or conservative ideas at all that it might be worth having explored sympathetically or at least cordially and non-prejudicially at OT. I think so. Do I think that it is likely to happen? Probably not now, but maybe a little more likely today than yesterday.

I'll try to put this as simply as I can, if in the expectation that the simpler I make the premise, the more likely it is to be misunderstood and converted into something else.

The opinion "those who oppose gay rights (as I define gay rights) are bigots" is not an opinion about about gay rights as much as it is an opinion about those who oppose gay rights (as I define gay rights), and about opinions, and about bigotry, and about about the proper meaning and use of the term "rights."

The assumption that those who oppose marriage equality legislation and jurisprudence oppose gay rights in general is prejudicial - in both senses of the term: It is prejudicial regarding the inquiry or supposed inquiry, and it is prejudicial regarding actual or potential participants in the inquiry.

The assumption that those who oppose gay rights either as supposedly realized in the particular contingent form of marriage equality legislation and jurisprudence, or in general, must do so based only an opinion or feeling about gays is likewise prejudicial.

The assumption that these questions are merely abstract and therefore irrelevant questions is likewise prejudicial.

To say more will require entering into a discussion of the underlying topic, which seems to me obviously beyond the scope of this discussion. Similar problems will arise with virtually any political topic. Perhaps most fundamentally, the assumption that an adverse position on any topic for discussion cannot be held except out of defect of character or mind is an anti-philosophical or politico-theological position. It designates as an enemy of the virtual state anyone who does not adopt a particular mode of expression, attributed a kind of talismanic or fetishistic, power: If you do not say and will not say the words in just this communally approved way, signifying your desire to belong on the terms being offered to you and no others, then go drink your hemlock.

Tod Kelly: Are you suggesting the main reason there are no movement conservatives on this site is because I, Tod Kelly, believe having different sets of laws for gays and another for straights is prejudiced by definition?

No. That you, the site's Editor-in-Chief and virtual paterfamilias, are apparently insensitive to how prejudicial such a re-formulation of the question is, and remain non-cognizant if not oblivious to the arguments actually made, both on the underlying issue by opponents of marriage equality legislation and jurisprudence, and by me on the mode of discussion of those arguments - I think probably has something to do with it. As with most such matters, the lack of interest of movement conservatives in this site is likely overdetermined. I did, after all, just get through a nearly 5,000-word exercise exploring multiple facets of the site's anti-conservative constitution.

I'd have no problem with that. I could even be one of them for you, in a pinch.

I have no idea why you think that is a contribution to this discussion Stillwater. If I hedged my statements with any larger number of acknowledgments of exceptions, or invitations to provide counterevidence, then someone would accusing me of refusing to state my position clearly.

The commentariat is a borg-like consciousness unthinkingly regurgitating “the sites” views. So we’re all liberaltarian because we’re all liberalterian.

No one has made any such ridiculous claim.

Terms like "liberalism" and "libertarianism" already refer to ideologies in competition, so in that sense the existence of alternatives, of which those commonly known include "conservatism" or conservatisms of different types, is obviously implied in premise P1. The question of conservatism or conservatives has further been explicitly raised by others.

With respect, Our Tod, you're speaking to the underlying issue, while folding several other assumptions into it, without addressing the question of the mode of discussion or address. In this instance, my "unpopular opinion" is not an opinion about any issue in particular at all, but about the articulation of opinions.

If the EIC of Foreign Policy said, "Everyone who supported the Iraq war is evil and incompetent, disqualified from contributions to discussion," and the Managing Editor, leading contributors, and guest contributors all chimed in in the same way, then Foreign Policy could not expect, and has said it does not want, contributions to discussion from anyone who supported the Iraq war, and should not expect them. If the EIC instead said, "I strongly believe that the Iraq war was a horrendous and arguably unforgivable atrocity," and everyone chimed in, then FP would still be an "anti-Iraq war" publication, and should not expect many such contributions, but it will even so have at least opened the space for reasonable discussion of alternative views. Put differently, someone who held an alternative view, could reasonably participate without having betrayed his or her comrades, without contributing to an enterprise unalterably committed to their exclusion, silencing, and destruction, and so on.

I'm not saying you cannot choose to have an ideologically absolutist site. I am saying you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

Tod Kelly: The one area that feels simple and uncomplicated to me about LoOG/OT is gay rights. It’s always leaned strongly in one single direction, and the vast preponderance of conservatives and libertarians here have been staunchly pro-gay and lesbian.

I collected a number of statements of or related to this "simple and uncomplicated" view, and I feel strongly that, regardless of how one feels about the underlying issue, they illustrate the site's turn toward a particular ideological stance and toward the underlying acceptance of taking one on behalf of the site. The prejudicial modes of discussion that go with with this double insistence inevitably filter out into discussions across the site.

I have no desire to repeat past discussions on this topic. I'll simply observe that I do not believe you can have numerous uncontradicted posts, offered from the EIC down, forcefully and unreservedly backed by the majority or vast majority of the commenters, identifying a major element of the conservative coalition as objectively or incontrovertibly "bigots," and expect to be treated as a site open to conservatives or conservative thought in general.

Even the difference between, "I believe they are bigots" and "they are all bigots" is critical. The former is a statement open to discussion. The latter is an attempted foreclosure of discussion in favor of what amounts to a taboo, again in two ways, since it both asserts as factual what otherwise would be a matter of opinion like all other matters of opinion, and since it necessarily presumes the tenability of any such declaration. In due course, the latter insistence is extended to a range of issues on which, or so it is argued, there can be only one acceptable view.

North: Considering, however, that their proposals were, at the outset, extremely modest; were then subsequently watered down even more and have since been basically discarded en toto they’re illustrative in a manner you might not prefer.

Other possibilities: I might not care - at all or very much - and, independently, your assumptions about the nature of political ideas and how they gain traction and exhibit influence, or what they even are, may be narrow.

Tod Kelly: Because some of what shows up to CK as “this site favoring liberals” shows up to me as a request for a kind of pro-conservative affirmative action.

This observation points to the "second contention" - that the adoption of a particular, identifiable ideological position by the site is not actually in keeping with the frequently affirmed intentions of the site's writers and commenters - and to the larger question of "if so, then what"? If we agree that, for whatever reasons - O'Sullivan's law in action, or the unrecognized preferences of site users from EIC down, or luck or random motion, or the unvanquishable and inarguable eternal superiority of left-liberalism in the eyes of all good and intelligent people (in effect by definition) - the site has been or has become liberaltarian drifting left-liberal (but mainly "cultural") then the question remains whether we like it that way, whether we are inclined to do something about it, and what means we are willing to consider if so.

If the site's first commitment is to dialogue and discussion, which may imply further ideological commitments, then measures could be considered and taken on that account, not as "affirmative action" for conservatives (of any breed) or anyone else, but out of in interest in "fair play" or what in the previous incarnation of the site we might simply have called being a "gentleman" about things - and part of that does, indeed, touch on "tone," and imply sacrifices or trade-offs, for instance of the value accorded by some to "self-expression" vs the value accorded by others to consequential exploration of ideas.

If the site's primary commitment is political-ideological in a different way - and specifically left-liberaltarian - then that does not necessarily imply closed-mindedness, or necessarily mean that conservatives or illiberal leftists or others would need to be excluded from positions of responsibility or posting privileges, but it would put a different cast on things, and might point to a different line of development.

Why would it make any difference whether the arguments or outlines were presented at "carefully guarded and curated conservative bastions..." if the arguments or outlines were the ones influencing the party currently in self-reinforcing control of the House, the Senate, a large majority of state legislatures, and so on? Or, another way of saying the same thing, if the arguments or outlines were in keeping with precepts underlying the views, and voting patterns, of very large numbers of Americans, weighted toward wealthier and more politically active ones?

As for what the GOP's positions are, you can read up on the ones they've run on, or they ones they've pursued, or you can explore more interesting, sophisticated, and forward-looking proposals developed by the likes of Reihan Salam, Yuval Levin, and James Manzi, for example, and embraced by so-called "reform conservatives." Afterward, you might still be committed to your side, but you might be less inclined to doubt the existence of an argument on the other one.

Marchmaine: Dang, picked a bad day to Travel.

...which's why we say, "travel little, journey far."


I'm guessing that you do not frequent NRO-Breitbart-Weekly Standard etc., or follow many conventionally conservative-identified tweeps (if you're on Twitter at all, are you?), since there is a somewhat vast political-intellectual universe devoted to just those topics, and where the argument is pitched to "liberals really aint got nuthin do they?"

I've outlined some of the typical conservative responses on your arguments in the comment threads, sometimes in discussion with you yourself, I believe. For example, the foreign policy discussion that kind of goes on, and kind of isn't really a discussion at all, consists of the left claiming that the current miseries of the ME are proof of the absolute discrediting of the "neo-conservative" viewpoint, and the right or neo-conservative right claiming that the current miseries of the ME are perfect verification of predictions made by neocons and fellow travelers all during the debates of the '00s about what would happen if the US withdrew. In other words, the identical set of largely non-disputed facts are construed by each side as proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other side has suffered complete humiliation in the court of history.

On economic and social issues a similar pattern can be found, further complicated by the problem examined by many political philosophers of incommensurable precepts that our prevailing social-political concept does not allow us ever to sort out. I happen to be reading Alasdair MacIntyre's treatment of the problem now, but similar arguments have been posed many times. MacIntyre refers (or referred, in 1981) to common arguments experienced as "interminable." MacIntyre has his own outline of a solution or partial solution, but that, again, is a matter beyond the scope of this post.

As for your main question, I think you are correct that you are deeply biased. Just today a few OGs were debating a piece by Matthew Yglesias arguing that Democrats are in deep denial about how poorly they are doing. I won't try to sort out his argument, but, if it's true, then the appearance of comments or posts by thoughtful people like yourself on the perfect absence of a tenable argument "on the other side" might be taken as symptomatic.

Mysteries accumulate, since now the Twilight Zone comment is appearing here, as the one to which I was responding - must have something to do with the particular application that "broadcasts" a sub-blog post to the main site, but continues hosting it or its main occurrence at the sub-blog. It somehow substituted your other comment as the one numbered in sequence... though I'm still not sure what happened, only that it probably shouldn't oughta have, yet points to interesting possibilities that might require a week of eye-strain for me to figure out. It's what I meant in the lead post on this sub-blog about it still being "in Beta." Probably best to leave the topic at that for now.


If I understood better why your other comment snuck through the code and managed to appear withing the main OT comment circulatory system, yet in a kind of nether-world, I would be much closer to bringing back the sub-blogs properly, without having to buy the multi-site packages available out there. Do you recall exactly how and where you posted it?

@saul-degraw It goes without saying that at the midnight of ideological extremism all other cats are gray, and black is the only truth. Those of us at different points on the clock may still pursue distinctions and consider whether they are meaningful, while in fact it was the further- or ultra-left in particular that made a specialty of carefully defining the different shades of gray, as if by moonlight.

So, of course, the site and almost any site to its left up to the line-correct and line-enunciating mother-site, authentic vanguard of the proletariat, will seem "right," or perhaps "center right deviationist," from an ultra-left perspective. Something similar will be true among "true conservatives" and on the "alt-right." I explicitly note that under some perspectives, this site might qualify as "conservative." Those perspectives are not perspectives commonly in use, so, in the interest of communication, for the same reason need to be "qualified."

In comments of my own (this post in some part follows the brief linked discussion) I have also taken the position that the site ideally, out of its commitment to dialogue or discussion, would always appear to the left of the right and the right of the left, as would any in theory "objective" overall result. However, the commitment to dialogue is a particular commitment whose nature would be the subject of the second contention - and of the question "whither OT?" - that I am arguing we cannot reasonably assess until we've cleared the ideological-rhetorical brush out of the way.

Roland Dodds: As for voting for Obama twice, that is true.

Hah! Gotcha! (Though it wasn't really meant as a gotcha.)

@glyph The date on that post is September 29, 2012, when the site was still The League. It became Ordinary Times in the Summer of 2013. One admittedly unfocused criticism of hate crimes laws 3 years ago under the site's prior manifestation I'll take as supporting my main argument as to the current state of the site - in short, "liberaltarian drifting left" - but certainly I'll set it aside and watch for more entries in the "at least somewhat left-liberal-contrary" column.