This is a personal and highly opinionated take on OoL and recent events. It does not reflect the joint opinion of the admins.
The logic behind and the raison d’être of this blog
This blog was set up to debunk humbug in whatever form it occurs but very early, it addressed itself to all matters freedom related and so all writers have pretty well had that as the template, leaving other matters to their own blogs. I think no writer went outside that template but obviously a certain topic got certain other types, whom I referred to as obsessed, a bit hot under the collar and wanting to restrict which kinds of a assaults on freedom could be written about and which could not.
Essentially, the choice of topics at OoL has been governed by the principle – if it’s topical and iniquitous, then it gets debunked. If it may not seem topical but a causal link is established, then it is topical. Establishing that causal link can be hotly contested in itself.
Ofttimes it will be une bête noire which mainstream consciousness has not yet latched onto but which is nevertheless doing its damage behind the scenes, e.g. Chatham House and Common Purpose [post by Ken at OoL later today].
So should the CP-word or the CH-word not be mentioned at all, on the grounds that certain people don’t like discussing the topic? Or should the blog be kept wide open and as long as writers and commenters can stick to the thread and present arguments, as well as adhering to our “one blog rule”, then anything else is OK?
Similarly, the peerless Julia M continues her one woman campaign against PCishness. Should she desist because people are sick of reading about PC atrocities on the minutiae of everyday life? Or should she continue because that is her bête noire?
And the very nature of ad hominem has been discussed. Different people have taken umbrage at imagined ad hominems which might just have been commentary on things they wrote, rather than them as people and we’ll probably never agree on it. For example, to say someone’s talking shite is not actually ad hominem, as long as that person can show evidence how shite is being talked.
Which is not to say there’s not a certain perverse logic in desisting from tackling topics. That perverse logic states that:
1. Yes something is wrong;
2. You will have little effect because though the bête noire continues on rampantly, readers themselves are tiring of your message;
3. Therefore you should stop attacking wrong.
There is another interesting logic which says:
1. It’s much better to be nice to people and use soft words because they’ll respond to you better;
2. Unreasonable people have no interest whatever in niceness and softness except as a smokescreen for what they’re up to, i.e. they use feelgood words to describe their iniquities;
3. Therefore it’s best not to mention anything wrong these people do because to do so might be not nice and not couched in soft language.
The shelf life of a blog
As the incorrigible Bucko has shown, [previous] blogs often have a shelf-life. OoL was always a project and projects only work if people support them. It also takes admin time to keep the thing running. Both Julia and I are under great RL pressure at this time and it’s hard enough keeping our own blogs running.
Everyone knows that another admin was not able to continue and I’d say some of that might include him being under considerable time pressure and having other RL directions as well.
So – what should OoL do? Fold? Julia was not of the opinion that it should, as she saw it as still serving a good function as one of the few multi-author blogs remaining where comment truly is free but I was of the opinion that unless we had some of our writers start to write again, it might be pushing the brown stuff uphill.
I think she was right and I was wrong on this. As the posts which do go up have shown, there are still a lot of readers out there and the stats, which certainly dipped after the withdrawal of one group of readers, show that many others are still reading. And as Julia says, she worries not a jot about stats but about getting the message out.
She’s right on that too. I don’t give a damn at my own place whom I offend and I quite nourish obscurity. As long as the thing is being said and presented, then the prime directive is being fulfilled. Blogs I admire where the blogger is only interested in saying his piece and to hell with it include such people as Prodicus or Britain Today. If they were to give it away, it would be terrible for the sphere at this time when we need a large aggregate set of voices.
And you’ll have noticed various guestposts going up. It will be interesting to see how that is received.
So for now, steady as she goes for OoL and let’s see what happens. Personally, better to have too many blogs on freedom than too few.