June 08, 2005

The Atlases Shrug

Looks like Atrios and Kos are bristling at the expectations placed on them as central stars of the left-blogosphere.

Kos:

    This is a site about electoral issues, the netroots, and Iraq. Period. If you have an issue you want to tackle, whether it's environmental, Darfur, women's rights, tax reform, education, or whatever, you can 1) write a diary about it, or 2) start your own blog on the topic.

    I am not the end-all, be-all of liberal blogging. I cannot be everything to everyone.
I find it expecially interesting that both of them complain about leftists and their pet issues. I believe Hayek noted the same thing - namely, that the left is a collection of groups that want state funding and coercion for their particular issues and that they're often not compatible or are even mutually exclusive. For example, some of them (when he was writing in the 1940s) want industrialization and some want naturalism. So while they all get behind the general theme of state intervention, they have some trouble striking a balance on just which items get top priority.

I prefer to think of it as a shopping list - everybody in the Democrats has their long list of demands on a relatively narrow subject, and then the compromise is that they proceed to secondarily support most of the other Democrats' pet issues. In this way the environmentalists, the abortionists, the unionists and the rest can have radically different emphases and priorities but come together as something resembling a group.

Maybe if the Democrats dealt with philosophical principles or moral precepts instead of interest-group bribery and identity-politics they wouldn't have so many factions with their own narrow pet issues. The Republicans generally have four or five factions, who each emphasis relatively broad philosophical views, rather than dozens of pet issue-factions waiting in the soup line, both hands outstretched.

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