Thursday, November 28, 2002

The Bob Jones Review-There's been plenty of bloggage over the Rittenhouse Review's secondary boycott of Little Green Footballs by refusing to link to sites that link to LGF. While the RR people are well within their rights to do so, such actions tend to ghettoize the Blogosphere and cut off dialog between the liberal section that RR wants to champion and the more conservative/libertarian section that appreciates LGF; by instituting this boycott, he cuts himself off from the mainstream of conservative blog thought, for most of the big-name blogs on the right have an occasional LGF link. I don't have a link to LGF, but not because I don't like what he's up to; I have him bookmarked, but have yet to be sufficiently moved stuff of his to blog on something he's written. The comment section is legendary for having more than its share of nasty flamage, but that's often the cost of running a popular blog. The secondary blockages will prevent RR from linking to a large swath of conservative and libertarian web sites who either permalink LGF or will cite a piece of his from time to time. This will allow him to ignore some solid critiques of liberal orthodox thought. In the absence of such commentary, he might be leaving out parts of the debate that his liberal-leaning clientele would be well-served in hearing. Without having to deal with the critiques of the right, he can have a freer hand in laying out the witty-but-bile-filled conservative-bashing that seems to be RR's hallmark. He's got talent, but seems to be more interest in name-calling than serious debate. If he can add some more detail to that flamage, he might actually get some following on the right. The secondary boycott reminds me a lot of the insular nature of some of the capital-F Fundamentalists groups who go whole-hog on separation from unbelievers. Second-order separation required true believers to not associate with believers with the proper theology who dealt with people with improper theology. Thus, outfits like Bob Jones University wouldn't deal with Billy Graham, who while having a solid evangelical theology, worked with mainline churches and even (gasp!) Catholics in his crusades. Such a separation made such groups more and more isolated from the rest of society and lessened their impact of society. If RR and his friends want to have a liberal enclave safe from conservative thought and filled with only liberal bile, they are well within their rights to do so. However, by setting up such an enclave, they limit their effectiveness in changing the opinion of swing voters. Unlike Steven Den Beste's piece on the topic, where he delivers the middle-digit salute to RR by hyperlinking each and every reference to LGF, I'll allow myself to be (at least for now) a LGF-link-free zone, so as to allow some conservative thought to get behind the Rittenhouse Curtain. I'd like to be able to have civilized debate with the left if they are willing to debate rather than name-call.

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