Friday, May 19, 2006

More Warren (This time it's actually relatively complimentary)

One of the reasons I was surprised by the weakness of Warren Kinsella's post on Afghanistan is that generally Warren can make a good argument, and he makes a good one here.
(This national post piece is linked from his own blog. I'd give you a permalink, but he, bizarrely, doesn't have them.)

He points out the growing importance of blogs and bloggers in Canadian politics as a source of news and commentary, and how blogs almost certainly played a role in the Conservatives' win in 2006. I'm sure I agree, and it's one of the reasons I became interested in the nascent Canadian political blogging scene in the first place. He quotes Paul Wells as saying that the Conservatives' increased "blog awareness" had a role in their success.

Perhaps. But as he says elsewhere in the piece, bloggers are primarily white males earning over $60,000 a year. This is almost by definition going to be a conservative crowd. Even when they're not, the Internet doesn't really reward moderation: because of the self-selection involved, a slow migration to polarized extremism is--as Cass Sunstein theorized ages ago--practically inevitable. As I'd said in an earlier piece, what distinguishes the Canadian "blogosphere" is how utterly dominated by conservatives it is- the communities of liberals and leftists that tend to spring up in the comments threads of popular liberal blogs are nowhere to be found, and carping Cons abound everywhere.

This is something Warren may want to take seriously, though. He has, apparently, abandoned the Liberal Party at the federal level. I can only assume he's fine with the idea of subjecting Canada to the tender mercies of a market fundamentalist zealot masquerading as a "hockey dad". I can also only assume he's doing it because he wants to help the Liberal Party of Ontario and let the rest of the country hang.

(It's a bizarre move that I can't recall people even considering in the United States, but anyway...)

What bloggers did in the last federal election, they can do in the next provincial one. Even if Warren is fine with Harper, he's surely not fine with John Tory, and Tory will be able to count on a torrent of online support from both inside and outside the province. It's easy to take shots at the Liberals when it's the party you've abandoned, but will it be so easy when Dalton McGuinty be the next to fall?

In any case, it's a good column, and Kinsella's work in the Post is refreshingly free of the WSJ-like conservative boosterism that infests the rest of that paper's opinion journalism.

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