Apparently the NYT Magazine has come to the none to surprising conclusion that conservative blogs are more effective than their liberal counterparts, and will say so in a published article this weekend.
I don't mean to be harsh on our friends at the Times, I'm a subscriber, and despite their obvious and at times, overwhelming, liberal bias they remain the best source of news in the U.S. This is because of their scope of coverage, and the fact that most other papers cover a only a subset of stories that the Times deems important, usually following the Times' theme. Really though, it is hard to believe that the NYT is just now realizing this fact.
The interesting question for liberals to ask themselves is "why is this so?"
The broad answer, in my view, is simple; conservative blogs, reflective of the state of conservatism, are just more interesting. This is not to say there aren't interesting liberals out there, surely there are, but modern liberalism is not a movement that welcomes diversity of thought. For all the bluster we hear from our liberal friends about diversity and celebrating our differences, at a practical level there is little or no commitment to anything other than a very shallow interpretation of these views.
Think about it. When was the last time a pro-life speaker was allowed prime-time podium time at the Democratic convention? We know that just as pro-choice Republicans exist, there are pro-life Democrats, but to publicly espouse these views is to risk alienation from the powers that control liberal money.
Similarly, it is nearly impossible to find an African American in liberal circles that has any different view on race relations or affirmative action than the orthodox liberal views that were developed in the 1960's. This, more than anything, is the reason why black thinkers with differing views have been forced to join the conservative movement in order to get their views heard. Think I'm wrong? Give Clarence Thomas a call, or perhaps Bill Cosby and ask how their alternative views have been received in liberal circles.
All of this has resulted in a stagnation of liberal philosophy that reflects a worldview of a time that has passed. Enforced groupthink such as we've seen in liberalism never results in progress and often ends with the dissolution of the organizations that were created to promote the underlying views; ie., in this case the Democratic Party. History is replete with examples of groups that have died because they failed to evolve. In fact, Darwin said it best when he said that "victory does not go to the strongest, but to those that can best adapt to change".
Truly the most bizarre aspect to this decline of liberalism has been that it was the direct result of being correct. I, and many of my fellow conservatives, can speak to this point better than most since we started our political lives as liberals. I won't rehash the history, but all of us in our way supported the push for equality, freedom and yes, the pursuit of happiness for all. The really cool thing is that we won! Oh, of course things aren't perfect and perhaps they never will be, but if anything is certain it is this; different times and different situations demand a change in process, thought and approach.
Liberals have failed to take this lesson in any significant way, and therefore have yielded ground and momentum to the conservative movement....."The Movement" as many of us called it when we first joined. And that is the point isn't it? "The Movement" implies that we have some. It ain't pretty, it's often raucous and we beat each other bloody when we don't agree. Just ask Harriet Miers.
The point is that conservatives don't have any single view which has been and continues to be to our benefit. I can name at least three major groups of conservatives; Paleocons, Neocons and Libertarians. Each group is divided by their underlying philosophical views. Paleocons "stand athwart history yelling stop". Neo-Cons, of which I am one, are "liberals who were mugged by reality". Libertarians want pot and prostitution legalized.
Ok, I'm just teasing my Libertarian friends there.
The point is each of these groups have underlying views that we hold dear and fight for within the conservative movement. Liberals on the other hand, rather than dividing themselves by philosophy, divide themselves by interest group. Women, minorities, Hollywood stars are just a few. These groups, because they want to battle for big government goodies, play a much different game than conservatives. Liberal groups make deals with each other to split spoils, and enforce groupthink so that each group's credibility and reason for existence is never really questioned. I'm not saying that conservatives are not guilty of some of the same things, but I am saying that unlike liberals it is not our entire reason for being.
So conservatives are more interesting. Because we're driven more by ideas we also are more entrepreneurial and tend to find new technologies such as the web, or ways of exploiting old technologies, such as radio, better than liberals. This is a shame because many of my liberal friends, and some of my liberal readers, are quite interesting and thought provoking people. I'm challenged by their ideas, I'm forced to question my own views and I enjoy the give and take that I have with these folks.
Alternatively, when I read the New York Times, or visit Kos I just roll my eyes.