WHY POLITICALLY MONOCHROMATIC BLOGGING IS BAD FOR YOUR BRAIN
Surfing the blogosphere I've noted that a lot of bloggers have a tendency to primarily link, blogroll and read only those other bloggers or pundits with whom they already agree. If they are on the Right they end up ingesting information on a daily basis that ranges from moderately Right to Far Right to...well... Reich. Lefty bloggers usually do the same thing and end up reviewing all the opinion that fits neatly between Matthew Yglesias and some obscure America-hating, ANSWER rally attending, Chomsky-Zinn-Said quoting blockhead.
I really don't think that's wise. Seeking out like political opinions is natural enough - we get the whole concept of the political spectrum from French Revolutionaries sorting themselves out into Jacobins and Girondins in the National Assembly
- but reading only to confirm one's prejudices only enlarges the lacunae we all carry around and filter life's events through. My own bias is toward libertarianism in economic and personal matters and a mix of realism and neoconservatism in foreign policy.
My blogroll reflects that to an extent but I try to find smart progressives, anti-war libertarians and other contrarians who will pose arguments and criticisms about " my side " that will keep me sharp and prevent a sense of complacency ( or worse, moral self-righteousness) from setting in. I try to scan The Nation
and lefty E-zines and read even those people - Bob Scheer
comes to mind - who as a rule set my teeth on edge. Anatol Lieven
is another good example. I find Dr. Lieven to be - in his arguments - extremely irritating, smug and condescending. Lieven is worth the time to read though because he is also very smart and always does his homework. I can usually walk away from one of his articles knowing at least one or two pieces of information I did not know before - sometimes a good deal more than that. While I avoid the invective-spewing Bush-hating troll type bloggers, I find I learn a great deal more wrestling with the arguments of people with whom I disagree than I would from finding a right-wing echo chamber in which to spend my websurfing time.
Sometimes reading something that makes you feel good is a sign to re-read it with a critical eye.