The other day a good buddy of mine, a conservative, suggested in an email that my recent blog comments about the president and his policy towards Iran had seemed rather egregious. He's right. I did not make the attempt that the writer of an Atlantic Magazine article might make to been evenhanded, to consider the facts, to show respect to each side of the argument or respect the office of the president. And as much as I love The Atlantic for that very reason, I think that this blogging liberty is great because I don't have that burden.
A boat can be splendid. It may be beautifully designed, well crafted, based on sound principles - but it can still have a hole in it. In this case, the policy of saber-rattling towards Iran is simply unsound. We can't even conduct one war and occupation and Bush thinks that we can credibly threaten (or worse - actually attempt) to invade Iran? This is simple nonsense and the facts about Iran's threat, their movement towards nuclear weaponry, etc., are all tangential to this simple fact. I could talk about the great aspects of the boat, but it seems that the most important feature of the boat to those about to board is the hole. You don’t write an essay about a hole in a boat. You quickly point it out, shouting if you have to. I felt that way about the nonsensical noise suggesting that the Pentagon was making preparations to attack Iran.
And that is the beauty of blogs. Unlike the columnists in DC and New York, we are unlikely to censor our comments because we're afraid of an awkward moment at the country club or because we're afraid that we'll offend someone we need to interview for a future story. We have no vested interest. This allows a certain freedom to comment, unhindered by a plethora of facts and analysis, sure, but also unhindered by the need to take time making points that are ultimately irrelevant. Bloggers are free to get to the heart of an issue as we see it. We know that Howard Dean, George Bush, and Tony Blair were never going to talk to us anyway, so we’ve no fear of offending them or even pointing out how unnecessarily pompous the mainstream media have gotten, shaking our heads at how seriously people like Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs take themselves. We’ve learned a little secret – these political and media celebrities haven’t actually got any exclusive on insight or analysis. And sometimes knowing a great deal about boats is irrelevant if you fail (or refuse) to notice the hole in the boat.
Perhaps no technology better allows the individual to realize the right to freedom of speech than blogging. Freedom of speech meant something in a small burg of, say, 300 when everyone knew and could hear one another. Freedom of speech is fairly meaningless in a community of 300 million. Fairly meaningless, that is, until blogging. We now have a means to express ourselves to as many people as we can attract the attention of – and all without the need for editorial or political approval.
It's the year '007 and I've got a license to blog. And so do you.