News & Politics

Why Do Americans Have Political Blogs, and Why Are They Rare Elsewhere?

What if they gave a singularity and only America showed up?

I know, I know, but keep in mind that singularity is any form of living/life that changes your way of living at a fundamental level so that anyone transported from the past would be unable to understand it.

I’m not sure we’re quite there in our use of the Internet, but we’re not far off.

Our embrace of ebooks and, particularly, our embrace of the Internet as an alternate means of news and information has arguably transformed the way we live.

No?  Tell it to President Hillary.  Or explain why no one, except a few sad, deluded people, believes Obama’s successive summers of recovery actually worked.  Or why publishing houses are in trouble in all their fiction lines.  Or why bookstores are also in trouble, or—

Look, guys, I remember Clinton’s administration, when Hillary was the most stylish woman ever and smart too, and Bill was the nicest and smartest of men.  The media couldn’t do that for Obama or even keep it up for the Clintons, really.

You see, it’s been 20 years now, give or take, since we dropped into the world of blogs, at first tentatively, then full force.  9/11 gave political blogs (and not the personal journey, culinary and craft blogs) an extra impetus.

I’ll be honest, being an optimist, I thought that 2004 would be the last election where blogs didn’t have a major hand.  Heck, maybe I wasn’t wrong.  Given how hard Democrats fight against measures to make the voting honest, the only thing we can be sure of is that they take advantage of it not being honest.  So real totals for voting are actually impossible to calculate, and it might just be we didn’t escape the margin of fraud.

But then there was the election in 2016, and everything since.  And heck, the media threw everything it had at making Obama the new FDR and “one of our greatest presidents” and it really hasn’t stuck except with the young, the leftists, and the very gullible ( but I repeat myself).

At this point, most people taking the traditional media seriously are the very old, the very young or people who are so busy elsewhere they only sort of catch some sort of politics in the air, as it were (I have friends like that).

No one else, really, gives a hang about it. The media knows that, and they’re going insane and reporting ever-more outrageous things, trying to weaponize their remaining (paltry) audience.

… And people abroad eat up every single word.  Why?

Yeah, there are some (not many) political blogs in other countries.  We usually hear of them when there’s something interesting happening in that country.  There are others, mostly in the Anglosphere, some of which have a large American audience, and some of their own country.

But the thing is, as far as I can tell, they don’t have the kind of influence in their countries that our political blogs have here.

If there is anything like Instapundit, Ace of Spades or even PJ Media in other countries, with the kind of reach these have, I have failed to find them.

I have also failed to detect in my friends’ and family’s thoughts or information anything that doesn’t come from their mainstream media which – Lord help us – is still taking our mass media at its skanky word.

The same thing applies to ebooks.  My brother is at an age where reading on a Kindle is much easier than reading on paper books (adjustable type, backlighting) and I got him one but finding books in Portuguese is a chore. My contacts with writers in Portugal all leave me frustrated with their lack of understanding of indie publishing, to the point they prefer to publish for nothing with traditional publishers than to make money from their books.

This is weird because it’s not like Europe didn’t embrace tech in general. I think most people I know in Europe would rather die than be separated from their cell phone (usually far more expensive than mine) and at least some number of them are on Facebook and other social media.

But blogs? News? Commentary?

There are plenty of blogs on food, on housekeeping, and sometimes on hobbies.  But politics?  Few and far between, and those few are not particularly frequented by their own countrymen.

I can safely say that people who don’t fit in the left-consensus of the media in Europe still feel isolated and like they’re crazy people.

They’re politicking like it’s 1999 and at the mercy of their industrial mass communication and entertainment complex.

From their point of view we must be utterly incomprehensible or would be if they heard about what is happening here, and actually understood it.  Which is unlikely, since what they’re getting is so outside their experience, it might as well come from the moon.

So, what gives?  Is it that their blogs are stuck where ours were circa 2000 before 9/11 and the crazy media drove people to the net?  Would a similarly traumatic event kick their blogs into full functionality?

Maybe.  I’m not saying it wouldn’t. I just kind of doubt it. I think it would just rally them to their official media channels.

Then what is going on?

Again, what if you gave a singularity and only America came?  And why would only America be interested in citizen journalism?

Well, as I keep telling you, we’re strange.  Not bad strange, just … different.

America has a greater tendency to self-organize and form spontaneous organizations.  This was very strange to me when I came to the U.S.: Everything from sewing circles to local civic organizations uses Robert’s Rules of Order.  And everyone belongs to some group that has self-organized to do something of mutual interest.

More than that, when a disaster happens, people start taking care of it themselves before the official authorities arrive. The last one I experienced was a wind storm where well before the authorities started clearing the roads (we lived in downtown Colorado Springs) neighbors were roaming the streets with chainsaws, wanting to help you clear your driveway or side street.

But I experienced the same when I lived through Hugo in Charlotte, NC, and through other disasters major and minor.

Yes, sure, I know there are people in this country who will sit and wait for the government.  We all lived through Katrina, okay?

Yes, I know, people in the comments will tell me that their countries have the same specialized organization, or someone will cite some study that says America lags behind in initiative and self-organization.  Take a powder, will you?

I have actually lived in, or still socialize with and have friends in other countries, and I can tell you this level of self-organization is not only unheard of, but it’s not understandable by most people in most other countries.

You might find pockets of it, like say in the island in Australia where my friend Dave Freer lives, but it’s not a society-wide thing.

Maybe you need that self-organization, that level of confidence in your fellow citizens to make blogs and alternate news media really popular.

If that’s the case, how will we diverge yet more from Europe and the rest of the world?

And what will result from it?

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