Belmont Club

The Triumph of the Will

and the Jack and the Jane. Of the ordinary person.

A wag once said that only royalty and people with tapeworms could speak as “we”. He forgot bloggers. Although a weblog is commonly supposed to be an intensely personal vehicle free from the strictures of a supervising editor, in reality a weblog must eventually share authorship with its readership. The recent deletion and rapid restoration of the Belmont Club article from Wikipedia is a case in point.

For the record, I never made any representation or appeal to Wikipedia for either its original inclusion, its subsequent deletion and its eventual restoration. These events were caused by the “we” rather than the “I”.

The original entry was due to the millions of hits the BC got. That traffic was bound to include it in some index. And its deletion, and its restoration, partook of the same public nature. The readership, through its efforts and generated “buzz” brought it back. It was big and active enough to do that. God knows I had nothing to do with it. Any weblog is bound to its readers through a kind of feedback loop. Those ties mean that no author, unless he closes comments or entirely unread, is truly the absolute master of his own site. Once online it exists in a context of its own making and that largely defines it.

The Tea Parties are interesting to consider in this respect. Like a weblog they may start out based on a few people but eventually take on a life of their own. Even more than blogs, they evolve a constituency and acquire a distinct character. When this happens they become surprisingly difficult to delete. Those who say “get over it, we won” are grossly underestimating the power of ideas to survive.

For this reason, there may never be a total “progressive” victory in politics, just as probably (alas) the Left will always be with us. A commenter observed that democracies are not simply ‘the rule of the 51% but what the 90% can live with’. Perhaps that is one way to understand the phrase that the ‘meek shall inherit the earth’. Ultimately what triumphs through history is not “today Germany and tomorrow the world!” but “today I go to work and on Saturday I mow the lawn.”

Thanks guys. You did it.

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