Wednesday, May 19, 2004
I started this blog, like so many people did, as an emotional response to 9-11. I found myself obsessively reading the news in a way that I didn't before, and I needed an outlet for that obsession. The blog's continued to be useful for long past the waning of the obsession, because it's helped me figure out what I really think, and you know, that's a good thing in its own right.
Well, since things started to go pear-shaped in Iraq, the obsession has heated up, but blogging has tapered off. Why? Partly because things have gotten busier at work - and at home (Moses is now a toddler, and takes a lot more parental attention than he did as an infant). But partly because I have much less confidence than I once did - and not only in my own opinions. In the past, when I thought a problem was complex (for example: how to deal with postwar Iraq), I'd feel like simply turning the problem over, exposing the complexity and wrestling with the various options was a service. I figured smarter and better-informed people were wrestling with the same questions, and the answers would emerge from dialogue.
I don't feel that way anymore. I feel like the urgency to arrive at good (or at least best-of-bad) answers has increased dramatically, even as my own confidence in the basic quality of information has dropped, and my confidence in those smarter and better-informed folked has dropped precipitously.
So I've fallen back on, increasingly, critiquing the "information" that comes my way. It seems to me to be much more important to critique the material coming from the pro-war right because (a) that's the camp I've come from; (b) that's the camp with the main responsibility for the situation, and hence the principal obligation to figure out how to deal with the situation; (c) that's the camp with a certain problem of too much self-censorship and not enough self-criticism.
What this means is, I spend too much time writing critiques of stuff at NRO and the like. It's not what I most enjoy doing. I'd like to be rooting rah-rah for the side. I desperately want America to win this war. But it's what I can do, mostly, and I do think it's constructive. Anyhow, there you have it.