What’s more powerful: Blogs or the mainstream media?

What’s More Powerful: Blogs or the Mainstream Media?

A funny thing happened the other day, for those of you who missed it. I had just come home from a long trip to our friendly neighbours to the South and I posted a quick little blog post to let my regular readers know that I’d returned. My plans were to wake up the following day and write the blog post that I’d planned to write on the occasion of my 100,000th hit which I received sometime on Christmas Eve while I was away.

Well, it turns out that I missed my 100,000th hit (which took 1 year, 1 month and 4 days to achieve).

And my 200,000th hit (which took about 16 hours to achieve).

And my 300,000th hit (which took about 14 hours to achieve).

So I figured that now was as good a time as any to reflect on blogs as an institution by comparing the power of blogs to the power of the mainstream media.

A quick comparison of the reach of blogs versus the mainstream media results in some interesting findings.

Let’s start with just this blog here, which is as far from being a widely read blog. In the past 48 hours, this blog received approximately 240,000 hits. While it is impossible to draw direct comparisons because some of those hits were undoubtedly repeat hits just as it is also true that some of people will leave their television set on while they are not paying attention or have left the room. But, ignoring those caveats, what does that compare to in terms of the viewership of mainstream media broadcasts?

Breakdown according to the 2006 year-end Neilsen Media Research report.

240,000 is a greater reach than the total viewship of the following top-rated TV programmes (in 2006):

THE ABRAMS REPORT on MSNBC (238,000 average viewers)

MSNBC LIVE on MSNBC (207,000 average viewers)

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Headline News (170,000 average viewers)

THE MOST on MSNBC (196,000 average viewers)

ROBIN & COMPANY on Headline News (198,000 average viewers)

CNN HEADLINE NEWS on Headline News (190,000 average viewers)

PRIME NEWS W/ ERICA HILL on Headline News (184,000 average viewers)

MAD MONEY on CNBC (158,000 average viewers)

THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON on MSNBC (128,000 average viewers)

BIG IDEA WITH DONNY DEUTSCH on CNBC (138,000 average viewers)

COVER TO COVER on CNBC (118,000 average viewers)

THE SUZE ORMAN SHOW on CNBC (118,000 average viewers)

Now, keep in mind, that’s just this relatively insignificant blog.

When we expand our search, we see some interesting statistics. Even if we ignore all independently hosted blogs, as well as all blogs hosted at blogspot and other popular blog hosts and focus only on all the blogs hosted at WordPress.com (including this blog), it isn’t even a contest.

Bill O’Reilly’s popular programme The O’Reilly Factor averages 2,094,000 viewers per night. O’Reilly’s programme runs 5 days a week (when he’s not defending himself against sexual harassment charges from his co-workers). Assuming O’Reilly takes two weeks off per year, that translates to approximately 523,500,000 total viewers per year (keeping in mind that those who watch his show regularly would be counted separately for every time they tune in)

Here is the data on only the blogs hosted by wordpress for the month of November alone:

416 million pageviews for blogs hosted with WordPress.com, and another 169 million on blogs hosted with WordPress.org. Total: 585 million pageviews. (source)

So all of the blogs on just one of the blog hosting sites, in one month alone exceed the total annual viewership of Mr. O’Reilly’s #1 ranked television programme by 62 million.

When we compare the two in terms of annual reach, we see the following results.

blogs-versus-oreilly.png

So the question remains as to how long the mainstream media can continue pretending that blogs are insignificant? I believe I’ve shown the evidence to the contrary to be abundant.

25 Responses to “What’s more powerful: Blogs or the mainstream media?”


  1. 1 Larry Gambone 12 January, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Too bad that in order to get all those hits all you had to do was diss the Gringos. It seems like most of the 1000 plus comments you got – though I didn’t read all of them, for sure, were from Gringos whining about how unfair you were.I look forward to the time you get 200,000 views for one of your serious political analyses.

  2. 3 dirk 12 January, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Got to agree with Larry.Certain types of topics/post can attract thousands of hits.But the insignificance or importance of these topics/post are questionable and the level of discussion around them are usually “lowest common denominator” stuff.
    Overall blogs are still more about reflecting the MSM,than anything else.
    Sure the discussions and criticisms of the MSM and journalism in general can be insightful at times. But there to the vast majority is but personality attacks,gossip and name calling.
    There are few blogs that actually do their own stories never mind compete with the MSM in any meaningful way.
    Even fewer that go against “conventional” logic,while at the same time writing important & interesting article.
    As Larry said until a left-wing blog such as yours(which most would consider radical)reaches 100’s of thousands of consistent readers and inspires rational discussion I wouldn’t read much into the number of hits blogs receive.Most of its “lowest common denominator” stuff.
    That said as a blogger it’s always nice when ones blog attract lots and lots of readers.But there to is it consistent and one must also ask one self what is attracting the readers.

  3. 4 paulitics 13 January, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Yep, I also think Larry really hit the nail on the head. That was most definitely NOT the way I wanted to get on the front page of digg.com, reddit.com and fark.com. It was really shallow and somewhat unfullfilling.

    I also think dirk had a really good point about the content of blogs often being a reflection of mainstream media or simple name-calling.

  4. 5 Peter de Jong 13 January, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Paul,

    It really does not matter whether you post a deep or just shallow piece as long as it generates enough traffic and comments to cover the key issues. IMHO your very successful “Top 5” thread certainly did. Congratulations ! I’ve send the link to all my friends.

    If you can really put together a similarly thought provoking post on something as indefendable and totally irrational as socialism ;-) I am sure even more people will join in on the discussion. At least I would be interested. For now I wish you all the best with your blog.

    By the way, shouldn’t you compare the #1 blog vs the #1 tv programme (or blog host vs tv channel) ?

  5. 6 ian in hamburg 13 January, 2008 at 10:33 am

    So that’s why I got so many incoming hits from your blog! One comment – OK, two – the second to correct a mistake in the first – and I got about 30 hits from your blog. I have had my blog stats spike as well, but nowhere near into the hundreds of thousands.

    Raw numbers mean nothing, really. It’s consistency. If you can pull in another quarter-million hits from every post from here on in, then you’ve done well and should go pro, Drudge Report style. Otherwise, the Diggs and stumbleupon visitors are like a flash in the pan. Spectacular for a short while, then back to the same old. I hope you’ve gained some feed subscribers, though. I’m one of them, but I found you via the vast left-wing conspiracy, not digg et al.

  6. 7 paulitics 13 January, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Peter de Jong, if you like, you can check out my series on dispelling the myths of socialism. I think that’s pretty much in line with what you’re talking about.

    You can check out part one and part two here:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/is-capitalism-justified/

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/27/is-socialism-violent-or-is-liberalism-hypocritical/

    (P.S. I couldn’t compare the #1 ranked blog versus the #1 ranked TV station because I don’t know what the #1 blog is and even if I did know what it is, I don’t know what its stats are).

  7. 8 paulitics 13 January, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Ian in Hamburg – Glad to have you on board! I think you’re right about the transient nature of the visitors (although after previous digg effects that I’ve gotten, I seem to have gotten a general increase in regular viewership afterwards). But the main point of the post was to argue about the overall traffic of blogs as an institution and that doesn’t really change much based on individual reddit and digg effects.

  8. 9 LadyJane 13 January, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Well, I for one was linked through fark.com and I’ll keep coming back now!!!

    And what a shit-show that last post’s comment section was. AWESOME!!!!

  9. 10 Kavan Wolfe 13 January, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    This is certainly an interesting comparison. However, I think a more direct analogy would be as follows:

    Blog host platform -> TV network
    Blog -> TV show
    Blog Post -> Episode of a TV show

    In other words, comparing O’Reily to all the blogs on WordPress is like comparing O’Reily to NBC: it’s apples and oranges. That said, I completely agree with the basic point that the blogosphere continues to gain power relative to mainstream media.

  10. 11 martinp 13 January, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Yes, that certainly was quite interesting, but only for the same reasons that O’Reilly’s show is interesting.

    For this blog, it depends what you mean by ‘power’, and I think besides blogs, and more important than blogs is facebook and podcasts. A show like ‘democracy in exile’ has enormous reach and far more insights than the MSM. I agree with the post above that blogs that are popular essentially mirror the MSM. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘power’. If you want to see ‘power’, then just remember Howard Dean’s brief rise. It was only killed by the MSM after overblowing a fairly insignificant event.

    His push all came from the internet. When blogs, podcasts and alternative media start becoming politically active then we’ll see something quite substancial, which is why there is so much effort to fill the internet with garbage and legislate it. ‘Anarchy’ is growing in popularity, just look at the music downloading ‘industry’, music creation, software production, etc. ‘Socialism’ is extremely popular on the internet, so once people see the connections between culture and politics, things will change radically (hopefully we’ll be around long enough to see it).

    In this I’d have to bring up the US/Canada argument because most of the REALLY radical stuff is in the states, NOT Canada. Even mainstream guys like the Council on Foreign Relations has regular podcasts arguing what is mentioned here regularly (and much of the mainstream view as well of course)-in Canada, as you know, the billionaire from RIM is now trying to bring in enough money just to START one in Canada.

    So blogs don’t really exercise ‘power’, and just viewing a show doesn’t mean ‘power’. Personally, I got politically active from a mailing list that a poverty activist in New Brunswick was putting out. I’d be active still even if he hadn’t started a blog. That was ‘the internet’, not ‘blogging’, which unfortunately that activist has used to really dumb down his political activism (now he mostly posts pictures he takes around town). However, back in his day he was singularly responsible for bringing in a piece of legislation-something few people can brag about. THAT is power. O’reilly just reflects the status quo, he’s not even necessary so I’d argue about whether that is power. But when something politically significant arises out of the hundreds of thousands of viewers to hit this page, then I’ll agree that that means ‘power’. Most of the few posts I read certainly didn’t sound like they were new recruits to the socialist party.

  11. 12 Peter de Jong 14 January, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Paul,

    Thanks for the links. I may have to disappoint you. If you seriously are going to state the earth is flat and expect a similar result as with your “Top 5” thread, this is not going to happen (though with a little humour, who knows ;-)

    Marx’ economic theory has been disproven time and again by more serious scientists than Chomsky. The most important thing however, is that socialism has caused over a 100 million deaths in recent history (R.J. Rummel and others did extensive research on that) and slavery and poverty for many more. Latest example is Zimbabwe with it’s record 1700 % inflation.

    You may say that that is not the kind of socialism you advocate (as I have said the capitalism you and Chomsky fight is not capitalism at all but corporatism*). I would believe you because your blog content shows you favour non-violence and individual freedom, as well as solidarity. But it is the only kind of socialism people know. Therefore you are bound to marginalize yourself and your blog will end up in the section with other freak blogs, like those of holocaust deniers, UFO abductionists, global warming deniers, intelligent design advocates, etc).

    Why not develop your blog in such a way that you advocate the goals (i.e. non-violence, freedom, solidarity etc) instead of so much emphasizing the instrument of your choice (i.e. socialism) ? After all, these goals may be achieved by other means as well. There are many roads that lead to Rome.

    *) https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/why-capitalism-cant-continue-forever-and-why-socialism-will-prevail/

  12. 13 Peter de Jong 14 January, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    If I may give you some final advice, have you ever considered visiting some libertarian forums to discuss and develop your ideas further ?

    Libertarians are a mixed bunch (neocons, classical liberals, anarcho-capitalists like myself, objectivists, and even some anarcho-socialists like yourself). They all favour a small or even no government and as much individual freedom as possible in a society based on ‘no force, no fraud’. In a libertarian society in principle everything is permitted except damaging the life or property of others, so special emphasis is put on the system of justice. Abortion, self-determination for children or demented elderly, animal rights and intellectual property rights are some other hot topics for libertarians.

    I specifically mention libertarian forums because in my experience libertarians can be very good counterparts for socialists. Most libertarians are vehemently opposed to socialism but they also love a logical discussion on economics and ethics. With anyone (but especially socialists ;-) Moreover most libertarians do not like flame wars as they rightfully consider these a waste of time.

    As you enjoy some in-depth discussion I’m sure you will like libertarians (i.e. not necessarily their ideas, maybe you should avoid neocons, but their style). As an example I’ve put a link to some libertarian animal rights arguments down below, as well as the link to libertarian Michael Badnarik’s Constitution Class. Badnarik strongly criticizes the US (which you may like) and totally destroys Marx (sorry about that). I also added the classical animation from Ken Schoolland on liberty. Enjoy!

    Once again, lots of success with your blog Paul !

    Animal Rights
    http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/graham/graham1.html

    Michael Badnarik Constitution Class
    http://www.archive.org/details/Michael_Badnarik

    The Philosophy of Liberty (Ken Schoolland)
    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/67084

  13. 14 martinp 14 January, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I’ve said something fairly similar, but a little different. Just because people have been indoctrinated by media to THINK something is socialism when it really isn’t then thats no reason to change ones point of view. For newcomers we had this discussion before, and as I’ve said to Paul, I avoid the term ‘socialist’ simply because of all its baggage. By the way though, you can’t disprove a theory that has never been tried, thats as absurd as the absurd claim that Zimbabwe is socialist and that socialist governments are responsible for X number of deaths. That’s simply crazy, there is no serious social theory that says ‘to accomplish this theory you will have to kill people’. That’s like saying that ‘capitalism’ is responsible for all the Iraqi and Afghani deaths because the US and allies did the violence.

    But Chomsky does more than argue about corporatism, far far more. A single owner of a mill may be a proprietor, but as Chomsky states, ‘the workers should own the mill’. Thats more than an argument against corporattions, it cuts right down to private ownership of power and resources.

    So the terms are best avoided because they will be argued forever, simply letting people decide for themselves would be a huge leap, so as I’ve said, direct democracy can easily be used instead of socialism and its far more ‘in vogue’ and not as likely to ring off alarm bells. People may disagree with that, and thats fine, because the policies are so far in the distance right now that it doesn’t matter what term in used. Either way, what is important is what is occurring now, and the criticisms and policies that are important-which this blog regularly talks about, so its far from being resigned to ‘the freak pile’ except by people who are with the status quo and think that everything is fine-and the numbers of those people are rapidly decreasing.

  14. 15 Cody 15 January, 2008 at 5:50 am

    While all the hits on that particular post may be for the wrong reasons, you can at least look forward to the bonus of people knowing your blog now. It’s been my experience that a lot of people who read an article on a blog end up staying to read more. Well, at least I do.

  15. 16 paulitics 15 January, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Peter de Jong,

    A few points to address:

    First, you wrote: “Marx’ economic theory has been disproven time and again by more serious scientists than Chomsky”

    Since you seem to be so sure of that, might I suggest that you consider e-mailing Dr. Melvin Burke who’s Ph.D was at the University of Pittsburgh and who specializes in Marxian economics and economic development at the University of Maine. You can e-mail him at:
    mburke@main.edu.

    Can I please get a copy of your e-mail to him wherein you tell him that his Ph.D is a fraud and that his field has been disproven. You’d really be doing him a favour because I’m sure that he just isn’t aware that his field has been disproven. (I mean seriously, how embarrassing would that be, eh?)

    In addition to U. Maine, you might also want to consider e-mailing New School University in New York because they offer a graduate-level course in Advanced Political Economy on Marxian economics (available here: http://www.newschool.edu/gf/econ/syllabi/econ6204.pdf )presumably without knowing that it’s been disproven (and it’s graduate-level too, so they’re teaching M.A. students like me something that’s been disproven and I know that I certainly wouldn’t want to pay to learn something that’s been disproven). Come to think of it, you should probably e-mail this professor too. He specializes in Marxian economics and his e-mail is foleyd@newschool.edu and his name is Dr. Duncan Foley

    You should probably contact these people at the University of Massachusetts who did their dissertations on Marxian economics (you can read their Doctoral dissertations on the subject here: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI9932324/ and here: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI3193891/ )

    Actually, better yet, just e-mail the University of Massachusetts about all of their courses in Marxian economics because, looking at these two lists below, they’re teaching a LOT of things at the graduate and postgraduate level that, according to you, have been disproven.

    http://www.umass.edu/grad_catalog/econ/courses.html

    http://www.umass.edu/economics/gradcourses.html

    You’ll probably want to e-mail the editors of the academic, peer-reviewed journal Capital & Class (there’ve been a LOT of people publish academic, peer-reviewed articles in that journal, I don’t think you’d be able to track them all down).

    Ditto for the academic, peer-reviewed journal ‘Rethinking Marxism’. Despite its name, it focuses on both Marxism as well as Marxian economics (and actually, they offer a free copy of their latest edition, so if you like, you could itemize it. The free copy of their journal is available here: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713395221~tab=sample ). Man, will they be embarrassed when they learn their specialization has been disproven and they never heard about it — and really, they’re supposed to keep up on these sorts of things, so if you can let them know quietly, I’m sure they’d be grateful to you for that information).

    Second, you go on to write that, “The most important thing however, is that socialism has caused over a 100 million deaths in recent history”

    While I wait to hear back from the response you get from your e-mails, just let me say that I can’t believe that somebody as intelligent as you would actually quote that figure.

    First of all, if you look at the citation, the 100 million figure comes from a collective research project by Courtois et al. called “The Black Book of Communism”. Courtois states explicitly that he doesn’t actually look at whether the régimes in question which he considers “Communist” actually held any relationship to “Communism” or “Marxism”. He stated that his criteria was simply that they called themselves “Communist” or “Marxist-Leninist”.

    So let me ask you: Why don’t we say that Democracy killed 100 million people? Since your #1 source is just taking them at their word when they say they were Marxist, why don’t we also take them at their word when they said (and they all did say) they were democratic? Why? I would suggest to you that that’s because most of us — outside of libertarians, apparently — know that they weren’t democratic and thus that we shouldn’t take them at their word.

    Secondly, even two of the authors of that book (and keep in mind these are people who hate Marx. They’re rabid anti-Marxists. They’re your kind of people, not mine.) publicly denounced the book as essentially a hoax. They said that Courtois was, to use THEIR words, “obsessed” with reaching the nice, round figure of 100 million and that no serious scholar who had done the reasearch would actually believe the number was that high.

    (If you can read French, I can give you the citiation for this, if you’re interested, but to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared in the English media).

    Also, ignoring for a moment that the Stalinism and Maoism of the 20th Century, bears no resemblance whatsoever to Marx’s writings, it’s still nevertheless useful to compare the two statist systems of statist Communism and statist capitalism (both of which, you and I both oppose)

    According to work done by Gilles Perrault, Roger Bordier, François Delpla et al., state capitalism (what you call corporatism) has killed 147 million people and that’s only between the years 1500 and 1997 and that doesn’t include the 18 million victims of capitalism every year from the poverty wrought by capitalism. So it seems as though the statist perversion of your beloved theory kills far more people than the statist perversion of my beloved theory.

    (I can also give you ample scholarly citation for this figure, if you’re interested)

    Thirdly, you wrote: “as I have said the capitalism you and Chomsky fight is not capitalism at all but corporatism”

    Actually, I fight both state capitalism and libertarian capitalism and, if you read through many of Chomsky’s works, you’ll see plenty of passages, especially in ‘Understanding Power’ (I can give you citations for that too) wherein he attacks anarcho-capitalism of the Rothbard variety as well as American libertarianism of your variety in the most thoroughgoing terms.

    Fourthly, you wrote: “Why not develop your blog in such a way that you advocate the goals (i.e. non-violence, freedom, solidarity etc) instead of so much emphasizing the instrument of your choice (i.e. socialism)”

    Well on that front, I have to say that I think that’s already what I do. The vast majority of my posts don’t mention Marx or socialist theory overtly, so I don’t think this suggestion is a bad one, I think it’s one that I more or less already practice.

    Lastly, as for your advice on libertarianism.

    From time to time I do visit libertarian discussion boards, but I do not do so very frequently (although for that matter I don’t visit Marxist or socialist discussion boards frequently either).

    I actually started out my political awareness as a libertarian. I say libertarian because I was statist and a Canadian nationalist, I was a supporter of capitalism and was anti-religious. So it’s not that I’m not familiar with libertarians. On the contrary: I used to be one.

  16. 17 Peter de Jong 15 January, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    You certainly keep me hanging around your blog this way, Paul. ;-)

    Look, I am not attacking you or your beliefs. I very much liked your “Top 5” thread and I like the sincere way in which you try to defend socialism. So I hope you’ll accept my advice is well meant.

    The key issue is that socialism has just as much negative baggage as capitalism has. That’s why it’s not wise to use these phrases if you want a wider audience. Unless you’re capable of turning your blog into something more funny or satirical (like the Maddox blog who is apparently very full of himself and constantly angry at the world, see http://maddox.xmission.com/ ). But I think that format would not go well with your character, so please do not force yourself into something you are not.

    As martinp (#14) rightly pointed out, there is a very wide audience for what you really want (i.e. direct democracy) since many people are fed up with the current representative system. I am too, but I would not favour direct democracy. Democracy, any democracy, is fundamentally wrong, as it forces people who do not want to comply. That’s why modern Marxism, advocating direct democracy, contradicts itself. One cannot liberate people and force them at the same time.

    Personally, I favour not anarchy but panarchy (De Puydt’s article on panarchy is linked above). So I would not mind at all if socialists formed a worldwide community to actually practice socialism amongst themselves. As long as they do not involve other people who are not interested, this is perfectly okay. The moment socialists use force to achieve their ideal society (and it was Marx, I believe, who advocated revolution) this can only lead to more bloodshed and misery, as history has shown abundantly (I was referring to the original research of Rummel, not Courtois, see http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/ ).

    It does not matter that you and your teachers think Marxism is an ordinary political science. The issue is that the rest of the world doesn’t. So if you want to reach a wider audience and make people genuinely interested, focus on the goals everybody can adhere to and point out the mechanisms that currently prevent people in reaching these goals.

    Like the government. That’s where libertarians and socialists meet, they both don’t like this oppressive authority. When you say you started out as a statist and a nationalist you most certainly were NOT a libertarian (who despise any nation state).

    Then if you do decide to develop your political ideas any further in some discussion with libertarians, who are also constantly developing their political philosophy, you may find you have even more in common.

    I’m sorry I cannot stay any longer. I’ll leave your blog with a visionary cartoon Ron Cobb made in 1968. Good luck Paul !

  17. 18 Jane-Marie 15 January, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Interesting point.

    You might like the book “The Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell.

    I’ve just discovered your blog and look forward to reading more of your observations.

  18. 19 paulitics 16 January, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Peter,

    I think I should express that you too should not feel as though I was trying to attack you or your beliefs. In the first part of the post above there, I was in part having some fun at your expense for using such a strong word (“disproven”). In actuality, I’ve had plenty of run-ins with libertarians and I must say that the vast majority of the libertarians I’ve run into from the States have been very abraisive and rude. So don’t take the above comments as trying to push you away from the site. On the contrary, as far as libertarians go, they could all stand to be a lot more civil like you.

    As for your statement that “The key issue is that socialism has just as much negative baggage as capitalism has. That’s why it’s not wise to use these phrases if you want a wider audience.”

    I definitely agree with you that socialism has a ton of baggage (in fact, I think it has far more baggage than capitalism does). The idea of strategy though, which I think is what you’re getting at, was actually the subject of an interesting thread that I had a while back that unfortunately got hijacked by a loudmouth, arrogant and abraisive individual.

    I think there’s still merit in trying to salvage a term that’s been given negative connotations (especially in the particular instance of ‘socialism’ now that the Soviet Union isn’t around anymore claiming to be ‘socialist’), but the converse argument was articulated very well, I thought, and certainly isn’t the worst argument I’ve heard.

    If you’re interested, the thread in question can be found here:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/it%e2%80%99s-a-beautiful-thing-the-destruction-of-words%e2%80%9d/

    Lastly, you also wrote:

    “It does not matter that you and your teachers think Marxism is an ordinary political science. The issue is that the rest of the world doesn’t. So if you want to reach a wider audience and make people genuinely interested, focus on the goals everybody can adhere to and point out the mechanisms that currently prevent people in reaching these goals.”

    On this front, I’m in complete agreement with you.

  19. 20 martinp 16 January, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Hopefully Peter will be back, I’d mirror his point to the blog owner, who did respond a bit abrasively, but at the same time its clear why. That’s essentially a problem that the blog owner has to come to grips with. I’ve come here about two or three months, and in that time have seen plenty of the ‘socialism is bullshit’ and the crazy reasons why people think it is so. I’m not sure but I thought the above was a ‘cut and paste’ job from a thread long ago, if not, then it should be because that’s going to come up A LOT. I was suprised at how few comments were in this thread because after the thousands of americans posting at the last one, I expected A LOT of ‘commie bastard’ type posts, but it just goes to show that people are never what you think they are.

    However, it should be pointed out to libertarians that at some point EVERYBODY has to be ‘forced to do what they don’t want’. That is the price of owning property, which is sacrosanct to libertarians. Nothing starts wars like property, in fact I’d almost argue that nothing ELSE has started wars, so the idea, if libertarians are that idealist that they actually believe it, that getting rid of national governments and only having laws to protect their property will somehow mean that everything will be wonderful in the world.

    That comes from a false idea of what ‘liberty’ actually is. In a direct democracy, which is identical to an-archy (meaning no leader), decisions are made communally. Again, we have little to go on here, but in the longhouse tradition of the mohawks we can see some evidence of how decisions can be made ‘communally’. It DOESN”T mean what it means in the states, which is you vote ‘for this or that’. It means a process of compromise, more in line with direct democracy being instituted at the various stages of committee hearings so that final recommendations are the result of democracy-not just the final solution that people have to ‘vote for or against’. That makes government far bigger, but also makes it more representative-there is NO government today in the world that is an objective representative of its people, even Switzerland, which has the most tools for direct democracy doesn’t do that.

    But its true that the problem comes down to unrepresentative governments. It’s like the argument in Canada against the Senate-many who ‘don’t like it’ simply want it done away with, which is how libertarians view nation states. You’ll notice that libertarians don’t want to do away with forms of government-they simply want governments to do what THEY want,namely protect their property and values. Direct democracy doesn’t ‘eliminate’ the government, but it does provide the opportunity for them to choose as they wish. An example of that could be sort of like New Hampshire, however, that state is finding out that private power is just as dictatorial as public power. Yet without the national government the states would be a far different country. Even if the national government actually represented the population it would be a far different country and I’d even suggest that it would be closer to the ideal than it currently sees itself. The US is ‘hated’ because of its foreign policy, yet the public has no say in foreign policy. Now, perhaps after 9/11 americans would have said ‘lets blow the hell out of country x’ anyway, we don’t know. We do know that right after 9/11 there were serious questions being asked about american foreign policy, and from the racist signs at that restaurant I think it could be assumed that a good many americans were quite in agreement with Osama Bin Laden who wants US soldiers out of muslim lands.

    So a national government with ACTUAL democracy would be far different, and would provide those measures that Peter mentions above-being able to legislate without force. States are very different, and towns are very different, so if you don’t want to abide by the rules of one (and help make them) you can easily go to another. Maine is far different from New Hampshire, which is far different from Vermont. That in itself goes a long way to solving the problems people have in the first place, much like Canada’s problems today are far worse than say, in the seventies, when poverty was almost non existent, when downtowns were thriving and there was no such thing as a food bank.

    However, the blog owner makes his own choice and whose to say it is wrong. Again, hundreds of thousands of viewers saw the blog, and what was the result? Not much. Even in cases where a person reads it and says ‘ok, socialism isn’t so bad’, then what is the result? Very little. As Chomsky says, if he gives a talk and people don’t get organized then he’s wasted his time. But there is little attempt at organization here, let alone organization for a specific purpose. Therefore its an academic exercise as to what the blog should be called and whether the term socialist should be avoided or not.

  20. 21 Datdamwuf 17 January, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    You got farkd so you got a lot of traffic, some of those that came will come back to see what you post. But remember, you were posted on fark.com as notnews, it’s unlikely you’ll get that again unless you post more funny blather. no offense, just sayin…GL

    Don’t forget, you said you’d likely do a 5 things about Canada blog spot…:)

  21. 22 Robert 23 January, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    The big catch in the comparison is the type of audience. Obviously the ranting American (whose name should not be spoken) on the fox network basically appeals to the ignorant and the greedy. Those looking for justification that their immoral greedy behaviour and blatant racism is somehow acceptable and morally justifiable. Your audience will largely be those interested in new and interesting ideas and be more open to discussion apart from the right wing minority who occasionally look away from the idiot box or who are paid to spread propaganda as far and wide as possible. What is really interesting is that same right wing minority who appear to be the so called moral (greed is god) majority according to modern mass media, really do actually stand out as a minority on the Internet (apart from ‘eww’ myspace), it is really discernible the social democrats who actually do believe in freedom and democracy for everybody are the majority and that caring and sharing a lesson learnt in childhood should be carried with you when you become an adult.

  22. 23 Pittsburgh Reviews 3 January, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Great article! I agree that blogs are more powerful than the mainstream media.

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