Concerning Megan McArdle

Blue Blogistan ought to be able to distinguish between enemies like Michelle Malkin and honest interlocutors like Megan McArdle. Let’s leave fanaticism to the people who know how to do it right.

What Kevin said.

When I started blogging almost six years ago, there was fairly free and often good-natured linking and discussion between Democratic-leaning and Republican (or Libertarian)-leaning bloggers. That’s much less true now, as Blue Blogistan and Red Blogistan act more and more like right-wing talk radio, which is to say like sports-talk radio: lots of tribal venting and demonstrations of solidarity, very little willingness to treat people with very different ideas with even ordinary civility, let alone respect for the possibility of learning from them.

Among some Blue bloggers, the willingness to admit that Red Folk are human, that some of Them are decent, and that occasionally one of Them is right in a dispute with one of Us, is treated as evidence of disloyalty, self-hatred, or careerism. That leads, among other evils, to the failure to distinguish between people like Megan McArdle and people like Michelle Malkin.

This is less of an issue among the Red forces, because most of the Red bloggers who might have been capable of fair-mindedness toward the Blue side have either defected (e.g., John Cole) or started to pay less attention to partisan issues (e.g., Eugene Volokh). And it’s a bigger problem, it seems to me, on the Blue side, because living one’s political and intellectual life as a Two Minutes’ Hate is fundamentally compatible with Red politics and fundamentally incompatible with Blue politics. We should leave fanaticism to the people who know how to do it right.

Piling on by Michael O’Hare: What Kevin said, and what Mark said. I’ve had a couple of blog spats with McArdle, one of which caused Mark to rap my knuckles off-line for being rude. But she’s smart, good-hearted, and interesting, a completely inappropriate target for abuse.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: