WHAT WENT WRONG….John Quiggin points to a long essay written a couple of days ago by Bjorn Staerk, a recovering warblogger, that tries to come to grips with “What Went Wrong.” Not with them, but with us. Here’s his take on the pro-war blogosphere that he was once a part of:
Among the bloggers there was a sense that there were all these brilliant people, who knew so much about history, war and society, who had previously been without the tools to express themselves. Thanks to the wonders of amateur media, we could now finally exploit this huge reservoir of expert knowledge. And when you contrasted the lazy neutrality of the old media with the energy of the new, it certainly could seem that way. Here were people who regularly would write thousands of words about the historical context of Islamist terrorism, who could write brilliantly about freedom and democracy, who commented boldly on the long trends of history. How could such people be wrong?
But what we saw was not expert knowledge, but the well-written, arrogantly presented ideas of half-educated amateurs. This, too, went all the way from the bottom to the top. It often struck us how well the writing of the best of the bloggers measured up to that of pro-war pundits and intellectuals. We thought this showed how professional the amateurs were, when what it really told us was how amateurish the professionals were.
I don’t have any real comments to add, but it’s an interesting, self-reflective essay that reaffirms my belief in the fundamental common sense of Scandinavians. Worth a read if this kind of thing appeals to you.