LEFTY BLOGGER DISEASE….For the past couple of years the LA Times has had an editorial page columnist named John Balzar, and I like him a lot. He’s an ex-Marine with moderate liberal instincts and a practical, humanist frame of mind, and he writes interesting columns that don’t just echo what everyone else is saying. Unfortunately, he also seems to have succumbed to lefty blogger disease:

Our civic arguments are frequently unforgiving and growing more so. On matters of state and culture, art and music, in matters of our public lives, we speak to each other in the language of stridency.

The correspondence sent my way in these months by thousands of readers is representatively volcanic: If only people knew better! If only you knew better! If only everybody was as wise as someone else!

Today’s column was his last, and although he doesn’t say why he’s leaving the column writing biz, it sounds like he just got tired of the format (gotta have an opinion twice a week) and the stridency (criticize George Bush even mildly and watch the Times server crash under the email load).

It’s true that I read more lefty blogs than conservative ones, but I don’t think that explains the frequency of liberals who quit blogging or go on hiatus, complaining that the shrill tone of the blogosphere is just too much and they need to get away from it. Conservatives rarely seem to have that problem. I don’t know if they actively thrive on the vitriol, but at least they seem to have a higher tolerance for it.

I realize there’s no answer to this question, but I still wonder: what are conservatives so damn mad about? When even Andrew Sullivan ? Andrew Sullivan! ? gets besieged with “vituperative” email for a criticism of George Bush that registered about 0.1 on the Richter scale, shouldn’t the right side of the spectrum consider taking a step back and checking to see if the vast socialist conspiracy is really quite as bad as they think it is?

As for lefties, we need to develop thicker skins.