What are people afraid of?
Chris Bowers has a post up on the most recent attack on the Netroots, but he misses a point about the genesis of this.
It's funny to see people worried about the intellectual forment of the Netroots. It's kind of like worrying if your boss wears pink socks.
The power of people on the Internet is that they can act to preserve their own interests. The Internet is a tool which makes communication easier. It isn't a panacea nor does it create its own structures. The only value of the net, for most people, is a way to make connections.
Until very recently, there was a lot of concern about the engagement of the American people in politics. They didn't vote, they weren't interested in politics. But technology can liberate and strengthen people because they can work together without the endless debate which occurs in meetings.
It also allows for goal-centered activism.
What I think Chris doesn't get, or a lot of the younger people who blog is this: they don't like outsiders. Look at the structure of liberal activist groups. By their hiring practices, they exclude the average American. These people have invested their careers in this structure and have benefitted from it.
The last thing they want to deal with is an Ohio housewife who wants a voice in national politics. They want to tell her what to think, not to listen to her ideas. She isn't a member of the club, no matter how smart she is.
You have people who's recent record makes the Knicks look like champions attacking what has worked. They have a better way for you to succeed when you have and they haven't.
The whole canard of anti-intellectualism is basically "Shut up, meathead" for the 21st Century. Because it isn't an intellectual argument, but one of class. You're stupid because you are not part of them. Not because your arguments make no sense.
What these people are afraid of is a loss of status. When average people start taking a role in politics and are successful at it, they lose the mojo they have created. If someone in Seattle writes better than Joe Klein, why does Joe Klein still have a job?
So they seek to diminish the effectiveness of the Netroots to attack it's credibility and keep their own status intact.
Of course, most people empowered by the Internet could give a fuck what these people think. They failed so badly that these people had to do for themselves what others couldn't.
So let them have their silly arguments while people change the world around them.
posted by Steve @ 4:45:00 PM