Sunday, June 15, 2008

Political Blogging: Partisan vs. Socratic

In his massive work, A History of Philosophy, Oxford Jesuit Priest Frederick Copleston wrote the following about Socrates:
[Socrates] went where he could do the greatest good to anyone, seeking "to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests, and look to the State before he looks to the interests of the State" .... He was no mere pedantic logician, no mere destructive critic, but a man with a mission ....As is clear from Socrates' life, he was not concerned with party politics as such, but with political life in its ethical aspect. It was of the greatest importance for the Greek who wished to lead the good life to realise what the State is and what being a citizen means, for we cannot care for the State unless we know the nature of the State and what a good State is.
It seems that assessing whether political blogging is more or less socratic depends on how bound it is to advance the campaign strategy of the moment and on how far it goes to reopen settled or stale lightning rod issues to debate for higher purposes even when they don't serve party interests.

More partisan blogging does not seem to take the same risks as socratic blogging does, and yet, it is more likely to get more links and pageloads because of the sheer conventionality of party politics.

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