Dan Riehl on the political blogosphere, libertarianism, and much more

A discussion with the founder and publisher of popular right-of-center blog Photo: Photo used with permission of Dan Riehl

FLORIDA, May 9, 2013 — The political blogosphere has grown more and more influential over the last decade. Aside from the obvious partisan and philosophical differences, is there any difference between the left-leaning and right-leaning blogospheres? Has the rise of political blogging resulted in more views than news being communicated?

Its critics on the left claim that the American right has grown more hardline. Has it? One of the gravest concerns frequently cited with modern conservatism is the rise of hot-button social issues. What’s the deal? 

Speaking of which, what does it mean to be a political conservative?

Ron Paul libertarians are storming the Republican establishment’s gates while social rightists are attempting to become the GOP’s dominant faction. Has this left moderates out of the picture? Where is the Party going?

Allow Dan Riehl to explain.


SEE RELATED: Asking Lyle Rossiter: What is the psychology of leftism?


The founder and publisher of Riehl World View, a highly popular right-of-center blog, his opinions have become a staple of the e-commentariat. In our discussion, he also shares his views about the most important aspect of being a blogger, as well as what inspired him to become involved in the political blogosphere.

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Joseph F. Cotto: The political blogosphere has found tremendous success over the last decade. Why, in your opinion, has this happened?

Dan Riehl: Pent up frustration on the part of people who wanted a larger voice in politics empowered by technology for the first time. It make access easier for more people.


SEE RELATED: Jeff Goldstein on the difference between leftish and rightish blogs


Cotto: Aside from the obvious partisan and philosophical differences, what would you say is the biggest difference between the left-leaning and right-leaning blogospheres?

Riehl: I believe the underlying trait of the Left is collectivism, while the Right celebrates independence and diversity of thought. Unfortunately, I think this enables the Left to work more effectively as one.

Cotto: During the years ahead, do you expect to see the right-leaning or left-leaning blogopshere find a greater degree of popularity?

Riehl: I expect to the see the Right rise but with a younger and more Libertarian stripe than perhaps what has dominated in recent years.

Cotto: Some might say that the rise of political blogging has resulted in more views than news being communicated. What is your opinion about this idea?

Riehl: I would agree that more “views” get communicated, but how effectively and to whom is another matter. In the end, I still believe a handful of views surface more broadly and content or facts, or news still dominates.

Cotto: Over the last several years, the American right-wing has become considerably more hardline. Do you suppose that there might be a specific reason for this?

Riehl: I don’t think it’s “become” more hardline at all. There are more people communicating their views, but nothing in the technology made them any more or less “hardline.” They are what they are and, for the most part, have likely always been. The American people have beliegfs and principles - Washington values deals.

If DC is viewed as more hardline today, I’d suggest it’s simple because it’s more accountable to the people now, than before.

Cotto: One of the gravest concerns frequently cited with modern conservatism is the rise of hot-button social issues. What is your perspective on this?

Riehl: I think the “concern” is overblown. I’m actually fairly Libertarian but not afraid to see people and politicians take strong stands on values and social issues from the conservative side. If anything, I think the pols fear bad press more than they fear the wrath of voters. Because the media is so liberal, they to often buckle unnecessarily.

No one is proposing, or even suggesting legislation that would take America back to 1955. So, what’s the big deal?

Cotto: In your view, what does it mean to be a political conservative?

Riehl: To still embrace the idea of a more traditional America, from fiscal and socially responsible, to the ability to project strength abroad.

Cotto: In the Republican Party, followers of Ron Paul are storming the establishment’s gates, so to speak. At the same time, social rightists are attempting to become the GOP’s dominant faction. All of this has left moderates more or less out of the picture. During the years ahead, which path do you see the Party taking?

Riehl: While I don’t know that Ron Paul is the best example, I do expect future generations of Americans to be more Libertarian. I also don’t think the change will be as problematic as you suggest. It’s more about people communicating more effectively, than disagreeing all that much in the end.

Cotto: What would you say is the most important aspect of being a blogger?

Riehl: Consistency and endurance. It’s a much tougher, less financially rewarding activity than many might suppose.

Cotto: What inspired you to become involved in the political blogosphere?

Riehl: I began blogging during the 2004 Presidential election. As a Bush supporter, I saw a few television reports that mentioned “blogging.” When I saw what it was, I thought, I can do that ― hell, maybe even better than some of these folks ― so I started. I’ve been at it consistently ever since in one form, or another.



Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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