Thursday, July 09, 2009

On Honduras, Democracy, And The Designation of Wankers

I felt the need to respond to this post at Daily Kos calling various people to task for being insufficiently supportive of the democratic process. Specifically:

Sen. Jim DeMint:
On what basis does the [Obama] Administration demand [ousted Honduran President] Zelaya’s reinstatement? His removal from office was no more a coup than was Gerald Ford’s ascendence to the Oval Office or our newest colleague Al Franken’s election to the Senate.

The best explanation of what's going on in Honduras that I've seen to date is this post by Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy. If what Dan Miller writes is to be believed (and I've seen no counter-argument as of yet) then there's nothing undemocratic about the removal of Zelaya from office. If Zelaya really was trying to alter the Honduran Constitution through extra-legal means, and his actual removal was ordered by the Honduran Supreme Court, then asking why the US is supporting him is a legitimate question. Rather than just asserting that Sen. DeMint is being antidemocratic Markos should, in the very least, provide a few sentences in support of that proposition.

I'd inititally intended to limit this post to the material above, but further reflection makes me want to explore the underlying behavior a little bit more. What does it mean that Markos feels comfortable calling people undemocratic without offering even a sentence or two by way of argument? To be fair most of the diarists at Daily Kos, especially the ones that make it to the front page, don't do that, but there are other parts of the progressive blogosphere where such behavior is common. Atrios is a particularly egregious example; he's developed the habit of calling people "wankers" without so much as a word of explanation.

Atrios finds it unnecessary to justify his opinions, which necessarily implies that he believes that his audience shares his worldview to a large extent. This, in turn, reveals that there's no actual exchange of ideas going on; Atrios is preaching to the choir. That thought-leaders of the progressive blogosphere can get away with this in such a blatant fashion doesn't increase my faith the progressive cause1. I suppose that's one of the reasons why I decided to start writing this blog in the first place, because the progressive portion of the blogosphere has a whole lot of monologue and not a whole lot of dialogue.

1 In fairness I'll also acknowledge that Duncan Black's ability to throw up a one-liner and get 300 comments arouses equal parts annoyance and envy.


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