Oscar Wilde once wrote:
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
I gave up blogging two years ago, largely due to a lack of anything interesting to say. I found that the substantive part of anything I wrote was simply an imitation of an argument I had read elsewhere. Why bother reinventing the wheel? Why bother simply re-writing what someone else had already written?
The majority of online writing mostly seems to consist of emotivism: simply stating your moral beliefs within the context of whatever current event has been spurted across the outer surface of a newspaper. This is self-indulgent, tribalistic, and also horribly dull. Which is not to say that this kind of blogging is without value. Political movements are tribes, and tribes need cohesion, and one way of achieving cohesion is to regularly and frequently restate the central tenets of your movement. But I am not a very good cheerleader.
On the other hand, the other kind of blogging – the kind of blogging I actually admire – is deeply technical, wonkish, and generally above my pay grade. I am not an economist or a political philosopher or a statistician.
So why blog at all? I think for two reasons:
- It helps you learn. Unlearning Economics claims he/she writes partly with the intention of being “taken down”, and so educate him/herself. There is a lot of stuff I feel I need to know more about, and this project might form a useful adjunct to my self-education.
- Because writing a blog is the bare minimum of what might generously be described as “political activism” that one can get away with without actually having to step outdoors. It might not be as impressive as shutting down central London for a weekend but, speaking personally, blogs have had a far greater impact on my beliefs than have protesters. Perhaps I will change some minds.
So the primary purpose of this blog is to enable me to learn, and its secondary purpose is to make statements I believe are true, important and which I believe can be justified. Some of these statements will be ‘political’ in nature and others will not. Anyway, stay tuned.