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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Glenn Reynolds: A Leader For The Army Of Davids

Glenn Reynolds is a blogger we read quite often--usually three or four times a day to keep up on the news stories coming fast and furious that the MSM turns a blind eye to. But his newest book, An Army Of Davids, shows that even the little guy can beat on Goliath like a bongo drum. Trust me, we know. Thomas went book shopping last weekend, and came home with a load. Among them was Mr. Reynolds's new book. I snatched that up and began reading while Thomas occupied his time with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's work The Supreme Court, newly updated and revised. But today, The Wall Street Journal did a review of Mr. Reynolds's book, and it is spot on.

Fifteen years ago Glenn Reynolds started brewing his own beer ("sometimes terrific . . . sometimes not so great"). A few years later he began recording his own music. Then, in the summer of 2001, he turned to writing a Web log, and the rest is history. A hitherto obscure law professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, became Instapundit, an insta-star in the firmament of the blogosphere.

More than a few rival bloggers, at the time, were old-media writers who had decided to try their hand at something new. Instapundit, by contrast, was born along with the form. Indeed, he embodied it ("sometimes terrific . . . sometimes not so great"), providing instant reactions to current events. Insights appeared alongside thin, one-sentence musings--always supported by links to news stories, columns and, not least, other bloggers. Reading Mr. Reynolds's blog could become addictive, even if you often felt that you'd be better off spending your time talking to real people--or even reading an old-fashioned newspaper--than clicking your life away.

Which adds to the pleasure of "An Army of Davids." Mr. Reynolds shows himself to be as accomplished in the medium-distance race--the book's text fills 268 undersized pages--as he is at the short dash. He shows as well that he has a coherent, and very American, philosophy of the world.

Mr. Reynolds argues that we are undergoing a sea change. The balance of advantage--in nearly every aspect of society--is shifting from big organizations to small ones. Economies of scale and scope matter much less in the information age than in the industrial one. And thanks to advances in technology, more and more people are transforming themselves from salary men into entrepreneurs and independent contractors. "The secret of success in both business and politics in the twenty-first century," Mr. Reynolds writes, "will involve figuring out a way to capitalize on the phenomenon of a lot of people doing what they want to do, rather than--as in previous centuries--figuring out ways to make lots of people do what you want them to."

This attractive thesis is hardly original--Ronald Coase explained the economics of it back in 1937. It has been chronicled many times since, especially in recent years. And Mr. Reynolds doesn't take time from his breakneck exposition to consider complications. Don't some big organizations develop core competencies that it is very hard for competitors to imitate? Isn't the do-what-I-want cohort, even if growing, still a rather small one, confined mostly to an educated, versatile, technologically literate elite? Even Instapundit himself presumably relies, for paying at least some of his monthly bills, on the steady salary from a big organization (a university). The Internet, for all its technological dazzle and ambitious individual voices, is still weak on producing revenue.

Yet Mr. Reynolds presents his case with verve and wit. Had you realized that "the comfy chair revolution" (the appearances of comfortable chairs in bookshops and even clothes shops) is a sign of the army of Davids on the march? Starbucks and Barnes & Noble provide loiterers with temporary offices as well as lattes and muffins. Did you know that the Nigerian film industry is flourishing, thanks to hand-held cameras and digital processing (and, incidentally, that it produces works that make the "Left Behind" films look downright secular)?

Mr. Reynolds pushes his case to provocative lengths. Two of his biggest passions--as readers of Instapundit know only too well--are space colonization and "transhumanism." Both, he believes, are better served by Davids--private citizens acting individually or as a collection of individuals--than by government bureaucrats. He says that we need to adopt a Wild West model for outer space: If we privatize space travel and give land grants to people who colonize the moon or Mars, we will soon see a space rush, even a Mars rush. As for technology improving the human condition, he is a relentless optimist. Why not allow people to put memory chips in their brains to improve their mental performance? Why not celebrate, instead of worrying over, the idea that people might be able to live for centuries, with the help of some cellular tinkering?

Mr. Reynolds is at his most impressive when he is commenting on his natural habitat, the blogosphere. It is extraordinary to think that when he went into blogging a mere five years ago the activity didn't even have a name for what was produced ("mezines" was the best anyone could do). There are now more than 22 million blogs, according to Technorati.com; Mr. Reynolds alone sometimes gets more than a half-million page views a day. And indeed, as he notes, bloggers have changed the landscape of journalism. They have helped to bring down both Trent Lott and Dan Rather; they have produced great reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan; and they have demonstrated, beyond doubt, that journalism is an activity, not a profession.

But here Mr. Reynolds is not quite the mainstream-media basher that the book's long subtitle suggests. (It claims, in part, that "An Army of Davids" will show "how markets and technology empower ordinary people to beat big media.") He recognizes that bloggers and the mainstream media (MSM) are supplements to one another as much as competitors. If bloggers can challenge and criticize the MSM, they depend on it for most of their information. The result should be a self-correcting system. Mainstream editors get faster off the mark (one hopes) because they realize that any dithering will be exposed by the blogosphere; and mainstream journalists get more self-critical because they realize that ignorance and bias will be immediately exposed.

The David army envisioned by Mr. Reynolds may well, in the long run, end up beating the Goliaths of big media and big government into submission. In the meantime, let's hope for a more modest goal: that it can make them a little better at doing their jobs.

That last line is key. "In the meantime, let's hope for a more modest goal: that it can make them a little better at doing their jobs." We do not do this to be mean. However when the mindset forces us in that direction, we will not back down from the fight. And the fight is for the truth. Not their truth, and not our truth, but the truth itself. A line from a popular show that Thomas used to watch alluded to that, that the truth is a three-edged sword. It is, but in the ongoing cultural war, we are dealing with facts that these people would avoid or ignore.

Today's earlier post shows that the media is in meltdown mode, and do not understand the gravity of the world today. The Vietnam syndrome has carried itself into the 21st Century for the media, and they abhor the idea that we are winning the war on terror. They are upset that we have won in Afghanistan, and that the victory over the Saddam regime in Iraq is complete. Both nations are working at establishing and executing a new democracy, which is not easy, and will not be an overnight operation.

The media is using the same old tactics from their Vietnam coverage in this war now. They are only reporting the bad, and when they do report the good it is only after people make a stink about their coverage. Laura Ingraham, as I pointed out in that earlier post, came back full of p**s and vinegar, and went right for the media's jugular for their biased slant on the war. It goes right back to Wlater Cronkite's lie about the North Vietnamese winning the Tet Offensive; the NVA did not win anything out of Tet, and even stated at the Paris Peace Accords that Tet was such a disaster for them that they considered surrendering. The only thing that stopped them?

The antiwar movement in the United States. It was so strong back them, and had willing minions in the media to propogate the idea that Vietnam was lost. The mission was over. To the troops who fought over there, they never felt like they lost squat. DC lost that war, willingly, and it was due mostly to the micromanagement of the Washington elites that did cost us that war.

That is what the media is doing now. But they are failing miserably. Why? Because of Glenn's army. The Army of Davids is us. You, me, Thomas, Sabrina, Jen, Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed Morrissey, Michael Yon, and Laura Lee Donoho. Sometimes we are funny, like Cox and Forkum and sometimes we are dead serious, like Colonel Austin Bay. The point is we are trying to help. But it is the media that looks at us as upstarts; unporfessional, uncouth members of the "little people" who have no idea what they are talking about.

Really? Then where is the media on the Saddam document release? Where are they on the schools opening up in Iraq, or the freedom that these people have not experienced in almost forty years? Where were they when China decided to open fire on protesting farmers? Where were they when John Kerry made boasts about his military service, and was later proven to be lying about it?

The media was nowhere. But the Army of Davids was on top of all of this. We are trying to help the media by serving as ombudsmen for them. It is clear their own cannot handle the job; likely a problem with the editors in charge. But we are here, and as long as we are, the truth will get out. With an army as large as ours (31.2 million active blogs to date) we will eventually force the MSM out of business (eventually; do not jump the gun), or we will force them to adapt. But one thing is absolutely certain: As it stands right now, the MSM is dying on the vine, and they are too oblivious to notice or care.

The Bunny ;)


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