balkanization of cyberspaceJack Balkin asks whether blogs encourage balkanization. I am liberal by almost any measure. I was introduced to blogs reading a conservative blog (The Volokh Conspiracy). I found it an interesting portal into the conservative worldview a view I cannot comprehend, even though I grew up surrounded by it. Most conservative sites were so busy deriding other views and attacking their adherents that I saw little reason to visit. Why should I visit a site that exists primarily to hurl insults in my direction?
Over time, my interest in even the better conservative sites waned. The analyses presented (when analyses were presented) typically proceeded from assumptions I didn't share. Attempts to find common ground with the more thoughtful posters were usually rebuffed with restatements of disagreement. I grew tired of the seeing the same memes, tired of being informed of pressing issues I didn't care much about, tired of being insulted.
Today, I read liberal blogs almost exclusively. I don't know this has made more isolated than before. If anything, the conservative blogs I have read have hardened my attitude towards conservatism. At its best, it seems more heartless today than before I read what conservatives have to say. At its worst, it seems more selfish, dangerous, fanatical, and juvenile. If I hold less hope today that out country can find a common vision, it fell from my hands while watching the acts of conservatives in power and seeing admiration in the words of even their wisest supporters.