While I hope to persuade, I mostly blog for the permanent record and the I-told-you-so's later.With no children to sway, here's why I blog:
And also, two of my four sons read my blog, so it gives me a chance to keep influencing -- uh, keeping in touch with them.
- Practice: Good writing is the accomplishment I'm most proud of--because I largely learned it on my own. Incredibly, despite 12 years of public schooling and three years each as an undergrad and in law school, I almost never wrote and never learned how. After my first year as a professional, poor writing skills nearly got me fired. A friend who knew me at the time remembers I was terrible--I couldn't write clearly because I couldn't think clearly.
Daily practice -- for one three-month period in 1985, I wrote 20 pages a day -- helped. But beginning again to read helped more. I started to imitate better writers, and before long began understanding points of grammar and sentence construction I had slept through in elementary school.
I'll never write fiction, but I was surprised at how easy analytical writing, and syllogistic thinking, was. I also discovered that good writing demands insight into what the audience needs; partly by virtue of my incomplete training in economics and engineering, I could anticipate this better than most.
I started my blog when my job began to demand more editing and less original drafting. So the primary reason I blog is to practice. I still can't spell. Fortunately, Bill Gates can.
- Storage: I don't fully deploy audience sensitivity when blogging; über-citation is off-putting to many. And it's why my posts often require 5 hours to finish.
But, like AVI, I intend NOfP to double as my database for political debates. It does this, nicely.
- Preacher: I admit to a need to debate and persuade. AVI shares this passion, but has--good naturedly--mocked my motivation:
Carl, like many reasonable people, keeps hoping he can shame progressives into actual discourse. He thinks that will give some advantage to his crafted arguments that take observable facts into account.He's right that I deeply resent a common attitude of the other side: "dictating outcomes without bothering to persuade or put it to a vote."
So I don't fool myself that NOfP persuades. That won't stop me preaching from the pulpit of logical and linked policy debates. And saying "I-told-you-so."
And--oh yeah--discourse both supplies insights to me and has persuaded me to change my mind. For example, I now believe the earth has warmed--though not necessarily by the acts of man, nor not necessarily dangerously. Does the other side alter their views?