Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hobbes as a Blogger

Alan Jacobs makes an important observation about and offers some good advice for those who perhaps spend too much time on the Internet, especially those who spend too much time making their opinions known there. You know, people like, uh, Bloggers.

Before I started this enterprise back in January, I was determined to avoid too snide and sarcastic a tone. That tone, I had noticed, had become so prevalent as to become hackneyed. I'm not sure I've always succeeded as it's a temptation that seems to go with the medium.

Jacobs notes that the world wide web is essentially a state of nature where commentary that is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" is not only tolerated, but championed. Why? Jacobs:
I have thought a lot about why people get so hostile online, and I have come to believe it is primarily because we live in a society with a hypertrophied sense of justice and an atrophied sense of humility and charity, to put the matter in terms of the classic virtues.
True enough, but I think something more may be at work. In the real world, unlike the Internet, you face the very real possibility that someone may just punch you in the nose. Funny how something like that can socialize and civilize.


  1. Hobbes said something like this: In politics, as in certain card games, when nothing else is turned up, clubs are trump. Hobbes did inveigh against superstitious types who tried to find substitutes for clubs.

  2. The simplicity and integrity of a club. I like it. Well, I do, that is, if I'm holding it.