Matthew Yglesias observes that the blogosphere has “blind spots” with regard to some rather important issues:

I don’t like the genre of posts where people condemn others for not blogging about a certain subject — everyone should feel free to write about what interests him. In particular, I greatly sympathize with people who are disinclined to write about Medicare, since it’s an incredibly boring issue. On the other hand, it’s also a very important one, and so it’s unfortunate that, as it happens, none of the leading lights of the blogosphere right care to lend us their thoughts on it.

Not that any particular one of them has an obligation to write on nuts-and-bolts domestic policy issues, but the fact that none of them does it really lends a certain artificial quality to the debate around here. You would think that the leading domestic policy controversies in America were about gun control and campus speech codes, when they simply aren’t. Billions of dollars are getting shifted around in both the Medicare and energy bills, in ways that I don’t think conservatives or libertarians would be very happy about if they focused on what’s really going on.

He’s right, at least with regard to the (many) blogs I read on a regular basis. Megan McArdle talked about Medicare reform recently in a TechCentral column; otherwise, the writing has been sparse.

The problem is that some issues are just too complicated to elicit much of a visceral reaction. I’ve got theoretical ideas about the ideal roles for the public and private sectors in health care, but frankly know far too little about the nuts-and-bolts of the system to get too passionate. I have even less knowledge and interest in energy policy; the last time that was a big domestic policy (as opposed to foreign/military policy) issue was the late 1970s.

The same doesn’t hold true for things like campus speech codes and gun control. While I’m not conversant in the social science literature on these things, the issues are almost entirely normative and theoretical. They’re a lot more amenable to commentary for non-experts. And, frankly, more interesting.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Short answer: We’re not all policy wonks.

  2. Paul says:

    Besides… Who was the last guy on the right that REALLY wanted to have a discussion about medicare???

    What happened to him???

    Newt Gingrich tried to discuss medicare and the left demagogued the topic to oblivion.

    Methinks Yglesias only wants people on the right to take the bait so they can be called names. That’s the it usually goes down.

    If the left actually wanted to debate the program it would have plenty of takers.


    (and the takers would be in the blogosphere too… while bloggers like to think they control the debate they are following the big guys like puppies. If the blogosphere were around in 1994 I promise you the finer points of the Contract With America would be all the rage.)