html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Sampling bias?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sampling bias?

Is all of blogland willing to discuss libertarianism/bash or defend libertarians at infinite length? I surely have not reached my fill of the topic, but I remember that before I had a blog, I went 33 years without ever much thinking about them. Is all of blogland so transfixed by them, or by the chance of being linked first by Marginal Revolution, did I simply fall into a nest of them so deep that I can't see out? Are there policy blog circuits where mentioning libertarianism draws no comments?

Other topics that I've never seen the blogs I read tire of:

Dating strategies
What some mainstream pundit said


Blogger Capella said...

Well, this is definitely sampling bias, because you read my blog, and I mostly complain about my job. I have in fact tired of discussing dating strategies, at least temporarily, more than once, and just typing this has exceeded my talking-about-spanking-and-cats interest level.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


4:26 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...

I thought spanking WAS a dating strategy.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read lots of the libertarian blogosphere. One of the subjects that I find odd in terms of the attention paid to it is prison rape.

Another topic that garners a ton of attention (and doubtless will generate a comment or two here) is the cruelty (or non-thereof) of male circumcision. -K.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...


5:34 PM  
Blogger a progressive crank said...

Libertarianism gets a lot of attention like the counter-culture did in the 60s: kids were trying stuff without knowing where it might lead.

I see people trying to reason with libertarians as similar to anyone trying to deprogram a cult member: no one wants to a sentient being fall into a state of mindless obedience, after all.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Spanking as a way to discipline children. I bet it would get dozens and dozens of very predictable comments.

5:55 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

circumcision seems to bring a whole lot of people too.

5:55 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Oh, and I think since you got linked to by MR relatively early in your blogging career you got sucked into the whole libertarian thing. If you look at the most popular blogs I don't think there is anything libertarian in there. For most of *us* MR is the 100-pound gorilla. In blogosphere terms though it isn't nearly that dominant.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

It was my great good luck?

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

"Spanking as a way to discipline children."

My brain went somewhere else entirely! ;>

6:45 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

JMPP, you are not alone. We still get a bunch of hits on our blog for "spanking your husband" because my co-blogger once wrote a post that used the word spanking and mentioned her husband.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

If real life were like the blogosphere, the Libertarian Party would totally dominate American politics (instead of getting, you know, one or two percent of the vote). The Democrats and Republicans would be wholly insignificant.

Of course, if real life were like the blogosphere, there would be almost no popular culture except for sci-fi and fantasy.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, sampling bias. I think it was your "great good luck."

Besides, libertarians thrive in imaginary places among imaginary people. ;-) In real places with real people, they tend to keep it to themselves.

I really could have been a libertarian. I was well on my way down that path then I caught that bleeding heart thing and decided that people were better off if the government made certain choices for them. Like taxing things that you want people to do less and giving incentives for things you want them to do more, regulating stuff that can't be easily optimized by a market, and mandating stuff that's good for you and minimizes the cost to society like seat-belts and helmets. Besides, I could see no path from here to the market adjusted ideal that didn't lead through lots of starvation, revolution, and that sort of thing.

Oh yeah, when I imagined the transition to the ideal and the resulting system, I imagined that I'd come out on top. Basically it was a system in which I could thrive relative to my fellows. Part of the bleeding heart thing was realizing that we're all in it together and I found a bit of empathy for those that would be destroyed or pushed out by the transition. I realized that we're all in it together.


PS. Sorry, this may have belonged in the "Why I'm (post) libertarian" thread...

9:22 AM  
Blogger jens said...

"Spanking as a way to discipline children."

I must have read hundreds of blog entries about spanking without ANY of them involving children.

I think you must hang out on the WRONG blogs!

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart from the "great good luck," you have *kept* these readers, which I take to be the more important fact.

11:42 AM  
Blogger jens said...

Now that JMPP is married (and I think I can GUESS what happens to the loser in the marital Civilization matches) you are probably going to get a lot more comments from her and Tyler, because you know that whole awkwardness about how you took Tyler away from her must be HEALED.

11:51 AM  
Blogger harryh said...

Ancient Internet Lore ahead:

Gordon's Restatement of Newman's Corollary to Godwin's Law

Libertarianism (pro, con, and internal faction fights) is the primordial netnews discussion topic. Anytime the debate shifts somewhere else, it must eventually return to this fuel source.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. This was the first blog I've read that mentioned spanking.


8:01 PM  
Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

At my humble and little-read blog, we never discuss libertarianism -- despite the fact that I am frequently found on the campus of the University of Chicago. Perhaps this is why we are so little-read.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I read your blog, Adam. Regularly.

Maybe if you took a break from blogging about spanking all the time, you could fit in the occasional discussion of libertarianism.

3:07 PM  
Blogger jens said...'re an AWFUL tease. I searched Adam's blog for spanking references, and all I found was "on my brand new spanking used discman".

You should be ASHAMED of yourself!

5:27 PM  

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