More academic blogging, the Left tries to reach the Right

Continuing the theme of new blogs, Left2Right, which boasts such contributors as Elizabeth Anderson, Joshua Cohen, Steven Shiffrin, Richard Rorty, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, has been covered extensively in the blogosphere.  In its own words,

“[M]any of us have come to believe that the Left must learn how to speak more effectively to ears attuned to the Right.  How can we better express our values?  Can we learn from conservative critiques of those values?  Are there conservative values that we should be more forthright about sharing?  ‘Left2Right’ will be a discussion of these and related questions.” 

I’ve been reading it regularly and watching the comments, which try hard not to veer into ad hominem attacks.  But political dialogue and debate do appear to be a hard things these days, even for Left2Right, as this story (via suggests.

“It’s a nice idea, but will the blog succeed? Let’s just say it’s a work in progress. On Nov. 28, for example, blogging in what was intended to be a compassionate tone about red-staters unwilling to enter into dialogue with thinkers like himself, Appiah opined, ‘It’s not that no-nothings [sic] are sure we’re wrong, it’s that they’re sure we’ll win the argument, because we’re better at arguing.’ An interlocutor with the screen-name Conservative replied, ‘If I’ve read this right, it sounds pretty contemptful [sic].’ Another visitor sneered, ‘You can’t even spell `know-nothings’ and you expect us to buy that . . . we feel inferior?'”

Lindsay Beyerstein’s take on it characteristically offers some food for thought.