Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Farewell Post

This is the final post at Burkean Reflections. I've been thinking about retiring from blogging for a couple of months now. Sometime toward the end of 2006 writing my daily entries became less exciting. I started to notice the opportunity costs of blogging more acutely -- perhaps I might make better use of my time by reading more, or spending more time with my wife and sons.

I was influenced in my decision to retire
by this post by Michael Berube, who's the author of the recent book, What's So Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Berube asked himself: "Why not just cut down a bit," posting less frequently:

I’ve tried that, actually, but it doesn’t work. Blog maintenance on this scale is a daily, sometimes hourly thing, regardless of whether there’s a new post up.
Berube mentions the problem of "invisible blogging," which is the constant mental occupation of thinking about and planning for the next post, or the next couple of posts. This process is actually quite healthy in that I found myself reading more widely in journalism and the commentary press than had been the case for me in recent years. Yet, after awhile the limitations of this medium became more apparent. It's become harder to find new and interesting things to say. On most of the topics on which I can claim some modest expertise -- black politics and civil rights, international security and the balance of power, or perhaps voting and elections -- I've commented upon regularly, and said probably all that I can, at least from my knowledge and perspective.

This week, for example, I thought about posting on
Joseph Lieberman's essay on Iraq from Monday's Wall Street Journal. Lieberman's something of a political hero to me right now. I have a deep affinity for his political persuasions, and he's got one of the most fascinating stories of political accomplishment and survival on the contempory American scene. But I've posted a few times already on the Connecticut Senator and I don't have much more to add. I thought as well about putting up a post this week on Heather MacDonald's penetrating new essay at City Journal on the University of California's decade-long campaign to evade the state's restrictions on affirmative action, codified by the voter-approved initiative Proposition 209 from 1996. Yet, I've written many times about affirmative action -- see this post for example, which was recently cited on the pro-affirmative action website Diversity, Inc. -- and I realized once again that there's not much new I can add on that topic

In any case, I've written almost daily for exactly ten months. I've put my heart and soul into this medium and I've worked hard at it. I've posted close to 500 entries since I started, and it's with a little sadness and ambivalence that I hang up the keyboard. Perhaps I'll pick up blogging again at a later date, if the bug gets me once again. Until then, I want to thank the handful of readers who have checked in now and then to read and comment. I've enjoyed immensely meeting some new blogging friends, and I've learned tremendously from my blogging experience all around. In my inaugural post I wrote:

My hope is that this blog allows me to share my knowledge, as well as vent my concerns and frustrations, and in so doing I might contribute to positive and pragmatic political stability and moderately progressive change.
Blogging has indeed allowed me to share my knowledge and frustrations, and I might have, by chance, even enlightened a few interested readers. I can't know, however, to what degree I've contributed to political stability or progressive change. I can say that the effort has been fun and engaging, and I wish the best to all of those who happen upon the blog long after this farewell entry is recorded.

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