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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006



posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
Kevin Drum and his readers at The Washington Monthly have added a new term to the blogger lexicon: "nutpicking"

Last night I held a contest to create a name for the moronic practice of trawling through open comment threads in order to find a few wackjobs who can be held up as evidence that liberals are nuts. It's both lazy and self-refuting, since if the best evidence of wackjobism you can find is a few anonymous nutballs commenting on a blog, then the particular brand of wackjobism you're complaining about must not be very widespread after all.

I find this actually to be a fairly cogent observation on human behavior. I am often on the defensive against nutpickers who for example interpret Islam through the narrow lens of the violent fringe, and Jews, Catholics, Italians, and pretty every other identity group has had to deal with much the same phenomenon. Drum's Law as stated above is focused more on politics becuse it's a naturally binarized arena in which demonization of the Other is the currency of the realm - one needn't look far to see examples. It seems like it should be easier to see what the decent majority has in common rather than focus on the differences at the extremes, but in truth the short-term advantage to be gained by nutpicking is just too irrestible. Purple politics is about making the effort.


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Nutpicking example here:


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.