Dispatches From the Moderate Left

Monday, May 09, 2005


I'm starting this blog more as an outlet for the thoughts that bump around in my head than because I want or expect people to read them. It will be almost exclusively a collection of my political thoughts, it's not intended to be any form of online diary. I intend to post two or three dispatches each week which will range from commentary on current political events to thoughts on older issues and (occasionally) reviews of political books. I will generally confine myself to Australian and US politics, the former because I live there, the latter because it's more interesting than local politics and impacts on it in the long run. I'll flag which country the post is relevant to in the title of the post. I study Law/Commerce (economics specialisation) so some of what I write will be from that perspective.

I've described myself as being of the moderate left which I like to think puts me in the reality-based community, unlike both the radical left and the far right a lot of the time. My overall political views have been unashamedly influenced by The New Republic in the last year or so, a publication which espouses a relatively consistent, intellectually honest, moral, (small-l) liberal philosophy which resonates well with my political world view. I would describe myself as a political liberal who believes in market mechanisms and globalisation, but also true-cost economics and fair trade. Also, while I'm a committed Christian I believe in a bright line wall of seperation between church and state – you can’t legislate peculiarly Christian morality and political power corrupts religious leaders as surely as it does politicians. I also don't that believe being a liberal is a sin Over the course of my posts I'll snipe at both the left and the right and if I disproportionately attack the former it's only because you expect the most from those closest to you.

The sources I will be drawing on are reasonably wide, but by no means exhaustive. From the moderate left I read The Age newspaper daily, TNR weekly and Salon, Slate (more centrist, to be fair), The Economist and New Scientist fairly regularly. From the attack-dog left I read Kos and Atrios whenever I’m online. From the radical left I read the excellent, if occasionally extreme, Adbusters magazine monthly and both Democratic Underground and Indymedia fairly regularly. From the right I dip into the hate filled worlds of Little Green Footballs, Andrew Bolt and the Free Republic whenever I feel up to it. For mainstream Conservative positions I rely on mainstream media sources, Slate and the odd TNR article written by a Conservative pundit – I realise I should read the National Review or something but it just doesn’t interest me enough. I'm also in the process of reading a political book most of the time and as I said before, will post reviews of them sometimes.

Feel free to drop by when you have the time and read whatever interests you. Comments will be left open but I probably won’t get into lengthy discussions. I hope to be doing this for a while and then look back in years to come and laugh at how silly I was to put all this on the internet. But, hey, self indulgence and the internet go hand in hand....


  • Hi PB,

    I'm with you here for the grand opening and will certainly hang around for a while.

    I may be a tad farther left than you, but I regularly read both of the lefty blogs you mention. If you care to drift a bit to the portside, let me recommend Ted Rall (http://www.rall.com/) and Tom Tomorrow
    (http://www.thismodernworld.com/). If you enjoy those, I can introduce you to some stronger stuff.

    I also highly recommend Air America radio, available streaming as well as on the air.

    I started out as a TNR type, but I'm afraid I've become somewhat radicalized by the arrival of the Bush regime. I came of age in the Vietnam era, and must say what we have today is worse, far worse.

    Anyway, I'll be back once you get a topic started. Thanks for the invitation!

    Charles Watkins

    By Blogger Charles Watkins, at 3:17 PM  

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