God Blog Con owes its existance to Hugh Hewitt, who is here today at Biola doing his afternoon radio broadcast from the room where I’m typing this. It was Hewitt’s idea to gather Christian bloggers together to talk about the influence of blogging on the world, and especially how Christian bloggers can shape culture.
This is my first time to see Hugh live, though I listen to his radio broadcasts frequently (when the signal reaches the rarified air of the little town north of Tucson where I live).
Hugh Hewitt is a very articulate writer/blogger and a very good interviewer. He is speaking at the moment with Jonah Goldberg on the Harriet Miers nomination, a subject that has divided conservatives like no other in recent memory. My own view is that the arguments against Miers consist primarily of saying that she doesn’t have the gravitas for the job, an elitist argument that I find rather mean-spirited.
But it does seem that she has never expressed an opinion on anything of substance, and I wonder how that’s possible, and what it means in terms of convictions about ones values and beliefs.
It also seems to be the case, and we discussed this a bit this morning in one of our sessions, that we have come to the point in political rhetoric where an opinion that doesn’t meet with the approval of the crowd tends to be shouted down these days. There is a lack of civility about controversial opinions, a sense that one should not say unpopular things, and if one does, that that fact is enough to cast doubt on one’s sanity or fitness for public office.
In other words, only stealth candidates for public office need apply.
Vigorous debate is vital to a democratic society, if it is not to become a tyranny of the majority, or the politically correct. Debating controversial issues is the way we have always developed a concensus. Shouting down controversial ideas is chilling to free speech, and totally against the best traditions of western democracy.
The room here is filled to capacity with onlookers, mostly Biola students and bloggers attending GodBlogCon. Hugh is at a table in front, boom microphone at his mouth, with 2 additional microphones set up on a table to his left where guests from the conference are seated to be interviewed. To his right is a table where the engineers are seated. Back at Hugh’s studio, another engineer is lining up interviewees who are joining the broadcast by telephone. It’s an interesting process made possible by digital communications technologies.
The worry on the right about Miers is that she will turn out to be squishy on the issues. Not just Roe, but basic judicial philosophy. Does she in fact have a commitment to a strict interpretation of the constitution? Or will she be swayed by the pressure groups after ascending to the court to appease those who want to legislate from the judicial bench?
My own feeling is that there are too many eggheads on the court now who have little experience in the “real world.” Miers has that in spades.