Blogging midlife crisis

The end of the modern world, etc has ended.  The Western Confucian has announced that he’ll be retiring soon.  Don Colacho’s Aphorisms has completed itself.  Several other of my blogroll links (Off the RecordZippy CatholicCosmos, Liturgy, Sex) have long since gone silent or disappeared entirely.  Witnessing the end of blogs, it hits me:  this isn’t a young blog anymore.  I’m often still in the mindset that I’m “establishing myself” on the internet, but really, this site is over two years old.  That’s about the lifetime for many blogs.  This is a middle-aged blog, not a blog on the rise.  I’ve got up to around 500 hits per day, and that’s probably as high as I’m going (or even want to go):  I’ve saturated the audience for a blog like this.  Like a man confronting his mortality upon the death of friends, I ask myself:  What do I want to do with this blog long-term?  And how long do I want to keep it going?

Short-term the answer is simple:  coast.  I spent a lot of time ironing out the philosophy on which this blog is based and putting it down in my longer essays.  Now I can just let current events roll in and apply my philosophy to them.  Actually, this “easier” stuff has done better at bringing in readers than my more involved essay and book review efforts.  My last really big essay, “Aristotle and Evolution”, just about killed my readership, because for a month I posted nothing but one long-running philosophical argument.  To be honest, if it were some other blogger doing something like this, I probably wouldn’t read it.  Why did I expect other people to?

The thing about the essays, though, is that they’re more for me than for anyone else.  They force me to do a lot of research and hard thinking.  Long-term, that’s the only thing that gets me excited.  Ironically, I have a very progressive mindset.  Just standing still and turning over the same ideas doesn’t seem worthwhile as my sole recreation (which is what this blog is).  What’s more, I feel the need to produce something, even with my leisure.  There’s no reason that I shouldn’t spend my free time contemplating the mystery of the Trinity, say, but it only really seems worthwhile to me if I end up publishing some conclusions.  Maybe it’s the “YOU MUST PUBLISH” mindset I’ve picked up in academia.  It may not be healthy, but it’s there.

I’m nowhere near calling it quits.  (Sorry Dan.)  From all the dead blogs I’ve come across, there several reasons people quit.

  1. The burn out.  They get tired of spending all their time bitching about the liberals, the feminists, or whatever.  They decide to put all that aside and concentrate on family, friends, and other more pleasant (and more important) things.
  2. They had something limited and definite to say, and they’ve said it.
  3. They get too busy to continue.

I’ve never heard of someone quitting because they lost their audience, but then I wouldn’t hear about those cases, would I?

In my case though, I’ve got a lot more material in my head.  (The challenge is making time to write posts.)  Writing essays and posts makes the time I spend thinking about religion and politics seem more worthwhile and more serious.  And there’s the fact that I’ve got this audience now, and when I lose it, it’s not coming back.  If I’ve got anything to say, I’d better say it now.

Long-term, I’ve got some new projects in mind.  I’ve been wanting to do

  1. An essay on climate modeling–what we can and can’t trust.  It seems like reactionaries might appreciate having someone with my training and their sympathies going over the science.  Also, I’m teaching a class in radiation hydrodynamics in the fall, so maybe I could mine this material for examples and homework problems.
  2. An commentary on the first chapter of Genesis.  Since I read the last two books of Augustine’s Confessions, I’ve been fired up about this.  I’ve got a feeling this one might never happen though, because I’ll never take the time to read enough of the commentary literature already out there.
  3. An essay on the Trinity–a culmination of my religion essays with an actual defense of Christianity.  I’ve got major pieces of the argument in place, but I want to read through what the Church Fathers had to say on this subject before I start mouthing off.
  4. A non-physicist’s introduction to quantum field theory, so that non-scientists will be ready to rebut claims that virtual particles invalidate the cosmological argument and stuff like that.  Also to give an idea how cool this stuff is.
  5. Some posts fleshing out neofeudalism.  I’ll probably make some efforts in this direction, but, really, if economics is what you’re interested in, you should be reading Collapse:  The Blog.  Proph has more-or-less similar sympathies as this blog, and he’s done his homework.

Of course, given my schedule, it may take years to get to these things.  Who knows if anyone will still be reading this blog by then?  Blogs don’t last forever.

22 Responses

  1. Well, if you ever get burnt out, instead of closing the blog you could go on sabbatical or hiatus or something, but it sounds like you’ve got a lot of things to say still. 😉

  2. I hope you put in some more essays; they’re definitely my favourite part of the blog.

    You can always count on me to keep reading you, by the way. 🙂

  3. Hello Leo,

    Thanks. I’m glad somebody reads the longer stuff.

  4. What do I want to do with this blog long-term? And how long do I want to keep it going?

    Create some sort of group or small organization with the aims of opposing the current liberal order. Get collaborators aboard. Of course that may take decades and just not a couple of days so that’s a good plan for something long-term.

    P.S. I’ll be deleting my blog in about 2-3 years and then create a new website. Cheers Bonald on your endeavours.

  5. I’m somewhere between 1 and 3. I also changed jobs to one that eats up far more of my time, and that has an impact as well. I had to lay off for 2-3 weeks because I simply lacked the time and motivation.

    Keep on keepin’ on, my friend.

  6. Dear Bonald,

    If you are taking votes from your readership, may I vote for the climate essay as your next long-term project? I think many reactionaries would really benefit from having that available.

    John Lockhard

  7. Thanks. Reader feedback like this is helpful.

  8. Hello Mr. Bonald,

    The longer essays are also my favourite part of the blog. The “In defense of *” series and the “The Conservative View of Authorithy” are very well argued, cogent pieces. In fact, some of them do prompt me to ask for your permission to translate it to Portuguese. I do get excellent suggestions from the book reviews section too. Another suggestion is to combine other sources (I can think of a couple of third-party essays) to keep expanding and refining your taxonomy of the right (perhaps in some sort of collaborative manner, if you consider this appropriate).
    +1 vote for the Climate Change essay.

    Best Regards,

    Marcio Silva

  9. You know, something like a truly collaborational alt-right magazine might just not be a bad idea. It would certainly be a challenge to the “mainstream” “alt-right” sex-addled degenerate libertarians over at The Spearhead et al.

    Thanks again for the link and kind words!

  10. If we’re making requests for newer projects, I’d personally enjoy the introduction to QM.

  11. I would vote against doing anything on Climate Change, as a waste of time and bad for your soul.

    The problem with climate science is that (as astrononomer Patrick Moore used to say) ‘We just don’t know’.

    We don’t know what causes the world to be one temperature rather than another. We don’t even know what caused the ice ages! or why they ended.

    We don’t understand the weather.

    The climate change story is a story of people claiming to know, claiming to understand, predict and (good grief!) to *control* (to within half a degree, for heavens sake) things about which humans have near-zero knowledge.

    In sum, it is a story of the biggest scam in human history.

    My point is that it is not about science, it is about incompetence and lies – it seems a misapplication of scientific ability to take it seriously enough to ‘refute’ stuff that isn’t even trying to be honest or accurate.

    When there is (almost) nothing but incompetence and lies (plus greed and tyranny), you don’t need science – you need a garbage can.

  12. Hello alcestiseshtemoa,

    I like this idea very much. Since you and Mark Tully are already working on it, though, I think I’ll just join whatever you come up with.

    I’m impressed, by the way, that you’re thinking years ahead.

  13. Collaborations like that do seem like a good idea. I think this is why, for example, a few bloggers recently formed “Traditional Christianity”: to consolidate their readership and be able to have a site where new posts are appearing every day. I think a collaboration would be most useful in a group with complementary interests, so there would be an “in-house” expert in lots of different fields or traditions.

  14. Hello Marcio,

    Thank you. You’re certainly welcome to translate and post whatever you think would be of interest to people. I think I probably will start on the climate essay first, because it meshes with my work best right now.

  15. Hi Bruce,

    My impression (before doing actual research) is that it’s not that bad, although climate scientists certainly exaggerate their ability to make reliable predictions when addressing the public. This is an inevitable result of scientists entering the political process, whether in a good cause or not. I’m hoping they’ll be less obnoxious in actual textbooks not designed for a large public. And if it is all a scam, I would like to know.

  16. A propos of nothing in particular, I think you might like this blog: Firmus et Rusticus.

  17. The difficulty is that you may be accepting the huge initial errors in attempting to check smaller later validity.

    The big initial claim of AGW proponents is that they *understand* the causes of global temperature (specifically that the main driver is CO2). What evidence is there that they understand climate?

    Well, what kind of evidence *could* there be, in principle? – the answer is only one type of evidence would be strong evidence of their understanding: precise and successful predictions.

    Predictions concern the future. And there have been no successful predictions.

    Well, a weaker kind of prediction is when you use one data set to generate an hypothesis, and then another independent data set to check it (and the process of checking needs to be done more than once, to be confident).

    By this criterion there have been no successful predictions.

    SO… what kind of ‘evidence’ *is* there that the AGW people understand the deterimants of global climate? Only that they are able to generate post hoc models of climate. Which means precisely nothing.

    Some of these climate models have of course been proven to be incompetent, others have been proven to be faked – but even if they had not been incompetent or faked, they would still not be evidence. They are merely a matter of making a statistical summary of a complex data set – worthless as an hypothesis unless tested against future data/ independent data.

    I have been an epidemiologist, and have seen this kind of nonsense many times – but never leading to the massive international government campaigns and trillions of dollars of expenditure and totalitarian political policies (eg on the excuse that CO2 is a ‘pollutant’).

    This is unprecedented in world history. The difficulty is in believing that it really has happened, that we have really lived through it – that it has become mandatory in a way and scale which matches but dwarfs Lysenkoism.

    (I saw it all unfold step by step, since I was engaged by Green/ environmental matters from the publication of Small is Beautiful in 1973, and was following the subject of ‘climate change’ since reading (and believing) James Lovelock from about 1986 onwards. In those days methane was the big greenhouse gas – and CO2 regarded as much too weak in its effect. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t! And nobody ever mentioned methane any more.)

  18. Hi Bruce,

    This is one thing I’m wanting to check. I know they use some features in the climate history data to calibrate some of their unknown parameters, but that’s okay as long as there’s lots more data to be explained/checked against than what you have is a significant prediction of some past data based on other past data and not just a fit. And that’s something I need to look at the details to see. I remember seeing a climate modeling talk at an American Physical Society meeting some time ago, and I went away with the impression that they were just using lots of freely-specifiable functions to force the model to fit the data. Before that, though, I went to another climate talk that seemed more legit. But really, my impressions don’t mean anything until I’ve looked at things on my own.

  19. Stephen, so nice to hear from you again!

  20. More philosophy- moral, political and Christian. The more obscure and medeival-inspired the subject matter the better.

  21. The challenge with collaboration are all the issues Bonald mentioned (time, material, etc) plus organizing it all.

    I’m flattered still that Bonald would attribute some of these efforts to me, but I’m finding the biggest hurdles to community building are time and explaining the purpose. I was laid off recently among other things, so I spend quite a bit of time trying to find work and money than I do writing about the far right. Beyond that, it becomes too easy for sites that aim at collaboration to be taken as just another blog or magazine. I’m not sure how to move beyond that and how to get enough people interested who would be vested in the long term.

    I for one think that Bonald has more to say. Regardless of whether other people’s long term ventures fail or not, I’m hoping that he’ll continue saying what he has to say.

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