…and you’ve all been issued with a golden ticket.
The few weeks’ closure I announced last November have turned into a few months. Sorry about that. But the break, apart from allowing me to clear a very large backlog of work, has enabled me to have a think about the direction LibertyGibbert should take from here on in.
Having become something of a lightning rod for the disaffections of a small group of posters, and subsequently becoming the recipient of abuse, slander, public exposure of my identity, and even—ultimately—death threats; and having scratched my head in vain wondering what I’d done to deserve all this, I had determined (with some justification, I think you’ll agree) to give blogging away for good. As I wrote to many of you at the time. I certainly have had plenty of alternative and productive ways of spending my time here on the farm; I decided to put LibertyGibbert behind me, and over the past Australian summer I worked out my rage hewing large tree trunks and disembowelling feral pests of the hopping and slithering varieties. Very cathartic, I must say.
I have to tell you however, over the past three months, I have been simply overwhelmed by your requests for me to reconsider my decision, and re-open LibertyGibbert. I had not realised the place had come to mean something for so many of you. More to the point, I’ve been truly humbled by the personal messages of support and goodwill I’ve received from posters and lurkers right round the world. I’ve tried to respond individually to each one of you, but please accept my apologies if I’ve missed anyone; rest assured that I have read them all. Coming at a time when I was rather down about it all, you’ve shown me that the good people in this world truly outnumber the rest, and by a long way. You’ve given me the encouragement I needed to reverse my decision and continue this project in 2011. My sincere thanks to you one and all. Particular thanks to Dr Dave, Crownarmourer, Amanda, Msher and Izen, whose advice and suggestions have been taken on board. I hope you enjoy the new format.
That said, there are going to be a few changes to the setup here; I’ll summarize them one by one:
Back to Basics
As you may recall, the blogging software problems experienced over at the UK Telegraph in June last year led me to invite the crew from James Delingpole’s blog over here to commiserate. I wanted everyone to feel at home, so I changed the blog’s focus from Libertarianism to Global Warming. At the time, I imagined that the problems at the Tele would be resolved in short order, and those mainly interested in AGW would then drift back over there, which did not prove to be the case. While it certainly increased the traffic round here, it did tend to paint LibertyGibbert into a bit of a thematic corner.
As some of you have noted, there are already many excellent blogs out there dedicated solely to AGW. And while we have held many worthwhile discussions on the subject, I don’t think LibertyGibbert added much to the debate that was particularly new, with the two notable exceptions of Locust’s revelations regarding the views of the Chinese Government, and of course Fenbeagle’s masterly artwork. Both Locusts and Fen now have their own blogs, and given that posters at the Tele appear to have come to terms with the shortcomings of the new Disqus blogging software, I think it’s now high time for me to concentrate on the purpose for which I originally created LibertyGibbert.
On that note, I should also point out that I’ll no longer be promoting this blog at the Telegraph, or even posting there (not as Ozboy, at any rate). I’d appreciate it if you also don’t make a big deal of my re-opening over there. This is meant as no disrespect to, or difference with, James Delingpole; quite the opposite, in fact. He’s still the God-Emperor, (and now with a Bastiat Prize to prove it) and in the broad scheme of all things bloggish, his place is where the real fight is being waged; LibertyGibbert, by comparison, was never more than a minor side-show. I was horrified when the blow-up down here spilled over onto his blog; the last thing he needs over there is the public spectacle of his own supporters fighting amongst themselves, and I for one am not going to precipitate a re-occurrence. (Update: following much encouragement from you, I’ve relented and am now posting occasionally at the Tele. Once again, many thanks for your support)
Too Many Cooks…
You’ll notice the Rare Scribbling section has disappeared. I’m sorry about this, but you all saw what ensued when I started offering a platform here for other people’s literary endeavours. While from a blogging point of view it was an abject failure (the combined lifetime total of page hits for the entire section barely topped one hundred), its purpose was no more or less than me trying to extend a friendly hand to those who appeared to spend a great deal of time down here. But given that hand is today still swathed in bandages, I’m making it very clear this time round that LibertyGibbert has only one proprietor, and that’s me.
While I will be focussing on Libertarian issues, I reserve the right to digress through my own idiosyncratic highways and byways; if that means reduced patronage, so be it. But in my world view, taking responsibility for your own life is a very broad subject indeed, and a rich and deep vein to mine; you may have got some sense of this in LibertyGibbert’s non-AGW posts last year. Expect to see sections on permaculture and organic gardening, home brewing, cooking and other aspects of self-sufficient living.
I’ll still be inviting guest posts from time to time, but anyone wishing to contribute to LibertyGibbert this time round will need to understand they are doing so with no strings attached; I won’t again hold hostage to fortune that a contributor at some later date finds something on this site objectionable, and demands their earlier work removed.
Like any other blog, all comments here will now be pre-moderated. I know several of you thought I was crazy allowing an unmoderated forum on such a contentious subject as AGW, let alone drug prohibition, and told me so in no uncertain terms. In hindsight, you couldn’t have been more right. Given that LibertyGibbert this year will be exploring subjects even more highly-charged—gun control, abortion and voluntary euthanasia to name just three—maintaining a safe blogging environment becomes an imperative. Don’t I know it.
Now, I don’t wish to detract from the spontaneity of the old “Ozboy’s Bar-and-Grill”, but neither do I want a repeat of last year’s headaches. I will generally be around in Australian daylight hours, which translate to late afternoon-evening in the USA, and late evening-early hours in the UK. Comments in these hours should get through pretty quickly. I will also play around with the WordPress moderation settings as we go, to try and find a happy medium.
I want to encourage a friendly atmosphere, but while I am happy to host robust debate (indeed, I will again be inviting contrarians round to participate in debates on specific issues) I intend to head off needless ad hominem abuse and won’t hesitate this time to kick out the offenders. It’s no betrayal of Libertarianism’s principles to do so; indeed, as I have since learned, for me to fail to do so is to trample on the liberty of everyone else present. Anyone wishing to brawl is welcome to leave: the cyber-parking lot outside is very, very large. We’re once again a family establishment.
So there it is: LibertyGibbert is back in business, this time as a smaller, quieter and somewhat less raucous hole-in-the-wall corner of the blogosphere. I’ve got my first thread lined up for a couple of days’ time. It’s an important one, in the context of this site, as it examines in detail one of the fundamental principles of Libertarianism; many of the articles I’ll be writing over the next year will refer back to it.
See you all then!