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Centre forward

January 31st, 2003

Everyone loves to argue about classifications. In his new (but perhaps temporary) blog, Ken Parish divides Ozploggers (political bloggers) into three roughly equal groups: “Left-ish, Right-ish, and Centre-ish”. There’s not too much doubt about the first two groups. Most of the “left-ish” ploggers, including me, write from the kind of position that used to be called ‘Left Labor’. Most of the “right-ish” ones, of whom Tim Blair is the most prominent, are part of the US-centred “warblogger” circle. Since I have little to say this group and vice versa, only a few of them are listed on my blogroll.

Inevitably, the centre group is the most problematic. Most of those in those group are either moderate and sensible right-of-centre ploggers like Gareth Parker and Scott Wickstein, or what I’ve called ‘cultural and satirical’ bloggers like Bright Cold Day. The fact that the centre of Ozplogistani politics is still a bit to the right of Oz politics in general is not surprising – a year or so ago the bias was much more marked.

But the classification has raised some issues for “Centre-ish” Jason Soon who, it has been suggested, is moving steadily to the left. Both comments by Ron Mead, and the rather grumpy departure of Mark Harrison from Catallaxy have raised this point.

In response, Jason has put forward a “Purpose statement” or Short lexicon of beliefs , which can be broadly summarised as strongly libertarian in terms of civil liberties, strongly market-oriented but nevertheless basically social-democratic in economic policy, and cautious in terms of foreign policy.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Jason has shifted position much in the time I’ve been debating issues with him. Rather, some aspects of his position have become apparent that were previously obscured. First, like a lot of people (including me) who supported the war in Afghanistan and the war on terror more generally, Jason is chary about the rush to war with Saddam Hussein. Second, in debates with me and others, Jason has made it clear that his support for social welfare policies is genuine, rather than being a rhetorical fig-leaf as it is for many advocates of free-market policies.

Will I follow Jason’s example? Not for the moment. Apart from the occasional bit of rhetorical abuse, I don’t seem to have much of a problem with people misperceiving my political standpoint, even when my opinions on particular issues aren’t quite what they might expect. So I’ll think I’ll blog my views one post at a time for now.

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