An Army of Davids Attacks Barry C. Lynn
Last night, the Wonkettes left their respective apartments and headed out into the real world, to attend an exciting event at the National Press Club. The event, "An Army of Davids or the Triumph of Goliath?", was pitched as "a no-holds-barred debate" between these three giants: Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit himself, and author of the just-published An Army of Davids; Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean, and author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; and Barry C. Lynn, senior fellow at the New American Foundation, and author of End of the Line. (They are pictured above, from left to right: Lynn, Trippi, Reynolds, and moderator Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason.)
The topic of the debate was described as follows: "Do the Internet and other related technologies allow us to be more in control of our lives? Are politics, culture, and economics more responsive to individuals than ever before, or is more power becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands?"
After brief introductory remarks by the pink-tie-sporting Nick Schulz, editor of TCSDaily.com, and speaker intros by Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason, the speakers began their "no-holds-barred" debate. As it turned out, the tag team of Glenn Reynolds and Joe Trippi ganged up on Barry C. Lynn (no, not that Barry Lynn; the other one).
The audience listened, rapt with attention, as the speakers sparred with each other. The debate can be summarized as follows:
Reynolds and Trippi: "Three cheers for the internet! It's making the world a better and freer place. YAY!!!"
Lynn: "Bah, humbug! That's the virtual world. Let's focus on the real world. Wal-Mart is ruining all of our lives!"
The debate began with prepared remarks from the three speakers. Professor Reynolds argued against MSM predictions of blogging's demise, noting that blogging shouldn't be dismissed just because it's not a viable way of making a living for most people. With respect to the non-remunerative nature of blogging, he paraphrased Microsoft: "That's not a bug, that's a feature... People blog because it's fun. We are hard-wired to share our opinions and views with others."
Trippi echoed many of Reynolds's remarks, describing the rise of the internet and blogging as a communications shift comparable to the invention of the printing press. He expressed envy for Reynolds's great book title, "An Army of Davids," and said: "The question for the big guys is: The army of Davids is out there. Do you want to be Goliath -- or the slingshot?" Interesting -- we'll reflect on that tonight...
Trippi added: "We are in a critical period where the bottom is gaining in power." (Is he predicting a Tom Malin victory?)
Barry Lynn: "I'm this worried about the rise of global oligopolies."
Then Barry C. Lynn showed up to rain on everyone's parade, warning darkly of oligopolies, as well as waves of consolidation in the industries of razor blade, syringe, and canned soup manufacturing. (That's fine with us, since we don't like to shave; but it's bad news for all of you intravenous drug users and Campbell's Soup addicts.) Lynn also warned about "monotony power," which quite fittingly has something to do with Wal-Mart.
This was followed by a question-and-answer period. Reynolds accurately diagnosed our mixed feelings as bloggers about this whole working-from-home thing: "Oh great, I can work from home! Oh no, my work is taking over my home!" Trippi predicted that for 2008, some candidate will raise half a billion dollars. (Cough cough, Hillary.) Lynn talked about grain trading, ethanol, and WalMart, leaving us even more confused than we were before. (Maybe some pro-Wal-Mart bloggers can clear things up for us?)
"I can't believe we're actually meeting someone who writes on the Internet!"
After all this, we definitely needed a drink. Thankfully, the debate and book signing were followed by an open bar. As our host Nick Gillespie put it, "This is a celebration of open source, so we have an open bar. Please take what you want -- but drink what you take." So we took, and drank, and took and drank some more...
We've said it before, we'll say it again: Getting drunk with libertarians is fun!
We met some interesting people during the post-debate reception. We chatted for a while with Trevor Butterworth, the charmingly cynical journalist who wrote that long piece on blogs for the Financial Times. Butterworth didn't share Joe Trippi's enthusiasm for Glenn Reynolds's book title, An Army of Davids. Butterworth said sourly, "David didn't stay David. He graduated. It's a dumb metaphor."
The baby is actually the front-runner in the '08 Libertarian Party primaries.
"...someone's trying to regulate something. I can feel it.
In what seems to be a pattern for us, we met another Fun and Charming Lobbyist. FCL said he was so busy this time of year, it being earmark season and all, and he confidently predicted that "earmarks aren't going away anytime soon." FCL noted that many of lobbying reforms contain exceptions for "pre-existing friendships" between lobbyists and Hill staffers. "So I've been going around to all the staffers and saying, 'So, we have a pre-existing friendship, right?' And they're all like, 'Yeah, we sure do!'"
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Can we have another round of drinks over here? Our lobbyist friend is buying.