Sunday, October 15, 2006


Unlike conservative talk radio, left-wing Air America Radio is in financial trouble. And William Safire's "On Language" in today's NY Times writes about the etymology of rant.

It seems that right-wing rants have an audience and left-wing rants less so. Yet about as many Americans vote for Democrats as Republicans. So what gives?

I am currently enjoying Eric Beinhocker's The Origin of Wealth. Like so many other recent books that feature discussions of economics (David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations, for example), it reminds us that serious people now take property seriously. It was not always so and property is still thought be exotic and/or sinister in many circles (NPR, Dan Rather, Bill Maher, many precincts of U.S. universities, etc.).

Most Americans now own property -- most auspiciously, their own homes as well as 401k's and the like. To most people, the idea of property is coherent while the socialist critique is exotic and/or sinister.

Rants, seemingly, go down better when coherent. What has the left to offer? According to Brad Hill, their remaining trade is critique when the right misfires. It seems that this can win frustrated voters and even elections but it cannot sustain a regular large audience.