Ape Man's guide to the Internet: The Belmont Club

It is somewhat absurd to write a review of Richard Fernandez‘ blog ‘The Belmont Club‘. All of those who might be interested in The Belmont Club have probably come across it already. It has got to be one of the most widely read political blogs out there.

But I read the Belmont Club often enough that I feel I owe it a review. After all, that is why I started the Ape Man. I wanted a place where I could comment on what I was reading on the internet without messing up my essay site. I have gotten a little off track from that goal lately for a variety of reasons, but I hope to get back on track.

Anyway….

When I first came across the Belmont Club, my first thought was that if William F. Buckley blogged, this is what it would look like. That is to say, Fernandez came across as a decent guy who could write. Sadly, there are not many conservative bloggers out there who can pass both of those tests.

Fernandez and Buckley do have some things in common beyond the fact that they both are well-read and well-mannered. After all, they are both male conservatives and they both went to Ivy League schools (Buckley to Yale and Fernandez to Harvard). But I think that a lot of what makes Fernandez an interesting blogger stems from a background that was radically different Buckley’s.

You see, Fernandez does not live in the US. He grew up in the Philippines where he had a job in forestry inspection among other things. He later decided to immigrate to Australia where he had to retool (to use his words) as a software developer. As far as I know, that is what he still does for a living.

I think that coming from a third world country accounts for some of the things that make Fernandez different from your average conservative blogger. For example, he seems to have a profound fear that western institutions and values might prove to be fragile when put to the test. I have to wonder if coming from a third world country lies at the foundation of that fear.

After all, when you have lived in a country where the institutions don’t function all that well, it has to change your perspective somewhat on those countries where the institutions still function. In Fernandez’ case it seems have both made him value western institutions more and cause him to worry that they might not last.

Of course, a lot of conservatives profess to have that fear. But most of the time it does not seem that genuine to me. For one thing, a lot of them seem to look forward to it. There train of reasoning seems to go “I wish our institutions would fail so that we won’t have so many restraints on how many people we can kill.” But for Fernandez it is more like, “I got out of a country where political violence and oppression were common; I don’t want to live in another one.”

To my knowledge Fernandez has never used those exact words. But that is how he comes across to me. He genuinely seems to worry about the effect of the war on terrorism on our values and way of life. He is afraid of the west winning the war on terrorism and losing our soul in the process.

Unfortunately, these fears do not seem to have caused Fernandez to come up with any original ideas. He mostly recycles the standard conservative lines.

This is a shame. If Fernandez had a little more in the way of original thought, he would be one of the greatest bloggers around. As it is, I mostly read him to keep up on what the current issues are in conservative circles in the foreign policy arena.

I suppose this not a bad thing. I want to keep up with what is current in conservative circles and Fernandez helps provide me with what I want. And he does it with well crafted writing, good manners, and a conscience I can identify with. It is far better than going to one of those sites that are always trash talking.

Still, I can’t but help think that Fernandez could be more than he is if he only stretched himself a little.

(as a side note, my two fans might be interested to note that I had Fernandez, Spengler, and a few others in mind when I wrote this essay)

One Response to “Ape Man's guide to the Internet: The Belmont Club”

  1. […] _uacct = “UA-1202685-1”; urchinTracker(); Map of the Ethereal Land The Ethereal Voice Front Page – Politics – Money – Knowledge – Art – Food – Fun Masthead About Ape Man’s guide to the Internet: The Belmont Club By Ape Man | May 3, 2007 – 8:26 pm Posted in Category: Politics It is somewhat absurd to write a review of Richard Fernandez‘ blog ‘The Belmont Club‘. All of those who might be interested in The Belmont Club have probably come across it already. It has got to be one of the most widely read political blogs out there. But I read the Belmont Club often enough Click Here to continue reading. […]

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