After much consideration, The Rational Middle will be switching to a completely donor-supported business model. No more advertising (with the notable exception of my upcoming book) will be allowed on these pages. I have danced the dance for too long; if the ads don’t match my readers, I have little chance of being paid. However, if I indulge in ad screening, I am exercising an editorial censorship that I have committed to avoid. Loyal readers will know my comment policy well; so long as it isn’t crude or abusive, it will stand (whilst I reserve the right to comment on it). Should the commercials that support the forum be any different?
At the risk of sounding like a PBS pledge-drive (where are Rick Steves and Burt Wolf when you need them), this move could not be made without the support of those who have been willing (and in these difficult times, able) to donate. I hope to continue to earn your financial support, but there is another kind of support at least as important. Nothing drives this process as resolutely as your comments and your efforts to share this blog. Your efforts have moved articles to the top of social media platforms, and gained this space a readership beyond my wildest dreams. More so even than money, your conversation (regardless of agreement) and your tireless promotion of this space are contributions beyond value. It has become something of a farce in our society, the notion of new media, but regular readers have the capacity to elevate these little spots to places barely dreamed.
In the summer of 2009, perhaps a dozen people read this blog from time to time. Friends and family were the only members of The Rational Middle for some months. I can recall wondering if this idea would ever grow into something worth the time invested. I wondered whether I would ever get more than friends and family to read these sometimes pedestrian essays. Tens of thousands of readers later, I have learned that this blog has not grown beyond friends and family, the list of friends and family have grown with this blog. To all of you; the liberals with whom I share a common point of view, and the conservatives with whom I may share only a love of country, I thank you. (And yes, even you libertarians!) There are many more important sites on the web (and perhaps thousands with better writing), but this space is ours.
Thanks to you, The Rational Middle is listening…