If I went around picking my friends by their politics, life would be dull indeed. True, there are certain personalities I can't abide, but generally what makes them obnoxious is their behavior rather than their beliefs. The problem with labels like "Liberal" or "Republican" is that they allow us to trivialize or dismiss those in other camps, when in fact they may be engaging and excellent company and folks with whom we may otherwise have much in common. This may help to explain how Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy can maintain a genuinely personal friendship that rises above partisan politics (as also, rumor has it, do Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia). It also explains why I read a number of conservative bloggers whose politics I do not share, and few if any liberal ones.
So naturally I am delighted that Tigerhawk thought to pass along to me the tidbit that the Instapundit himself is into blacksmithing, saying; "Your politics may differ but something tells me, Tim, that you would hit it off with Glenn Reynolds…" Absolutely. I could bond with Alaric the Visigoth over handmade chain mail, though not if he were putting Rome to the torch. This perhaps makes me less doctrinally a Democrat, which is fine by me. Keep 'em guessing, and the labels get harder to stick. Then maybe we can move from positions to positive outcomes. Or at the very least put the party back into Parties.
So I'd love to meet Glenn Reynolds, and talk about what interests we have in common and swap stories about do-it-yourself armor and adventures in home-tanned deer hide. Maybe even discover that we care about even more momentous things and offer each other a fresh perspective on a shared concern. Some of the the best diplomatic outcomes have emerged from such relationships among reasonable people with very different world views. In such cases, familiarity is the antidote to contempt.