Megan McArdle takes a look at the madness of crowds:
I have a general rule for debates: he who loses his temper, loses. His supporters see him as righteously inflamed by the moronic arguments of the other side. But the rest of the audience sees him as bully with a case too weak to be made without screaming.
I’ve been pondering recently how this applies to blog discussions. Just as with live debates, losing your temper and fulminating about the many character deficits, general stupidity, and probable misbehavior of the target is perceived by people who already agree with you as the natural reaction to an opponent so morally bankrupt and thoroughly stupid that there is no point in wasting further time actually arguing with them. But how does it play to the rest of the audience?
Read the whole thing. The rest is about the stimulus debate, I swear.