Type of site
|Libertarian transhumanism blog|
|Created by||Glenn Reynolds|
Instapundit is a United States political blog produced by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee. The blog began in August 2001 as an experiment, and a part of Reynolds' class on Internet law. A 2007 memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee described him as one of the five "best-read national conservative bloggers," though Reynolds says he's not a conservative, but a libertarian.
Instapundit frequently covers the War on Terrorism from a supportive-but-critical viewpoint. Other common topics are technology (such as nanotechnology), space exploration, human longevity, digital photography, individual liberty and gun politics, domestic policy, the media, and the blogosphere as a social phenomenon. Reynolds has also lent his support to the Porkbusters campaign, which exposes and roots out misallocation of federal funds.
Much of Instapundit's content consists of links to other sites, often with brief comments. (His frequent use of "heh," "indeed," and "read the whole thing" have been widely imitated and are often parodied by other bloggers.) Reynolds encourages readers to explore the wider blogosphere and to fully read articles and posts to which he links. Since 2005, Reynolds has at times added original video reports, shot documentary-style, to the site. He covered the 2005 BlogNashville convention using video he shot himself. In January 2006, Reynolds began to host podcasts from Instapundit, along with his wife Dr. Helen Smith (who hosted discussion of the podcasts on her blog). The blogcasts have now given way to a video series on PajamasMedia called InstaVision, which Reynolds hosts individually (his wife contributes to PJM as well, but usually as a separate blogger).
Reynolds aggressively promotes the idea that bloggers, using now widely available tools such as digital audio and video, will eventually force established news media to adapt a more agile approach to providing information, though he does not believe "that blogs will replace Big Media".
Because of the blog's popularity, an Instapundit link to another site can cause the traffic of that site to spike. Such an increase is often referred to as an Instalanche, or 'Lanche, a portmanteau for "Instapundit avalanche". (See the Slashdot effect for a similar phenomenon.)
Reynolds describes himself as a libertarian, specifically a libertarian transhumanist. He favors free markets and distrusts bureaucracy. To this end he opposes government interference in both the economic and personal affairs of citizens. He strongly supports the War on Terrorism and has lent some support to the war in Iraq. He is an advocate for gun rights, has singled out European Union, the United Nations, Islamic governments, American academia, and mainstream media as targets of critical remarks and links; he also believes there is systemic bias in mainstream media. He believes there is an economic "bubble" forming in higher education, and that under most circumstances college students should avoid going into debt for the sake of getting credentials. He frequently points out that college degrees, or credentials, are not the same as an education.
Reynolds, who worked for Al Gore's 1988 campaign, now agrees with the conservative movement on many issues, including the war in Iraq, tax cuts, and some environmental issues. He has vigorously criticized Republicans for wasteful government spending for many years. His association with the conservative side of U.S. politics included a book-signing appearance at the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference, after which he characteristically hung out on Bloggers Row and conducted interviews with much less well known bloggers, giving a few of them some critically important exposure.
Reynolds holds libertarian positions on many social issues. For example, he supports embryonic stem cell research, abortion rights, legal prostitution, and both same-sex civil unions and marriage. He has stated a number of times: "Personally, I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons."
Reynolds is co-author of Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy and The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society. He is also the author of An Army of Davids, a New York Times bestseller. The latter book appears to have a symbiotic relationship with his blog, inasmuch as it promotes the changing of society for the best through the efforts of individuals, seizing the initiative and empowered by technology and community. He expresses this sensibility frequently in his blog, remarking on occasion that humans work best as "a pack, not a herd."
Reynolds also writes articles for various publications (generally under his full name, Glenn Harlan Reynolds): Popular Mechanics, Forbes, The New York Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has written for the TCSDaily.com, Fox News, and MSNBC websites as well.
As a law professor, Reynolds has written for the Columbia Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Wisconsin Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Law and Policy in International Business, Jurimetrics, and the High Technology Law Journal, among others.
Influence on other bloggers
In an article about the growth of blogs, writer and blogger Ed Driscoll states that:
- Reynolds’ quick rise to prominence helped to foster a hospitable environment for new bloggers. His background in DIY music may have been a factor: Punk and new-wave music, plus the home-recording boom of the early 1980s, encouraged an “anybody can do this” attitude, a spirit that Reynolds carried into the emerging "blogosphere.” In 2002, he published a list of well over two hundred blogs that claimed to be directly inspired by his own.
Instapundit's early popularity led to the common adoption of the suffix "-pundit" in blog titles, for example Kevin Drum (who originally blogged as "CalPundit") and Allahpundit. There are also direct take-offs on the entire name, such as Instapunk, and IsntAPundit. There are many other "-pundit" blogs, of all political stripes. An extensive listing of blogs inspired to some degree by Instapundit may be found here .
- Instapundit post. February 21, 2006
- GOP issues rules to avoid Macaca moments, Carrie Budoff, Politico.com, Jun 13, 2007
- Instapundit post, February 20, 2006
- List of Podcasts from Instapundit.com
- Instapundit post, December 31, 2004
- "Instalanche", JargonDatabase.com
- CASCADES project: Cost-effective Outbreak Detection in Networks, by Jure Leskovec, Andreas Krause, Carlos Guestrin, Christos Faloutsos, Jeanne VanBriesen and Natalie Glance, Carnegie Mellon University, 2007
- Harriet Who?, Glenn Reynolds, MSNBC.com, October 3, 2005
- Pictures from CPAC, Dr Helen, February 10, 2006
- Instapundit post, October 04, 2004
- Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media, Ed Driscoll, The New Individualist, September 2007
- Official website (Mobile)
- Instapundit in 'Blogging America: Political Discourse in a Digital Nation By Barbara O'Brien
- Instapundit in Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge By Cass R. Sunstein
- Instapundit in New York Times, 2008
- Instapundit profile from New York Times, 2003
- "Bring Your Own Camera: How Sarah Can Fight Back", Glenn Reynolds, The New York Post, September 13, 2008
- Roberts, Russ (February 18, 2013). "Glenn Reynolds on Politics, the Constitution, and Technology". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty.