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Instapundit logo.png
Instapundit logo
Web address
Type of site
Libertarian transhumanism[1] 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,"[2] though Reynolds says he's not a conservative, but a libertarian.[3]

The blog[edit]

Common topics are politics, 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. Instapundit frequently covers the War on Terrorism from a supportive-but-critical viewpoint. 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, particularly those that Reynolds believes offer viewpoints not widely expressed in other media, 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.[4] In January 2006, Reynolds began to host podcasts[5] 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".[6]

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,[7] or 'Lanche, a portmanteau for "Instapundit avalanche". (See the Slashdot effect for a similar phenomenon.)

In 2007, network theory researchers who studied blogs as a test case found that Instapundit was the #1 blog for "quickly know[ing] about important stories that propagate over the blogosphere".[8]

Political views[edit]

Reynolds describes himself as a libertarian,[3] specifically a libertarian transhumanist.[1] 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,[9] 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,[10] 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."[11]

Reynolds believes global warming is "plausib[ly]" caused by man and that "burning less carbon is good planetary hygiene, and good practice generally." He believes "we should be pursuing global warming remedies regardless of what you think about global warming."[12] On the other hand, Reynolds occasionally brings up the topic of global cooling, referencing the science fiction novel, Fallen Angels.[13] He also frequently expresses mistrust at the motives of global warming proponents whose actions and positions seemingly run contrary to their rhetoric.[14] One of his household vehicles is a hybrid SUV, and he has promoted hybrid technology in general—when he thought it was well-engineered.

In October 2006, Reynolds was criticized heavily by Rush Limbaugh[15] over several days for posting a "GOP Pre-mortem"[16] suggesting that the Republicans deserved to lose the 2006 Congressional elections.

Reynolds often blogs in support of Porkbusters, which he helped create. He has vigorously criticized politicians from both parties for pork barrel spending and earmarking; then-Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss) once remarked that he was "damned tired" of the Porkbusters. Reynolds has stated in the past that earmarks and pork are not just a waste of money, but a corrupting influence on the political process.

Reynolds has testified before Congressional committees on space law, international trade, and domestic terrorism. He has also served as executive chairman for the National Space Society, and was once a member of the White House Advisory Panel on Space Policy.

In June 2009, Reynolds changed his blog header to the color green from its original red, in support of the anti-Ahmadinejad/pro-Mousavi protests made after the Iranian Presidential election.[17] This was originally supposed to be a temporary show up support, but it lasted about three months. On September 7, 2009, Reynolds replaced the green with his customary red, remarking, "I’m back to the original design. 'Going Green' was supposed to be a show of support, not a permanent change, and the summer’s over. My support for the Iranian freedom movement is no less, but symbolism takes you only so far."[citation needed]

In September 2012, Reynolds called for Barack Obama to resign from the Presidency of the United States due to the FBI's decision to question filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.[18]

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath [the oath of office]. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.[19]

Other writing[edit]

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, 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[edit]

In an article about the growth of blogs, writer and blogger Ed Driscoll states that:[20]

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 inspired to some degree by Instapundit.[21]


External links[edit]