I've just about given up on reading any left-leaning blog. As Jay points out, orthodoxy is the rule on the left. There is very little real debate going on.
What makes things interesting on the right is that there is a debate. And it is a respectful one. While a liberal tends to heap nothing but condescension on the socon perspective, for the most part, a libertarian conservative attempts to integrate any differences into a world view that accommodates them. At the same time, socons seem to recognize libertarians as sympathetic allies, even though they sometimes suggest that the libertarian approach to social issues is responsible for many of society's ills.
The tension between the two "conservative" perspectives is healthy and makes for some lively debate. And, surprisingly, it often leads to common ground.
That said, I am puzzled as to why some make a punching bag out of the Blogging Tories. It is undoubtedly true that many of the bloggers on the BT blogroll are careerist cheerleaders for the Conservative Party. But what do you expect?
A little more variety would certainly lead me to visit more. I think traffic is down for that reason as I do not get nearly as many referrals from the site as I used to. However, many of the good blogs I have in my RSS feed were initially discovered there, including Kathy Shaidle, Ezra Levant, Gerry Nicholls and Dust My Broom.
Stephen Taylor (and Craig) deserve our thanks for creating Blogging Tories. I am not aware of any attempts by Stephen to censor any blogger on the BT blogroll. So far, he seems to have resisted strong pressures to play that role. I think Garth left voluntarily.
In fact, Taylor actually encourages contrary viewpoints. I talked to him once about a post I was working on that was critical of the government and he encouraged me to write it. He's no dummy. He knows controversy drives traffic.
Still, I wish the Blogging Tories could be less conformist and think for themselves from time to time. Minority or not, the only way to get the Harper government away from its Liberal-lite speaking points is to expose it to some critical attention. We are bloggers, not cabinet ministers. Hence, we can't get kicked out of the cabinet for not toeing the line. After all, isn't that why most of us blog?