Ross Douthat’s column in the NYT last Saturday recommends that we spend some time in 2013 challenging our political selves by regularly reading from at least one source that is not in your partisan political comfort zone. He reasons that since this is not a national election year, we’ll be abit safer reading “across the aisle” (apparently the hyper partisanship dies down in off election years) and end up challenging what we think we know or at least understanding better our political opposites.
This means that for a blessed 365 days you can be a well-informed and responsible American citizen without reading every single article on Politico, without hitting refresh every 30 seconds on your polling-average site of choice, without channel-hopping between Chris Matthews’s hyperventilating and Dick Morris’s promises of an inevitable Republican landslide.
Of course, being a well-informed and responsible American citizen is probably best achieved without making Politico a staple of your reading diet. And I’m not crazy about the equivalency between Chris Matthews and Dick Morris. But Douthat has some guidelines for this venture:
First, consider taking out a subscription to a magazine whose politics you don’t share. [...]
Second, expand your reading geographically as well as ideologically. [...]
Finally, make a special effort to read outside existing partisan categories entirely.
Douthat expands some on each of these guidelines, so it is worth reading the entire column. This thing reads as a Conservative Instructs His Liberal Readers — you’ll note that the vast majority of recommendations are right-leaning, and even he pushes the notion that somehow Reason, The American Conservative, Public Discourse are “the non-Republican right”. Right.
Still, I’m interested in this idea. Mostly, I think I get what is going on in the current GOP (and the “non-Republican right”) because of their great message discipline and ability to get their issues laundered into the MSM. So if I am reading dKos, Booman, Salon, and some specialist blogs, I think I get a good overview of not only what they are saying but a good critique of it. Douthat would tell me that this is not a genuine encounter with the ideas, however. Fair enough, but I can only dedicate but so much time of my day to reading. And I prefer to read material that works harder at informing me than in insulting my intelligence (why I don’t read Politico), which takes alot of the GOP-leaning material quite off of the table for me. If you start with denying climate change or poo-poohing evolution or the Laffer Curve, then I’m done. Because I know the difference between a differing POV vs the denial of facts in order to sustain a POV.
But everyone seems to think that there are smart GOP writers and thinkers out there, so I thought that DL readers might want to help produce a list of those (and/or their publications) worth seeking out to read this year. So who do you think are worthwhile writers or thinkers on the right?