For the next issue of National Review, I’ve written kind of an offbeat piece. (What’s new, I know.) It’s called “Looking for Lefty: The problem of what, and whom, to read.” Actually, I have a similar piece in the next issue of Standpoint, the British monthly. The NR piece is a longer version of the Standpoint piece, which is more of a note, or “short.”
Like you, maybe, I spend a lot of time with conservative publications. I work for one, to begin with. And yet we should have some fiber in our diets; we should not just eat political or journalistic candy. And I always feel I should read more people on the left.
For years now, I’ve been “looking for lefty.” I’ve wanted a go-to thinker and writer on the left, who would give me the best arguments of that side. I want someone — or, even better, some publication — to be the fiber in my diet. I have not had much luck, though.
From time to time, I pick out a columnist and say, “Okay: I’m going to read him faithfully, or at least regularly, no matter what. I’m still going to eat my candy in the form of Mark Steyn, Charles Krauthammer, and others I love. But I’m going to read this fellow too, because you need a balanced diet, or at least not a totally imbalanced one.”
That fellow, however, usually commits some offense that turns me off for good. Very often, that offense is racial. People on the left have the nasty habit of throwing white sheets over conservative opponents. They seem not to be able to help making false accusations of racism.
Show me a man who won’t tar his opponents with racism, and I’ll show you my friend for life! Like many another conservative, I’m fairly easy: Just don’t make false accusations of racism, okay? Think you can handle that?
No, sadly — often, no.
Anyway, if I’ve written two whole pieces on this very subject, why am I going on about it here in my web column? I’d like to do some canvassing. I wonder whether readers have some “go-to lefties” — people or publications they consult regularly, for the purpose of some media balance. Do you have honorable people on the left you rely on, to bring you the other side? If so, I’d like to hear about it: Please write me at [email protected]
Conversely, if you’re a lefty, do you have go-to righties? I’d like to hear about that too.
In my piece for Standpoint, I say, “Conservatives who concentrate on the conservative press do not necessarily live lives of peace and harmony. You can spend 90 percent of your time stewing about the failings of other conservatives.” Ain’t it the truth. We on the right are very good at infighting and splintering. I wonder whether it has anything to do with ghettoizing ourselves in the journalism we read.
To read some conservative blogs and whatnot, you might get the idea that our enemies are George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Which is, of course, nuts.
Confine yourself to RightWorld (as I sometimes do), and that starts to look like the whole world. But take a dip into LeftWorld, and you realize just how much we on the right have in common. We are allies, if we’d only know it.
Anyway, to be continued . . .
For the last couple of months, a theme of this column has been, “Yeah, Obamacare doesn’t ‘work,’ but who cares whether it ‘works’? ‘Working’ is not the point. Changing society is the point. The ‘fundamental transformation of America’ is the point.”
A Democratic congressman, James Clyburn, put it with some candor a few weeks ago: “If we were to look at what we were attempting to do with [Obamacare], you will know that what we’re trying to do is change a values system in our country.”