December 22, 2013

"I could read my favorite right-wing columnists all day long. But I should really eat some lima beans, too."

"In the past, I have settled on a few 'lima beans.' But I usually get unsettled — I fall away. I stop reading them. Why? Is it that I can’t stand to be disagreed with? Can’t abide an opposing view?"

Jay Nordlinger's readers help him compile a list of liberals that righties can read..

65 comments:

TML said...

Kaus. Plus Amory Lovins.

Michael K said...

I think Kevin Drum is honest and I do read him occasionally. I used to read his blog back when it was "Calpundit." Then he moved to Washington Monthly and I used to read and comment. Then they began to delete my comments. I don't know a left wing web site, including HuffPo, that allows my comments. They are not abusive but I suspect they make too much sense.

Mickey Kaus is a traditional Democrat and out of sync with the present state of the party. He was a friend of Cathy Seipp.

YoungHegelian said...

I'd also like to add going for the classics of the genre. Find a survey book of feminism, queer studies, or Marxism (e.g. Kolakowski's magisterial work), determine what interests you and do follow up reading.

The problem with going for columnists only is that unless you truly understand the other side's foundational assumptions, it's easy to lose the forest for the trees.

Ryan said...

This blog is my liberal reading. Or is this considered a conservative blog now?

traditionalguy said...

My vote comes up New Years Eve when CNN personality Anderson Cooper deals with co-host Kathy Griffin.

Now that is fair and balanced reporting.

rehajm said...

Allow me time to choke down the peas and broccoli served in the previous courses.

YoungHegelian said...

...when CNN personality Anderson Cooper deals with co-host Kathy Griffin.

I have to admit that the look on Anderson Cooper's face when KG walks off frame & yells at the heckler "Hey buddy, I'm trying to work here. I don't go where you work & slap the dick out of your mouth!" on live TV is truly a precious moment in TV history.

Mike said...

I'll often read Ezra Klein, who's usually pretty honest and brought Paul Ryan to our attention. Should also mention Ta-Nehisi Coates, who brings a perspective on race issues I rarely encounter.

YoungHegelian said...

Ever now & then Slate-writer William Saletan's love of "the facts, just the facts, ma'am" forces him to wander off the plantation. To paraphrase Heinlein, science is a harsh mistress, to both Left & Right, and Saletan will follow where his facts lead.

Illuninati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

Paglia is divine.

NPR is the result of enduring boringness being thought a great intellectual virtue.

Illuninati said...

"The belief that conservatives are racists seems to be the Supreme Belief of the American Left. It is what they cling to (as we righties are supposed to cling to guns and religion)."

Although the left fancy themselves the paragons of reason and goodness they are completely irrational and unscientific. Apparently they do not understand Darwinian evolution and its implications for our own innate nature. Darwin laid out the implications of evolution in detail in his book The Descent of Man.

After living on four continents, my own experience is that Darwin was correct. Racism appears to be an inherited human trait which is embedded into the genes by evolution. In Africa racism assumes the form of tribalism but the underlying mechanism is the same - competition among different genetically related family groups for scarce resources. Where I lived, the war was between the Tutsi tribe and the Hutu tribe, but the mechanism is exactly the same as white vs. black racism except the tribal warfare is often much more deadly than black/white conflict in our country. Many researchers have concluded that Tutsis and Hutus were originally of one tribe but they have separated just enough so that each tribe can recognize the other tribe as different. That is all it takes.

If my understanding of evolution is correct the accusers on the left are as racist as everyone else but they use the psychological defense mechanism of projection to avoid confronting their own innate racism, instead they project it onto the right. The more violently they attack the right, the more certain one can the left themselves are troubled by their own overpowering racism. This self righteousness and lack of honest insight makes the left especially dangerous.

Freeman Hunt said...

NPR is the voice of the tilted head.

rhhardin said...

Derybshire old transcript

I'm missing a couple of people. I mean, I'm yearning for them to come and entertain me, as they have done in the past. A bit to my surprise, I'm missing Hillary Clinton. I'd got to the point with Hillary when I'd smile as she came on my TV screen. She was awful, but dependably awful; she was phoney, but so obviously and incompetently phoney, you knew she'd never get anywhere much outside New York State, which is populated by morons and gangsters. I miss her. I miss her pop eyes, that gave her the permanent look of having just been goosed by someone with very cold hands. I miss the glassy, unconvincing smile and the bogus politician's point — "Hey, wow! isn't that Elvis in the third row there?" I miss the pants suits in colors that have no name. And of course I miss the laugh. [Hillary laugh]

hoyden said...

I read Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft for a while during the Zimmerman trial. I eventually lost interest with the day to day hum of thiings.

chuck said...

I used to read his [Kevin Drum's] blog back when it was "Calpundit."

Me too. I also read the comments and, after a few reads, decided I was no longer a Democrat. I hold Kevin Drum personally responsible for my leaving the party ;) Thanks Kevin!

somefeller said...

From the article:In the past, I have settled on a few “lima beans.” But I usually get unsettled — I fall away. I stop reading them. Why? Is it that I can’t stand to be disagreed with? Can’t abide an opposing view?

That, or the fact that Jay Nordlinger is a gigantic pearl-clutching wuss who gets the vapors anytime anyone raises their voice or doesn't apologize for not being overwhelmed with admiration for Rush Limbaugh. So there's that.

Plus, any list of great liberals that has Camille Paglia and Mickey Kaus at its head isn't worth much. Neither of them have any credibility among liberals, as shown by how Kaus's Senatorial run a few years ago garnered joke / perennial candidate levels of support, despite being promoted on conservative blogs as being indicative of something noteworthy.

Freeman Hunt said...

Who are the liberal columnists you wish conservatives would read, somefeller?

somefeller said...

Well, given the amount of nasty emails and tweets that people like Paul Krugman or Andrew Sullivan get from conservative readers, it doesn't look like conservatives need my help in seeking out targets to read and vilify. But Krugman and Sullivan are a good start, together with Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias or Ta-Nehisi Coates.

FleetUSA said...

Yes, CPaglia is wonderful. She is always on point and clear. I think I've read her every column for the past 20 years.

FleetUSA said...

Yes, CPaglia is wonderful. She is always on point and clear. I think I've read her every column for the past 20 years.

chuck said...

Somefeller, that list explains a lot;) However, while I like lima beans I draw the line at crap.

I too like Camille Paglia and used to read her when she wrote for Salon. It was pretty much the only reason to go there. If the defining characteristic of the Left is intellectual triviality and unexamined dogma, Camille is the exception. She is an independent thinker and speaks her mind. A rare quality indeed.

Unknown said...

As a member of Hillary's VRWC I'm really worried about the paucity of "Conservative" columnists who have even a passing acquaintence with rationality.
Conservative's I follow: Hansen, Sowell, Williams, Ingraham &, for fun, Coulter.
Paglia is much more a Libertarian than a Progressive & Kause is a Progressive who is anti-union; I love both.
As far as true Lefties go, not a one exhibits enough non-idealogical thinking to interest me.

rhhardin said...

Derbyshire

I've read a million words about Obama, including the man's own autobiography, and I don't believe he has a religious bone in his body. He probably does believe in the magical explanations for black failure: in "institutional racism," "stereotype threat," "white privilege," and all the rest of the sinister vapors and miasmas, the dark invisible forces keeping the black man down.

Whether or not you believe in either religion or magic, I think you have to acknowledge that the one is more substantial than the other. Religion has sustained great civilizations and moved men to great deeds: magic is just lazy thinking and tawdry tricks, cheap and hollow. No, I won't be listening in to Obama's speech. If I want cheap and hollow, I'll go to the 99 cent store.

pm317 said...

John Kass of Chicago Tribune, excellent for this day and age of Obama.

YoungHegelian said...

Somefeller's list brings up a question: if one is trying to understand "the other side" shouldn't one read the columnists who actually have "pull" on the other side, no matter how odious they may seem?

Sadly, many of the "in the middle" columnists lose pull because of their heterodox views (e.g. Kirsten Powers, who is pro-life). If one is trying to reach across the aisle, maybe the first thing to develop is the ability to suppress the gag reflex.

Michael K said...

" But Krugman and Sullivan are a good start, together with Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias or Ta-Nehisi Coates."

Thank, I know who to avoid now. Seriously, haven't you anyone with a sense of logic ? Sullivan went nuts when Bush came out against gay marriage.

I'm going paleo with Derb and Steyn and Those who can see".

Ezra Klein is a kid who just graduated from UCLA. My kids are smarter and better informed than he is, even the lefties.

Bob R said...

One of the biggest problems with liberal hegemony in media and academia is that the liberal cocoon is so much tighter than a conservative cocoon. Yes a conservative or libertarian can avoid direct contact with liberal media, but the conservative media (I guess Althouse qualifies) reacts to the agenda of the liberal media. Here in SWVA, I know people who try to try to get off the grid (no TV - or just a DVD player with Veggie Tales for the kids, homeschooling, Christian bookstores.) It's a lot of work. If you are a liberal in, say, Madison, you can immerse yourself in the blue lagoon and conservatism is a vague rumor.

This is the source of the asymmetry. Conservatives know all about liberals. All they have to do is turn on the TV, watch a movie, open a magazine, take a college class outside of the sciences. Liberals are clueless about what conservatives think. Sure they have hacks watching Fox and listening to Rush to publicize their worst arguments. But they aren't interested in hearing, let along addressing, their best arguments. Their point of view is as narrow as the holy rollers putting Veggie Tales in the DVD and buying their magazines from the christian bookstore, but all libs have to do is keep the radio dial glued to NPR and not look beyond blue America.

I think what Nordinger is asking for are liberal writers who regard people who disagree with them in a different way than Lester Maddox regarded African Americans. There aren't enough of them.

Michael K said...

From the Derb link" "There is so much madness in America right now, it's hard to keep track. This, though, is one matter where you can get involved locally. When the Mayor of your town announces that five thousand Syrian refugees are to be settled along Main Street, tell him how you feel about it. Then, get together with your neighbors and start building barricades."

I'm glad I'm 75 and won't have to deal with the consequences of the present US policies. Too bad about my kids and grandkids.

"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

somefeller said...

Here's an irony (at least in the Alanis Morrissette sense). One of the things Nordlinger is whining about is charges of racism against conservatives. And one of the prime people cited on this thread as a great columnist is John Derbyshire, a guy who left National Review because of charges of - wait for it - racism.

It's like rain on your wedding day.

EDH said...

I have to admit that the look on Anderson Cooper's face when KG walks off frame & yells at the heckler "Hey buddy, I'm trying to work here. I don't go where you work & slap the dick out of your mouth!" on live TV is truly a precious moment in TV history.

As long as Griffin wasn't being "homophobic".

YoungHegelian said...

@EDH,

As long as Griffin wasn't being "homophobic"

Since KG is one of TV's preeminent "fag hags", she has the street cred to pull off a comment like that, said in front a gay anchorman, and survive. She did catch grief from CNN for standards & practices violations, but not from the gays.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Hugo Black
Akhil Amar
Ann Althouse
Camille Paglia
Mickey Kaus
Michael Kinsley
Harvey Silverglate
Alan Dershowitz
Nat Hentoff
Jon Stewart

eelpout said...

Hard out there for white people.

Saint Croix said...

conservatives...

Antonin Scalia
Mark Steyn
Jonah Goldberg
Charles Krauthammer
Alex Kozinski
Peggy Noonan
Megan McArdle
Jennifer Rubin
Ross Douthat
Rush Limbaugh

St. George said...

I get all my clothes from that little lima bean place.

Up in Maine.

David said...

Rick Perlstein.

Ironclad said...

If you want to read English liberals debate, try Harry's Place. The articles are sharp, but topical for their politics and the comment sections are always bright. They run through a series of posters, so it does not get boring.

William Saletan is honest and discusses hard topics with bravery (for Slate)

I do not understand why Ta-Nehisi Coates, resident racist at the Atlantic, is considered to be even creditable. Everything with him is about race and he does NOT tolerate dissent in his blog columns, banning a anyone who dares oppose his wisdom. His latest columns about the Robertson interview (quoting newspaper lynching stories like they are current) are truly terrible.

Carl said...

Since Hitchens died, nobody. And what would be the point? The scribblers most popular on the left are by definition clownish dolts, because leftism is clownish doltism writ large. Life is too short. I don't need to read closely-argued essays on why Stalin was right, how the next Five Year Plan will succeed, or proof that Halliburton and the Rosicrucians are controlling the world. If I want to read precise scholasticism in the defence of absurdity, I can read the online ravings of folks who skipped their Haldol dose today. They are legion.

The columnists worth reading "on the left" are those that are in the process of waking up, so they're pretty much on the rapid wane and their influence evaporating. As they unwrap the layers of folly and delusion, you can learn much about how those layers went on. That's one reason Hitch was good -- he took you along as he figured it out. Roger Simon ought to be good that way, but he's too interested in show business, which I find unbearably dull.

Bob R said...

@somefeller - What Nordingler is lamenting is the fact that many liberals feel that because some conservative has made some comment that is objectively racist, all arguments by all conservatives can be dismissed as racist. This is common tool of your favorite liberal authors. It has the intellectual content of tailgunner Joe accusing all liberals of being communists. (After all, some liberals were communists, so...)

Saint Croix said...

Stanley Crouch. I love this guy. His latest column is a great example. You read him and it seems to be a typical stupid attack on Republicans. Then he has "failure of vision" and "Barack Obama" in the same sentence, and you're like, wait a minute. And then he's applauding charter schools and talking about the need to attack the teacher's union.

I guess all the liberals I like to read are actually moderates, although that term is so squishy I hate to use it. What they really are, it seems to me, are independent thinkers.

If everything a liberal says is disagreeable to me, no way can I read them. But if they say things that are agreeable and disagreeable, that is often the most fun and provocative reading I can do.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Not exactly reading, but for comic relief, you can't beat Chris Matthews. Stupidity, spittle, lisp, logical fallacies, and an electric leg all rolled into a single babbling buffoon.

William said...

I like Maureen Dowd. Frequently wrong, but often witty.....I think conservative writers have more wit, bite, and historical knowledge than their liberal counterparts. What liberal writers excel at are sit coms and late night comic monologues. Tina Fey is genuinely talented and her show, 30 Rock, was a painless way to absorb the liberal message.

Saint Croix said...

Liberals are brutal on independent thought. Look where Paglia teaches, and where Crouch is published. That's disgraceful.

Who are the worst liberals to read?

Paul Krugman
E.J. Dionne
Charles M. Blow
Linda Greenhouse
Maureen Dowd
Nicholas Kristof
Frank Rich
Andrew Sullivan
Thomas Friedman
David Brooks

Michael K said...

"And one of the prime people cited on this thread as a great columnist is John Derbyshire, a guy who left National Review because of charges of - wait for it - racism.

It's like rain on your wedding day."

Thanks for making my point for me. Did you read the Derb column? Of course not. You have the lefty blogosphere to explain it so you don't have to have any contact with non-lefty thought.

Your head might explode.

I know you won't read it but here is the story that got Derb fired.

It's sad but not unusual in this society at this time.

Henry said...

I could read my favorite right-wing columnists all day long

That's a show-stopper right there.

Saint Croix said...

I suppose David Brooks is the sort of Republican liberals like to read so they can say they read a Republican. I would argue that David Brooks is possibly the most annoying person who has ever spoken on NPR. When I think David Brooks I think Mayflower Madam. Yes, his ancestors might have come over on the Mayflower, but he's still a fucking prostitute. When your answer to Obama is to centralize authority, who needs Marx and Engels?

“I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”

It ought to be illegal to be that fucking stupid. If someone were to run for office, arguing that we should make it a crime to be that fucking stupid, I would oppose them. Free speech! And then they would quote David Brooks and the fucking pants story. What do I say to that? How do I respond? I'm so befuddled by the stupidity of David Brooks, I'm speechless. I'm embarrassed that we descended from the same ape. I daresay the apes are embarrassed, too. The only real solution is the ape cure of flinging poo at your head. You fucking idiot.

Gee that felt good.

The Godfather said...

During the 30+ years I lived in Washington there were liberal columnists that I read with interest. William Rasberry, Richard Cohen, a few others. But they were interesting in that they didn't always spout the liberal orthodoxy. If you are a conservative or libertarian looking for columnists who make a persuasive case for liberalism -- I pity you. Yes, I know, we are supposed to understand our opponents' arguments, but why? We should understand them to refute them, and the best ones to focus on are the most popular and most influential, and therefore the most slavishly liberal.

I have many very intelligent liberal friends, and we have interesting and polite discussions. That's how I come to understand the best of liberal arguments, and how my friends come to understand, if not the conservative arguments, at least the arguments for my peculiar version of libertarian/conservatism. Seeking understanding from partisan opinionists is a fool's errand.

Broomhandle said...

No one in particular but the absolute detachment from reality in evidence at Harpers, The Nation, and Alternet has been my favorite light reading since the '90's.

John Lynch said...

I read Al Jazeera. It let's me keep up with what the lefties are talking about.

Every day, I find something that makes me laugh.

Kirk Parker said...

Godfather,

Pretty telling that the only worth-reading liberal columnists one can come up with are either gone, or past their prime, or (sadly) about to leave us: Raspberry, Mike Royko, Abe Rosenthal, Nat Hentoff...

I certainly agree with the recommendations of Kaus and Paglia, but the former is a moderate's moderate, and the latter a fascinating and un-peggable loose cannon.

Alex said...

Cook those lima beans and smother them in BBQ sauce and mix in with shredded beef. Pop open a Stella Artois and you've got yourself a nice meal.

Alex said...

Is there a single young(under 40), lefty columnist that is not insane?

tim in vermont said...

The constant accusations of racism and apparent need for demonization to justify their approach to governing drive me away. Not to mention getting banned from the comments section for making purely political points.

Sharkcutie said...

Does the author actually know any liberals? I am a screaming liberal and most of my friends are some version of liberal. I have not had a discussion with any of them in which they called anybody a racist because of their politics. I read lots of conservative and liberal writers and I don't see what the author sees at all. Occasionally, yes. All the time or all liberals, NO!

Sharkcutie said...

Does the author actually know any liberals? I am a screaming liberal and most of my friends are some version of liberal. I have not had a discussion with any of them in which they called anybody a racist because of their politics. I read lots of conservative and liberal writers and I don't see what the author sees at all. Occasionally, yes. All the time or all liberals, NO!

Kirk Parker said...

Does Sharkcutie actually read posts before commenting on them? The author is talking about published editorial sources to read, not about private conversations with friends. And the reason is clear, or should be: if I find a good writer or blogger, I can send a link to others who can get the same benefit; I can hardly do that with private conversations with my friends.

Alex said...

The answers is no, liberals do not read the article before commenting. They do feel overly qualified to comment on any subject.

Terry said...

A good way to judge opinion writers of either the right or the left is to measure the ratio of adjectives and adverbs to nouns and verbs in what they write. Also the number of times the Koch bros. are mentioned.
There is no phenomenon the right that corresponds to the mindless hatred the left freely expresses for the Koch bros.

Kirk Parker said...

"There is no phenomenon the right that corresponds to the mindless hatred the left freely expresses for the Koch bros."

Sure there is: you've heard of the Taliban and al Qaeda, right?


oh, wait....

Mountain Maven said...

Althouse is as far left as i can read. She is aware of the intellectual bankruptcy, failure and corrupt dishonesty of the left. But she seems too invested in the ideology to free herself from it.

Coates is the Obama of pundits. He should be driving a cab.

Kirk Parker said...

"Coates is the Obama of pundits. He should be driving a cab. "

That depends--do you care about getting to your destination in a reasonable amount of time?

Sharkcutie said...

Kirk Parker and Alex: read the last two sentences of my comment. And then, graciously say you are sorry.

Alex said...

sharkcutie - whatever. You already have no credibility in this little bubble of ours.