Bursting Our Own Bubbles

In President Obama’s recent commencement address at the University of Michigan, he made a call for people across the political spectrum to expose themselves to opposing viewpoints:

[I]f we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we become more polarized, more set in our ways. That will only reinforce and even deepen the political divides in this country.

But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from…

…[I]f you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.

To that end, I plan on spending a little more time at National Review’s blog, The Corner. For those of you unfamiliar with National Review, it’s a magazine founded by conservative intellectual William F. Buckley during a time when it was possible to imagine an intellectual leading the conservative movement.
In Buckley’s later years, however, he garnered little respect while on a cruise hosted by his own magazine.

“Aren’t you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?” Buckley snaps at Podhoretz. He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired. “No,” Podhoretz replies. “As I say, they were shipped to Syria. During Gulf War I, the entire Iraqi air force was hidden in the deserts in Iran.” He says he is “heartbroken” by this “rise of defeatism on the right.” He adds, apropos of nothing, “There was nobody better than Don Rumsfeld. This defeatist talk only contributes to the impression we are losing, when I think we’re winning.” The audience cheers Podhoretz. The nuanced doubts of Bill Buckley leave them confused. Doesn’t he sound like the liberal media? Later, over dinner, a tablemate from Denver calls Buckley “a coward”. His wife nods and says, “Buckley’s an old man,” tapping her head with her finger to suggest dementia.

It’s worth remembering that today’s apostates from the conservative movement are in good company.

Now I’m off to The Corner where I plan to try something I’m going to call “Speed-Fisking. ” I’ll explain later.

Advertisements
Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://dug4000.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/bursting-our-own-bubbles/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: