Ross Douthat wrote (what I think is his first) column today. The Times took him on after firing the much unmissed Bill Kristol. As a conservative, the Douthat hire got a lot of flack from various locations in the lefty blogosphere (where my tent is pitched).
But it is a fine column. It’s clear-headed and genuinely thoughtful.
I find myself too frequently taking my associates on the left to task for behaving and thinking in a manner which is scarily close to what we bemoan in the other side…setting up a partisan dichotomy and drawing our conclusions from this framing. Elsewhere, for example, I asked a fine left-leaning chap to offer up the names of some thoughtful conservatives. He wasn’t able to do it. But of course that simply must be a consequence not of real facts about the conservative universe but rather of a predisposition to base estimations most primarily on partisan membership…along with, almost certainly, a serious lack of reading of what conservative writers and commentators have contributed.
This period of time, for all the terrifying possibilities that now present themselves, seems to me to also be a very advantageous moment for liberals to take the time to relax a little (we are in power and look to be for the foreseeable future) strip off the warpaint and seek out the sane voices on the other side. We’ve nothing to learn? The other folks are always wrong? If there are two more intellectually dangerous beginning positions for thought and for the polity, I’m not sure what they’d be.