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Good Public Discourse


Here’s a novel experience. Kathryn Lopez called my attention to Greg Forster’s critique of my Kristol lecture here, wondering if I might want to respond. So I read it. And then read it again. And then thought about it some more. And here’s the novel part: I have nothing to say except, “Well, okay, I take your point.” What he pointed out as weaknesses were weaknesses. On his most important objection, that I failed to mention that activities don’t provide deep satisfactions if they’re morally wrong, he even correctly anticipates my response: I took it for granted. But I shouldn’t have. 

Why am I even bothering to post about it? Because we really, really need a change in tone when we’re discussing difficult issues (and need it every bit as much on the Right as on the Left). Forster’s essay is a model: Based on a minutely close reading of the thing-being-critiqued, refusing to personalize the argument in any way, and, dammit, acute.  


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