National Review / Digital
Looking for Lefty
The problem of what, or whom, to read
Diogenes, looking for his man (Attributed to Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein)


About ten years ago, a friend of mine who works in public life made an announcement at lunch: “I’ve been reading newspapers and magazines since I was a kid. I’m very well informed. From now on, I’m not going to read anything I’m not going to agree with. At this stage, I’m entitled.” I grinned at this, and was tempted to go my friend’s way. I still am. But I know there must be fiber in our diets. We cannot just consume journalistic and political ice cream.

Being a conservative, I should seek out “progressive” opinion. But I have had a tough time of it. I have long tried to have a go-to lefty, someone who will give me the best arguments of the other side. The problem is, I keep running into simple invective and sneering.

December 31, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 24

  • How I fell in love with the United States.
  • The ancient evil and the politics of distraction.
  • A new “godless” church makes you wonder.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • David Pryce-Jones reviews The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, by Yuval Levin.
  • Richard Brookhiser reviews The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735–1817, by Myron Magnet.
  • Florence King reviews The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son, by Pat Conroy.
  • Sarah Ruden reviews David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell.
  • John Daniel Davidson reviews Jack London: An American Life, by Earle Labor.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Nebraska.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .