Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Read What You Might Loathe

Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, makes a great point while guest blogging on today.

Look, all, it's too easy to fall into the trap of reading, hearing and watching only those people who have a point of view that appeals to you. I'm guilty of it.

At the same time, I also read the very right wing op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal every day. Admittedly, I get the Journal for free, but, still... it's good to read the other side. It's good to read critically.

I love The New Republic, by the way. It's a great magazine. It has idealogical flaws, as defined by my own biases. They were anti-Dean, they were pro-Iraq invasion, they are almost without pity or sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and they'll generally back Israel to an almost fanatic degree. However, I also realize, when reading the magazine, that hey, Dean is a problematic guy (much as I like him) and that there were reasonable arguments to be made for taking out Saddam (he's a butcher and genocidal maniac) and that as much as I feel badly for the Palestinians, those of us on the left don't always really understand the history of the region.

And where has this left me? I'm still glad Dean is president of the Democratic National Committee. I still think we were wrong to invade Iraq and, yes, I still think that the Palestinians got screwed when Israel was created, but... I don't feel like any of those conclusions exist because I've used a "straw man" to represent the other side of the debate.

You have to read ideas hate if you want to be a critical thinker and you have to read those ideas with as open a mind as possible.


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