Posted by Peter Lawler
...from one outpost, at least, although NPR seems incapable of giving a hopeful report without the compensating negative note. (Hat tip, as they say, to Ryan Rakness)
This is not really a post about the topic, but since there is no general forum space here I didnt know where else to post it. As a frequent reader, occational poster to this blog, I was wondering if there is ever any discussion about the title, "No Left Turns". Here are my thoughts, Im interested in the general readerships as well. Why rule out all left turns? Does this seem overly closed minded? Why not "Right Turns Only"? Does this title represent the fundamental difference between the left and right, in their current form in America...a left wing that is generally more open minded and a right wing that is generally more closed off...a left wing more comfortable with nuances and a right wing more comfortable with absolutes? Your thoughts?
I dislike the title also. As the obscure post-punk folkie Roger Manning once put it, one has to keep ones "left ear open." I think the quality of a lot of the posting/commenting here, often from "2-cheers for capitalism" social conservatives like myself, or contrarily, from libertarians (who might be plausibly "socially left")belies your assumption of conservative closed-mindedness, that the title does suggest. But the reason for the phrase is apparently its noble Ashbrookian provenance, as youll see by clicking on "No Left Turns: Whats In a Name?" on the sidebar.
The term comes from the campaign slogan that John Ashbrook used when he challenged Nixon for the Republican nomination in 1972.
This may be hard for a Yippie! to understand, but if one believes in certain principles, why should they also believe in those principles that contradict ones belief? If you are truly that open-minded, why not be open to people who only believe in a certain point of view? Or, are you close-minded?
Im not closed minded to people who are closed minded. I think Earth First is a closed minded group, but agree with a lot of their goals (even if I disapprove of their methods). It just seems that, generally speaking, open-mindedness is valued on the left while perhaps something akin to "steadfastedness" to ones principles is a value on the right. I was not being critical of either position, but rather wondering out-blog about the potential difference in how the left and right approach the world.
Abbie, The title aint great, but its origin in Ashbrook is sufficient explanation for its existence. But good to have you back.
Actually, Abbie, I have often found people on the left to claim up and down that they are "open-minded" though they are usually terribly dogmatic. People on the right, though generally portrayed as you have, as about as open-minded as people on the left though do at least claim to live and think according to certain principles.
Let us not also forget what American conservatives (a special kind of conservative) are preserving: the American Founding. If you agree with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, then youre not going to want to deviate from them too much.
No Left Turns is a good message to our politicians, who campaign as conservatives but go squishy in Washington in a way not quite matched by liberal politicians.
Many of us are former liberals--and most of us have indeed carefully thought about liberal positions--and rejected them.
And by the way, were still winning in Iraq.
On the term NLT: I have found a fairly broad array of positions here, including some from which I have learned. The title has a partisan and institutional origin, and sometimes comments stick closely to the conservative Republican playbook. At other times, we get brands of conservativism that I hardly knew still existed. And lately, conservatives have roundly criticized Republicans. . . All very interesting to those of us who have usually voted Democratic.
On foreign policy, much of the "left" has abandoned any reasonable or defensible position, though there are important exceptions such as Paul Berman, Michael Walzer, and others. So on that score, I subscribe. On domestic matters, I just assume that the left to which we ought not to turn is to my left! The left-right metaphor is quite shop-worn anyway. Not everybody who is not a "movement conservative" is a liberal.
If there were a center-left "No Right Turns" site, it would be a fine addition to the blogosphere. Any candidates?
We should mention the attractive design and scale. NLT is distinctive in these respects: a small number of certified posters, and a manageable number of regular participants.
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