Who should I be reading from the right?

Do lefties only read lefty blogs? Is it only rightwingers who live in a bubble world?

I do consume right-wing media – I read news.com.au as much as abc.net.au, and their chief ratbag, Bolt, more than many left wing blogs – but, to be honest, the reason is not because there’s a hope in hell of being persuaded by anything they argue. It’s more because they’re endlessly provocative blog fodder; because it seems important to be aware of what they’re selling to the gullible people who believe them.

It occurs to me that that’s not really all that open-minded. If I’m genuine in being challenged in my views, I should find some honest, reliable news sources to the right of me – but not so far to the right that they become mere spectacles to be derided. Just because someone has a more authoritarian, religious-based approach to social issues doesn’t mean that they’re of a sort with the shamelessly disingenuous smear-merchants I regularly decry. Likewise with someone who has a strong belief in the magic of the unfettered free market, the sanctity of the corporate form, and the villainy of the public sector. Decent human beings can, I guess, genuinely adopt these approaches whilst still being actually honest and fair and open to reasonable discussion.

But I can’t think of any such right-wingers. All the ones that come to mind are the same people who have repeatedly demonstrated that there are no depths to which they won’t sink. All of the ones I’ve tackled have revealed themselves to be the sort of people who will try to destroy an opponent’s personal life and offline professional life, purely because they disagree with them. The honest right, the right that could perhaps genuinely challenge our ideas, with whom we could engage in civilised, friendly debate, is being drowned out by the repulsive polemical right, to the point where I can’t actually put a name to the former.

Any ideas who I should be reading?

19 responses to “Who should I be reading from the right?

  1. I have never come across an honest, thought provoking right winger.

  2. savvastzionis

    There is no doubt that Gerard Henderson is a normal person from the right.

    I am surprised that you and the others at Pure Poison go him.

  3. Andrew Norton?
    If you’re looking at bloggers outside Australia, Tyler Cowan, Russ Roberts & Bryan Kaplan spring to mind (although they deal primarily with economics).

  4. Your trouble is that you only want to read from the right to be disgusted and to find things to deride, try instead to read without the leftist glasses on. You could try Borris Johnson who is a witty bloke http://www.boris-johnson.com/
    He is ostensibly a lefty but he is to your right so check out Nick Cohen http://nicholascohen.wordpress.com/

  5. Righto. Let’s have a look.

    Savvas – I used to think that Henderson was middle of the road and worth considering, but not after checking him more carefully. Gerard’s an old crank who tries to get people fired for daring to email him. He’s one of those rightwingers who’s demonstrated he’ll play dirty out of spite.

    He’s also a very, very boring pedant.

    I’ll add Andrew Norton to the reader, but if it’s just dry economic articles it might not last long.

    Tyler Cowen doesn’t seem to produce an actual blog with regular content. Russ Roberts likewise, although there’s apparently a podcast. (But I’m not looking for a podcast.) Bryan Caplan has a (very 1996 era) web page, but again, no blog.

    Boris Johnson, from checking his website, appears to be producing conservative-friendly cheer material (tax men suck! “scientists” should have their names in quotes, and suck! Labour MPs suck!) but without any actual argument that could persuade someone who’s not already sold on who the goodies and baddies are. It’s cheerleading, not argument.

    I’ll add Cohen.

    Who’s a right-wing equivalent of me? (Please be gentle.)

  6. Jeremy,
    Cowen’s blog is http://www.marginalrevolution.com, and Roberts’ is cafehayek.com (which they both share with one other). Bryan Caplan is at econlog.econlib.org (although, in hindsight, I doubt you’d enjoy him as much as the others, esp. Cowen).
    Norton does more than just try economics also.

  7. (Also, do you think your blog – in fairness – would fit the criteria you set out in what you’re looking for in a right wing blog?)

  8. All I’ve asked is that they be honest, reliable, and not run by scumbags who play shamelessly dirty to hurt people for disagreeing with them.

    In what way would my blog not qualify for that list? (Apart from not being right wing?)

    PS I might add your blog, Tim.

  9. Not always political, but broad ranging, is the Australian version of The Spectator.

    Apart from that, I got nothing!


  10. susansangiovese

    Mark Steyn.

    Skepticlawyer.com.au – Helen Dale is probably right-wing, but she is also very considered and scientific in her approach to things.

    Miranda Devine? I think her reputation often precedes her, somewhat unfairly because her writing is quite well thought out.

    Also, Chris Berg of the IPA who often has opinion pieces in the Age.

  11. Andrew Sullivan, who often applies theoretical perspectives to inform his thinking about issues. I also like Ross Douthat who is a columnist with the NYT, but sometimes he can be a bit sycophantic towards the GOP for my liking.

    Sadly I can’t think of any conservative intellectuals in Australia.

  12. Splatterbottom

    I get bored with sites that are overly partisan. Try RealClearPolitics. It links to articles from all viewpoints, as does A&L Daily, which is not all that political, but has really interesting stuff.

    You could also try City Journal.

  13. I would have said Skepticlawyer.com.au as well Jeremy, although I don’t believe she would be what could be considered hard right-wing.

  14. Aren’t we looking for Australian examples?

  15. +1 more for skepticlawyer.

  16. thefrollickingmole

    Id second city journal. Id also chalenge you to have a look at “life at the bottom”

    If you can read that (most of the writers articles are at city journal that are in the book) and still think lefty Id be amazed.

    Heres his articles at city journal.

    Heres a little bit which might make you think of something benign in a different light.

    “The National Lottery is both a form of gambling and a true tax, by means of which the poor pay for the pleasures of the rich. A committee awards the profits to orchestras, art galleries, dance companies—even a theater group composed of radical feminist ex-prisoners. The largest beneficiary so far has been the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where a heavily subsidized seat can still cost $400. But like all gamblers, lottery ticket buyers think not of where their lost stakes go but of how they will dispose of their winnings.”

    Id advise starting with the older articles first.

  17. I don’t know about skepticlawyer – they’re okay in what they write, but they also fraternise quite openly with the sort of bottom-dwelling righties who have no limits to which they will not sink – which they know very well. I find that very difficult to respect. There are a couple of links on their sidebar which are like a flashing orange WARNING sign.

    Marek is right – I’m looking for Australian examples. Blogs like this one would be nice. Many of the ones above don’t have comment facilities at all, or they’re professional writers who are unlikely to particularly engage with readers.

    TFM – I’m not really looking to buy a book. And, if the summary is any guide, I suspect that it would not have the result you suggest – he appears to be attacking a straw lefty, the right’s hilarious parody version where we oppose any kind of responsibility and want to turn people into dependent vegetables. That’s NOT what we’re advocating at all.

    Your last link – I already think that about the lottery. The pokies are the same.

  18. I think Catallaxy has a lot of good stuff from the right perspective that would fall into your criteria also.

    As for why your blog might not qualify, I think I may have misunderstood what you were after .

  19. Most political blogs seem to consist of a small group of people muttering ‘me too’, ‘me too’ to each other and occasionally popping their heads up to throw a Nazi reference at the opposition. This seems to have grown worse with the growth of the Internet.

    Although the Internet allows greater communication between people it also allows a greater ability to create gated communities (and, with it’s openness, provides greater access for peer groups to enforce those communities).

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