Expand your mind through a more diverse reading list

Newstand
Upper East Side newstand in New York in a 2012 file photo.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Americans of all political stripes should expand their reading to include viewpoints they may not agree with, argues Ross Douthat in the New York Times.

Douthat prescribes three remedies for what he sees as our limited perspective:

1. Subscribe to a magazine with a viewpoint counter to your own

"So if you love National Review's political coverage, add The New Republic or The Nation to your regular rotation as well. If you think that The New Yorker's long-form journalism is the last word on current affairs, take out a Weekly Standard subscription and supplement Jeffrey Toobin with Andy Ferguson, Adam Gopnik with Christopher Caldwell ... And whenever you're tempted to hurl away an article in disgust, that's exactly when you should turn the page or swipe the screen and keep on reading, to see what else the other side might have to say."

2. Read things from far away

"Even in our supposedly globalized world, place still shapes perspective, and the fact that most American political writers live in just two metropolitan areas tends to cramp our ability to see the world entire. So the would-be cosmopolitan who currently gets a dose of British-accented sophistication from The Economist -- a magazine whose editorial line varies only a little from the Manhattan-and-D.C. conventional wisdom -- might do well to read the London Review of Books and The Spectator instead."

3. Read more "marginal and idiosyncratic voices"

"Start on the non-Republican right, maybe, with the libertarians at Reason magazine, the social conservatives at First Things and Public Discourse, the eclectic dissidents who staff The American Conservative. Then head for the neo-Marxist reaches of the Internet, where publications like Jacobin and The New Inquiry offer a constant reminder of how much room there is to the left of the current Democratic Party."

One of the guests on The Daily Circuit on Thursday, Jan. 31 took Douthat to task for a list or reading recommendations he thinks is too narrow. J. Peder Zane wrote in The Daily Caller,

"Open our minds, yes! But his list has so many usual suspects that it could have been cobbled together by Captain Louis from "Casablanca." This might be wise if the prestigious publications and writers he cites had the cure for what ails us. But, truth be told, they -- and, more accurately, the much larger mainstream in which they swim -- are part of the problem he is addressing."

Also on the program: Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who wrote in a recent column, "I love opinions that I agree with, certainly, but often enough I enjoy even some I disagree with."

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