Selected readings from the left and from the right

Published April 12, 2019

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.


From "Privileged", by NBA Utah Jazz player Kyle Korver in the Players' Tribune.

The context, from the author: How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country? These are the questions that I've been asking myself lately.

The excerpt: There's an elephant in the room that I've been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It's the fact that, demographically, if we're being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court. And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we've been discussing them since, I've really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It's like — I may be Thabo's friend, or Ekpe's teammate, or Russ's colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them. But I look like the other guy. And whether I like it or not? I'm beginning to understand how that means something.

From "I Was an Anti-Vaxxer — Until My 13-Year-Old Daughter Asked Me to Vaccinate Her," by Melissa Wilcox as told to Sam Van Pykeren in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: We lived in rural Montana. ... As trusting of each other as everyone is (there), there's an underlying fear of trusting the government. It's this mindset that if you can teach yourself, that's the best thing you can do. You don't depend on others to educate you. That's how I fell into that type of (anti-vaxxer) thinking.

The excerpt: I came around for many reasons. My now husband, friends — they talked to me and conversed with me. I can only speak from my own experience, but it's those conversations with people I respect and adore — and living outside the bunker, end-of-the-world thinking — that changed my mind. My advice to others is don't be afraid to look at information that you might not agree with. The mind and the heart are never something that should be set in stone.

From "It's Time to Stop Pretending the Murdochs Are in the News Business," by Eric Alterman in the Nation.

The context, from the author: For Rupert Murdoch and his sons, the press has always been the prime weapon in their power-seeking agenda.

The excerpt: Murdoch watchers have long argued over whether Rupert Murdoch is motivated more by money or power. The answer, almost always, is "yes." That's the man's genius: In his case, the two travel in tandem. But should they conflict, it is the money that matters.


From "America Just Declared War on Iran and Nobody Blinked," by Scott Ritter in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: The Trump administration has made the decision to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its Quds Force, a terrorist organization. This little-reported move will have large consequences, shredding the prior truce with Iran.

The excerpt: Given the fact Washington is currently engaged in a global "war" on terrorism, this designation — which places the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the same footing as ISIS and al-Qaida — means that the U.S. is in effect at war with Iran. ... (And) given (the) direct link between American and Iranian aggression in Iraq, there can be no doubt that the Trump administration understands that by designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, it has placed the lives of thousands of American personnel still serving in the Middle East at risk.

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From "Working Moms Need Your Encouragement, Not Your Judgment," by Jennifer Babisak in the Federalist.

The context, from the author: Working moms get snide remarks sometimes from people who don't know anything about all the trade-offs and factors that went into their decisions. Can that stop?

The excerpt: My critics are right in some regard. They recognize what progressive politicians and woke education lobbyists will not admit: Children best spend their preschool years in the arms and home of a loving parent. Biology persuades that this parent should be the mother, but a loving father can also provide nurture and guidance far superior to that of the best preschool or day care. Nevertheless, criticizing mothers who cannot afford such an ideal childhood helps no one, and it hurts families who are trying to scrape by. Proclaiming a pro-life agenda in every political campaign and street corner while condemning both working women and social welfare is a hypocrite's agenda, or one soaked in the naïveté of blue blood.

From "The New German Question: What Happens When Europe Comes Apart?" by the neoconservative Robert Kagan in Foreign Affairs.

The context, from the author: Even before this liberal world order began to unravel, it was always a question how long Germany would be willing to remain an abnormal nation, denying itself normal geopolitical ambitions, normal selfish interests and normal nationalist pride.

The excerpt: Nationalism is on the rise across Europe; democracy is receding in some parts of the continent and is under pressure everywhere; the international free-trade regime is under attack, chiefly by the United States; and the American security guarantee has been cast in doubt by the U.S. president himself. Given Europe's history, and Germany's, might not these changing circumstances once again bring about a change in the behavior of Europeans, including the Germans? If the Germany of today is a product of the liberal world order, it is time to think about what might happen when the order unravels.