RALEIGH – Here’s an admission that may come as a shock to some of my longtime readers: I am not a political progressive.
But I do read a lot of articles and blogs written by progressives. As I’ve discussed in the past, I think it is critically important for everyone engaged in political or philosophical debate to make an effort to understand the arguments of others. It helps with framing one’s own arguments or rebuttals. It also leaves open the possibility, which seems ever-more-remote in today’s tropical climate of political rhetoric, that one might actually be persuaded and change one’s mind on an issue.
I’m becoming more comfortable with the use of the term progressive to describe left-of-center views, by the way. Having written in the past about my interest in reclaiming the term “liberalism” to describe my philosophy and that of, well, John Locke, I suppose I should take aid and comfort from whatever quarter it is offered. Hey, if they don’t want the term liberal anymore, I’ll take it back – though I’m not crazy about giving up the term progressive, either.
Back to the subject at hand. In my spare time (ha), I try to keep up with progressive sentiments on matters foreign and domestic, federal and local, by checking in with the following websites, starting with North Carolina-based ones:
• Ed Cone. Ed, of the Greensboro Cones, is a professional journalist and columnist for the Greensboro News & Record who was one of the early, effective users of a community-based blog. Much of the material is Guilford-oriented, but Ed and his posters also follow state and national affairs. Also a good source of links.
• The site of the N.C. Justice Center, also the roost of several of JLF’s regular sparring partners. Be prepared — many of the links are pdfs.
• OrangePolitics.org. Created by local activist Ruby Sinreich, this site is very local – but because the locality is Orange County, I find it compelling and entertaining, though not always in the same way that its participants probably do. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are different from the rest of the state in many ways, obvious and not-so-obvious. The site reflects that.
• Greendogs.org. This is the official site of the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina. Its president, Mac Whatley, is a friendly acquaintance who has served as mayor of Franklinville (in Randolph County). The 1st vice president is Gray Newman, a Green Party activist who happens to be the brother of one of my buddies from high school, Michael.
• BlueNC.com. A relatively new addition to my reading list, this site is fill of spirited, sometimes overly spirited, commentary. Scroll down a bit to see why I’ve been reading it this week.
• The American Prospect and its weblog TAPPED. Basic, well-spoken progressivism at the national level.
• The New Republic online. My former workplace, the purveyor of what was (briefly) called neo-liberalism in the 1980s. Still the most hawkish of the lefty think mags and websites.
If Daily Journal readers would like to submit other recommendations for regular reading, I’ll scan and pass along the more interesting ones. In the meantime, if you don’t already wander through these sites on occasion, give them a gander. And then ponder their offerings. As John Locke wrote, “those who have read of everything are thought to understand everything too; but it is not always so — reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge, it is thinking that makes what is read ours.”
Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.
Update: A correspondent suggests readers might want to check out the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies, a Durham-based tank. It is called Facing South.