Republicanism 101 for Teen Liberals
March 7, 2005 2:22 PM   Subscribe

CogentRightWingThinkerFilter: A friend of mine has a younger sister who is a well-educated and politically savvy 16-year-old liberal Democrat. In the interests of broadening her horizons, what sources for Republican or right-wing politics would you recommend for her?

Since this young woman resides deep in the blue territory we've all heard about, she has little exposure to the American right other than the trained monkeys that infest television and the popular media. Obviously, this isn't limited to the right, so I'm not looking for right-wing equivilents to Michael Moore or Jon Stewart. Something like a conservative Harper's magazine would be more the goal. Or, if there is some sort of seminal book on conservative politics that is well-reasoned and well-argued, that would also fit the bill. Polemic works or anything that uses the word "Liberal" as a synonym for evil are not what I'm looking for. I'd like her to have an understanding of the reasons the good, honorable, and thoughtful conservatives exist.
posted by stet to Society & Culture (69 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I was 16 if someone gave me right-wing books/magazines, even with the very best of intentions, I would have had a full-scale meltdown.
Hell, I'm a 25 year old liberal and I still don't take it well when someone gives me conservative reading suggestions.

I'd say approach this with caution. I can't even think of a way for you to bring the subject up with her that doesn't sound like you're trying to change her politics.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:29 PM on March 7, 2005


The New York Sun (NYSun.com) is a fantastic newspaper. LittleGreenFootballs.com is an excellent source for a reality check of Blue foreign policy BS.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:30 PM on March 7, 2005


Brooks' column on the Op-Ed page of the NYC might be a good entré, too. Also, Laura Ingraham's radio show: very accessible, entertaining (much more accessible than Rush).
posted by ParisParamus at 2:33 PM on March 7, 2005


It's not really Harpers' style, but what about the Economist? I tend to find it's subtext fairly conservative, but it's decently intelligent.
posted by duck at 2:35 PM on March 7, 2005


First of all, you can start by broadening her horizons beyond American politics, which are a bit bizarre when you think about it.

The Democrats are right-wing compared to several mainstream political parties in Canada, such as the NDP, for example. Our "extreme" far-right parties are probably sort of close to the Democrats, on many policies.

The Political Compass might be an interesting experience for her. It was for me. It is highly recommended.

The Economist is a good news magazine for economic neo-liberalism (capitalism, right-wing economics), and socially is usually quite moderate or even "libertarian". The Economist is a good marajuana to the obvious right-wing cocaine that will follow.

I'd also check out World Press Review for international news, as well as international news concerning American politics. The political spectrum (mainstream) is not that broad in America. I think people get a bit too caught up in this red/blue state thing, especially compared to some of the political parties you can find in places like Europe.

The Political Compass site has links to Amazon pages on books related to the different political quadrants. You can find some good recommended reads from the authoritarian right, left, and the libertarian right, left. Everything from Mein Kampf to Chomsky.

It's a really good site, that Compass joint.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 2:36 PM on March 7, 2005


P.S. The Political Compass is good because it lets her figure out where she stands, and finds her reading material that applies to what she already thinks she believes in. It also shows her opposing reading material that is not random talk show crap. DO NOT GIVE HER JUST RIGHT-WING STUFF. You need to make a bunch of suggestions from different spectrums.

It isn't just "left versus right". It's way more complicated.

Avoid anything party-related. No Republican or Democratic or whatever. Get the core ideologies out. That lets you make your own decisions.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 2:39 PM on March 7, 2005




the economist and christopher hitchens are two sources i enjoy (of course, the latter is arguably not right wing, but is at least a dissenting voice).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:42 PM on March 7, 2005


the New Republic has sort of morphed into one of the primary neocon mouthpieces in the last several years, and has some excellent writers on staff. I have a problem with their recent pro-war stance and they are quite a bit more conservative than I myself am on, well, almost everything, but the quality of writing and reason is excellent. My dad subscribed when I was a kid and I've been reading it on and off for years and have always been very impressed with the consistent critical framework that the editorial writers maintain.
posted by luriete at 2:45 PM on March 7, 2005


If she is interested in Christian theology at all, point her in the direction of First Things.

If she's not interested in theology, consider giving her a copy of Economics in One Lesson. It's not political, but it does bear on a lot of political issues.
posted by gd779 at 2:45 PM on March 7, 2005


Another vote for The Economist, which espouses a pretty strict free market worldview, including a strong pro-globalization bias. It does so cogently and from a relatively centrist stance--it's definitely not a full-on American Libertarian Market as God viewpoint. Socially, however, it's liberal, especially by U.S. standards. It also endorsed Kerry in the recent election, though it endorsed Bush in 2000, and supported the invasion of Iraq. It's also not a U.S. publication, so if you're strictly interested in American views, it might not be what your looking for.

It would give her a good sampling of what most Americans mean by "economic conservative", though. And the thorough coverage of international news will make that pill go down easy.

LittleGreenFootballs.com is an excellent source for a reality check of Blue foreign policy BS.

She's looking for something that's not strident and insulting, Paris.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Three cheers for The Economist. My favorite magazine.

Also: P. J. O'Rourke. A very funny and human Republican. Holidays in Hell and Eat the Rich would be my top recommendations, with the latter being quite political and the former just plain fun and interesting.

Blogs are always a risky proposition, but I enjoy Instapundit (although he's not so heavily right-wing as he is pro-Bush). He'd be good to get daily pokes at other points of view. Some people criticize his prediliction for "HEH" and "INDEED"-isms, where he just links to an article without discussing it, but I prefer that approach to rambling.

Definitely throw this material to your friend's sister with the notion that you're only going to show her how "the other half lives" - I know that this is what you're trying to do, and I support you wholeheartedly, but if she gets the wrong impression then it will completely backfire.

Also, exposing her to foreign points of view would also be wise, although he accumulative effect could be an infodump.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:49 PM on March 7, 2005


Another vote for the New Republic, also check out the op/ed page of the Wall Street Journal.

Also old standby's:

Town Hall is quite good, and I always enjoy reading National Review
posted by remlapm at 2:50 PM on March 7, 2005


The Economist and Reason magazine are both excellent conservative publications. I don't think many Republicans are reading them, though.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:52 PM on March 7, 2005


Also, while not right-wing material, Martin Gardner's Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener is an extremely intelligent example of someone forming their own ideas in life.

Christopher Hitchens and Camille Paglia are two other people who, while not right-wing at all, are well-spoken contrarians who are worth reading as examples of against-the-flow thinkers.

Oh, and top it all off with Alfred Jarry and his pataphysics. :)

On preview: I can't believe I forgot Reason! Reason is awesome! Reason is great! Reason I appreciate!
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:53 PM on March 7, 2005


Thanks much, folks, and please keep the suggestions coming. I do want to stress that I have no interest in changing her politics as, by and large, I agree with her. Political maturity seems to demand an informed understanding of one's opposition and that's more what I'd like her to have. During my own Liberal upbringing, I never dealt with conservatives as anything other than evil bogeymen, which made dealing with the many thoughtful conservatives I've encountered in adult life a bigger challenge than it need be.

It occurs to me the perhaps if theory exists that's not tied to current events which (as the blue can attest) have a tendency to inflame rather than inform, that may be ideal. It's a tough problem though, as will be the eventual presentation. That's why I'm asking for the help of y'all.
posted by stet at 2:53 PM on March 7, 2005


I'm one of those liberal folks, but I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal for some balance. I also like the Economist, and the Christian Science Monitor. I'm not sure I would call these conservative, but they provide an intelligent alternative to a paper like the Washington Post (which I also enjoy.)
posted by drobot at 2:54 PM on March 7, 2005


I am a stark raving dem, but often enjoy andrewsullivan.com.
posted by xammerboy at 2:56 PM on March 7, 2005


what luriete said about the new republic.

also, the atlantic monthly tends toward a reasonable conservative approach on many major articles (not all, mind you).

william f. buckley's writings, are, at the very least, intellectual.

i'd follow parisparamus' suggestions only if you're trying to hone her bullshit detector. little green footballs is a plague.

oh, and whoever recommended town hall must not have read your question.
posted by Hat Maui at 2:57 PM on March 7, 2005


I am quite left by USian standards, and I find some of the writers in The Atlantic (Brooks, O'Rourke) to express views to the right of mine that I still enjoy reading because they are thoughtful and/or well-written. Also, as relates to the earlier thread on switching sides (which I'm not about to do, by the way), I think it's germane to say that I'm old enough to read well-reasoned viewpoints by people whose views differ from my own as a matter of curiosity. I'm not sure 16 is the right age to do that - I think at that age the person is more interested in identifying their own self and their peer group through the selection of beliefs and affiliations, and setting themselves apart from those who affiliate otherwise.
posted by matildaben at 2:57 PM on March 7, 2005


Speaking as someone who's voted Republican in five of the last seven Presidential races, which must get me some kind of Republican cred, I've found most partisan Republican blogs pretty barren these days. So let me recommend some blogs outside the formal party.

I'd have recommended Andrew Sullivan, whose libertarian stand on social issues should recommend itself to the young woman in question, but he's sort of on hiatus these days. But he's still writing excellent essays, and they're linked. I'm also a big fan of Dan Drenzer's blog, where his intellectual honesty and fair-mindedness shine out. And finally, of course, there's Mr. Lileks, for the humanity and humor and good sense.
posted by mojohand at 2:57 PM on March 7, 2005


I would give her Atlas Shrugged.

Wait, don't hurt me!

Ayn Rand seems like an important step in the path of a lot of young political thinkers; her positions are (in my view, and my view at the time I first read her) untenable in the modern era, but I found her writing interesting. It also affected my thinking in a fairly profound way, when I was in high school.

I like The Economist, too.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:00 PM on March 7, 2005


I can't believe I forgot Reason!

Also, the Cato Institute, one of the best right-leaning sources for smart thinking against the Iraq invasion, as well as sharp critiques of overspending by the current administration from a Lib viewpoint. That's the kind of thing that might pique the interest of a 16-year-old liberal and actually encourage her to think beyond simplistic left-right or Rep-Dem party lines.

(Suggesting LittleGreenFootballs is just moronic in this case.)
posted by mediareport at 3:03 PM on March 7, 2005


Reason is a great magazine and site but I wouldn't call it conservative. Reason would be a great exposure to Libertarian and reasonable (no pun intended) anti-statist views without getting into Randian silliness.

Tacitus is a great website for mostly reasonable conservative viewpoints. Despite the site's owner being one of the co-founders of RedState.org, the site has morphed into one of those great places where conservatives and liberals can debate without descending into shouting matches.

The Belgravia Dispatch by Gregory Djerejian is a great site which usually takes a pro-Bush stance but isn't afraid to call bullshit on them when he sees it.
posted by pandaharma at 3:06 PM on March 7, 2005


LittleGreenFootballs.com is an excellent source for a reality check of Blue foreign policy BS.

Slagging everyone who doesn't agree with them with death threats and epithets is not much of a "reality check." Surely there's more reasoned and reasonable conservative communities than lgf.
posted by nearlife at 3:09 PM on March 7, 2005


I was always fairly impressed with George F. Will's stuff -- he's usually quite clear and lucid on the "why" of conservative principles. You can read many of his Washington Post editorials here .

I'll second, third, whatever: the Economist, National Review, Reason, and P. J. O'Rourke (particularly "Eat the Rich"). I'd also suggest Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson -- you really can't understand conservatism without a basic understanding of economics. In this same vein I'd also suggest Todd Buchholz's New Ideas from Dead Economists, which is an excellent overview of economic thought through the years.

For general conservative thought, I suggest Kirk's Portable Conservative Reader and/or his The Conservative Mind.
posted by kindall at 3:11 PM on March 7, 2005


I always though of PJ O'Rourke as more of a Libertarian, no?
posted by cosmonaught at 3:13 PM on March 7, 2005


I wonder what she is politically exposed to at school? Can she do any courses where debating or essay writing on politics are requirements.
She'll have to become more broadly aware whether she has to defend her lefty position or build a case against right wing policies.
posted by peacay at 3:14 PM on March 7, 2005


if you're going to give her atlas shrugged, why not also a copy of woodcock's anarchism? not right wing, but she might find it interesting to compare the two.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:16 PM on March 7, 2005


For the record: The New Republic is centre-left (with, perhaps, more centre than left). It is quite hawkish, but it is certainly not republican, or even particularly conservative.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:16 PM on March 7, 2005


I neglected to mention that The Conservative Mind (see my previous post) is generally considered the book that launched the conservative political movement, so it is fairly seminal.

Yes, O'Rourke is more of a libertarian than a conservative, but the two have many things in common. In a lot of ways a libertarian is just a conservative minus the religion.
posted by kindall at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2005




I like the O'Rourke and Hitchens suggestions, as well as Reason and The Economist. I've been thinking about them, as well as Andrew Sullivan, since stet asked me. Another blog I've heard a lot about is Asymmetrical Information by Jane Galt (which I think is a pseudonym).

By the way, "the young woman in question" is my sister.

She's not oblivious to international concerns - has spent time in Canada and continental Europe - but seems to have had only relatively shallow political conversations with non-Americans: "Why can't he pronounce nuclear?" and not "What do you think about x foreign or domestic policy, and what do you think about what your government thinks about it?" These haven't really led her to strengthen her reasoning instead of her convictions. I know the reasoning is there, somewhere, it's just not as developed as it could be. I mean, she's never been challenged by someone who's not a moron.

I think stet is right that input from the other side can only be good for her - he's definitely not trying to change her point of view. Or he better not be, if he knows what's good for him.

I think she is more intelligent and far more politically aware and active than average, but that is perhaps even more reason why she should have some external input. I'm sure she can process it in a constructive way.

I'm no help, really, as a big sister; I've always been unquestioningly liberal. Maybe I'll start a two-person reading group with her and tackle some of these recommendations.

On preview: Catholic girls' school, where the population is less than 50% Catholic and even the Catholic ones are very liberal. She is not Catholic. She is involved in the Young Democrats on campus. I don't think there's a Young Republicans.
She is in a debate team sort of thing but it is more legal-oriented - like a mock trial I think.
I like the idea of Atlas Shrugged + Anarchism.
posted by librarina at 3:22 PM on March 7, 2005


Robert Nozick?
posted by Doug at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2005


LittleGreenFootballs.com is an excellent source for a reality check of Blue foreign policy BS.

No, no, and no. Also, Town Hall, while slightly elevated in level of discourse and sometimes containing good ideas, is not, in general, a good idea.

However -- Thomas Sowell, a Town Hall columnist, has written several books that are worth reading. In particular, his Conquest and Culture.

I also echo the WSJ and Economist. And maybe even Ayn Rand.
posted by weston at 3:29 PM on March 7, 2005


Speaking as a Conservative, there are two publications that I would recommend that she pickup or subscribe to:

National Review and The Weekly Standard.

National Review is the standard for mainstream Conservative/Republican thought. Editors and writers include David Frum (former Bush Speech writer who coined "Axis of Evil"), Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru and of course William F. Buckley Jr.

The Weekly Standard is the standard for so-called "NeoConservative" thought. Editors and writers include Terry Eastland, Stephen F. Hayes, William Kristol, and Fred Barnes. (David Brooks, now of the New York Times, used to be an editor there as well)

Both of these publications reflect the current dominate thought on the American Right, and both of these magazines are read at the White House. (Not just by the interns either)

If you are interested in broadening your political horizons to the right, these more than any thing else mentioned, are where to start.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:36 PM on March 7, 2005


You may also wish to impress upon this young woman the importance of critical thinking and rhetoric. This is a start. It's a little wooly, but if there's anything out there worth memorizing and internalizing, this may be it.

Facts and theories are a dime a dozen, but you need something to sift and organize.

(For all I know, her debate club experience could be already doing this, but just in case it isn't...!)
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:36 PM on March 7, 2005


Just a quick followup on my suggestion, supra., Conservatism, broadly speaking, is an amalgation of various different schools of thought. For example, the free-market capitalist views of the Economist and the social conservatism of Edmund Burke both fall under the "conservative" label, but are very different in substance. It's worth exploring the intellectual origins of conservatism, including Burke, Hayek, and a few others, before approaching modern sources on political conservatism. I disagree that Ayn Rand is a particularly useful source on conservative thought, and I say that as a former self-described objectivist.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:37 PM on March 7, 2005


Although he's a libertarian, I'd recommend some of Milton Friedman's works, such as Free to Choose or Capitalism and Freedom.
posted by gyc at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2005


In my quest to hear all sides, I subscribe to three conservative and three liberal opinion magazines.

Of the three conservative magazines (National Review, Weekly Standard, and American Conservative), I find the first two have evolved mroe into pro-Republican magazines; and have become more partisan than political. But the American Conservative, started by Patrick Buchanan, continues to confound. It is consistently thoughtful and provocative (in the best sense).

I guess I'd have to say that I tend more left than right (although on The Political Compass I'm smack-dab in the middle), and I find more interesting, provocative, reasoned and consciencious articles in the American Conservative than anywhere else.

BTW, my three "liberal" magazines are The New Replubic, American Prospect, and the Progressive.
posted by curtm at 3:46 PM on March 7, 2005


Robert Nozick?
good idea, but i'd suggest avoiding "the examined life". i can't imagine a young person enjoying it at all. it's like being stuck in a room with grandad and no hope of escape.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:57 PM on March 7, 2005


As a slightly right of center person I find this question refreshingly open minded stet!

I would only add www.aldaily.com to this list. Does a nice job of presenting many points of view.
posted by vronsky at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2005


Overtly political: RealClearPolitics . Essays, columns and op-eds collected from mainstream rather than lunatic-fringe sources. Mostly conservative (George Will, Hitchens, National Review, Wall Street Journal) but with a fair sprinkling of counterpoint (Hendrik Hertzberg.)

Less overtly political, covers lots of other stuff, but in general more conservative than metafilter when it is political (also a lot smarter): Arts and Letters Daily. Brought to you by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Foe dessert: if you like P. J. O'Rourke and Tom Wolfe you'll like the one-man global content provider, Mark Steyn. His stuff is spread all over but a lot of it is collected on his
own website
.
posted by jfuller at 4:05 PM on March 7, 2005


For some reason I cannot keep my ass away from this thread...

S@L's suggestions are extremely cogent. Not only do The National Review and The Weekly Standard represent, of course, a variety of mainstream political thought in power at the moment, they also illustrate how many non-conservatives' notion of conservatism seems to either exclude or ignore the whole neocon phenomenon (the neoconemomenon, as it shall be known).

In my opinion, this omission only further illustrates why labels are tricky little bastards.

Also, while almost all of these suggestions have been terrific, we should keep a mind to start this person on the material that best combines wit, fact, and opinion - some of these suggestions, while good reads, might be a little dry if the intent is to introduce her to these sorts of viewpoints.

That's why I'm going to stick up, once again, for Eat the Rich. After she's broken through the "hey, smart, funny, good-willed people have different viewpoints" bubble - as well as the book's focus on exploring a variety of viewpoints and cultures as its MO - then the rest may make more sense.

Then again, I started reading Chomsky in high school on a pure lark (I just liked the title "Deterring Democracy"), so what do I know from dry. Check out a stack of books from the library and she'll like what she likes.

Alright. I'm gone now. Seriously. Off to rehearsal...
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:09 PM on March 7, 2005


woops, the ALDaily link, as vronsky says, is www.aldaily.com.
posted by jfuller at 4:09 PM on March 7, 2005


I read Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Annointed several years ago, and thought it was pretty good as a challenge to my then-still-developing beliefs. I'd recommend it.
posted by claxton6 at 4:10 PM on March 7, 2005


I'll add an Nth recommendation for the Economist. I've got to remember to subscribe to it myself.
posted by substrate at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2005


Maybe also Francis Fukuyama and Leon Kass?
posted by claxton6 at 4:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Asking purely out of curiousity: Why don't you just let her find her own way? Why try to influence her thinking at all? I'm not critcizing your question, I'm honestly interested as to why you feel the need to do this-- surely if she knows you, she knows that honourable conservatives exist? Can't she work things about for herself, or isn't conversation with you enough to spark some ideas? Again, I don't mean to sound overly critical, apologies if I do.
posted by jokeefe at 4:50 PM on March 7, 2005


seems completely understandable to me. who can resist political savvy 16 year old sisters? ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:58 PM on March 7, 2005


surely if she knows you, she knows that honourable conservatives exist?

See here: I do want to stress that I have no interest in changing her politics as, by and large, I agree with her.

I think stet wants to help her find her own way by challenging her with something that's not all rage and slur, that sincerely and earnestly argues for another way.
posted by claxton6 at 5:03 PM on March 7, 2005


Noted, claxton6 (though.... that isn't from the original question which started the tread, which is what I was responding to). I would have bit the head off anyone who tried to slip me conservative reading materials at that age, but that might just have been me; I did give Atlas Shrugged a try, as many people seemed to be reading it when I was a teenager, but it was so badly written that I only made it past the first couple of pages (and just as well).

She might do well reading some early (18th and 19th century) works of political philosophy, which would give her a historical context within which to place modern American conservatism. Just a thought.
posted by jokeefe at 5:15 PM on March 7, 2005


Barry Goldwater's Conscious of a Conservative is a good one too. It has been noted as one of the founding documents of the modern conservative movement.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 6:04 PM on March 7, 2005


I'm not sure if any of these suggestions are good for a 16-year-old, except Atlas Shrugged. (Town Hall or LGF certainly seem like the sort of thing that would ensure she votes Democratic for twenty years or so, which would be funny, but surely not what PP had in mind.) Juliet O'Keefe's suggestion on the Tory groundings of political thought would be perfect if she is that rare species of 16-year-old who enjoys reading Carlyle, and a similar objection holds for Nozick. Perhaps God and Man at Yale? Buckley is a fine writer, whatever one thinks of his politics and word maven frippery.

When I was in high school, I read a bunch of the backlash academic books (notably The Closing of the American Mind and Tenured Radicals), but surely the moment of relevancy for any of those has passed, if there ever really was one. The same may be true for Whittaker Chambers' Witness, although that has the merits of being by someone who played a small but genuinely important role in recent American history, as opposed to Roger Kimball.
posted by snarkout at 7:33 PM on March 7, 2005


Can I just say that I am impressed as hell by the intellectual honesty of this thread?
posted by LarryC at 7:33 PM on March 7, 2005


If you're interested in getting her a single magazine, The Atlantic Monthly is one of the best magazines in America, with a fine stable of regular writers and a distinctly neo-connish slant to its politics. All that plus a food column by Corby Kummer and a cute seahorse logo!
posted by snarkout at 7:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Actually, re-reading the question, P.J. O'Rourke is a pretty good suggestion; he's not really a thinker, but he is a good communicator of ideas that seem broadly accepted on the right. And I read him of my own free will at 16 without feeling like it was a chore, so there you have it.

Make sure she understands that O'Rourke ruined the National Lampoon, though.
posted by snarkout at 7:58 PM on March 7, 2005


Oh, duh. I can't forget Harry Stein's How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (And Found Inner Peace). I did the man's Web site, after all.
posted by kindall at 8:00 PM on March 7, 2005


I second Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:40 PM on March 7, 2005


Juliet O'Keefe's suggestion on the Tory groundings of political thought would be perfect if she is that rare species of 16-year-old who enjoys reading Carlyle, and a similar objection holds for Nozick.

Steve! Good to see you! (Sorry to derail, nothing to see here, move along)
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Read Reverend Moon's Unification News. He's a surprisingly influential conservative figure.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:43 PM on March 7, 2005


Stick with funny people to start with. Funny people will show her that Republicans are not all evil dour balding white male golfers who eat small children. (I grew up in an all-blue-state all-liberal environment as a kid and I know this is how we all thought of "those types". In that kind of world, in some ways, coming out as right-wing was harder than coming out as bi. Seriously.)

Anyway, funny people. James Lileks. Democrat turned Republican, or at least hawkish. Ex-MeFite too. He talks a bit in various pieces he's written about how his politics changed over time, and why.

Mark Steyn, Mark Steyn, Mark Steyn. Canadian guy living in the northeast US. Start with his early just-after-9/11 stuff and work forwards from there, or else the accumulated snark may drown her. A lot of his darker predictions and witty cynicism from the past few years have come to pass, which is a bit unsettling.

Jonah Goldberg at National Review. Some of what he writes these days is more serious and wonkish, but his early stuff for National Review Online--the G-File, which in its earliest incarnation in '98-00 was pretty much an early blog--was more about relating conservatism to the Simpsons, Animal House, Star Trek, and other pop culture references.

Actually, a lot of National Review is a good place to start for some red meat. The writers and subjects trend younger than you might think. I mean, this is the conservative magazine, and yet they also did a cover story on why the movie "Groundhog's Day" is essentially a socially conservative piece of filmmaking. (That was Goldberg, natch.) If you want to get a subscription to something, or try to read something everyday, start with NR.

And finally, she's female, she's going to need to feel like yes, there are perfectly smart and funny and sane women on the right too, that we're not all Ann Coulter's (ugh!) or housewife-robots. I wish I had a ready-made name to hand you on that account, but no one's quite as big. There's columnist Melanie Phillips from the UK, who is sharp, especially in foreign relations, but not really humorous. There's Jane Galt (real name: Megan McArdle), as mentioned above, who is a Penn grad and UChicago MBA economist type, who works at a newsmagazine-I-can't-mention, who can even make social security and tax minutae funny and interesting. (Disclosure: she's also a friend.) There's Virginia Postrel, editor of Reason Magazine, who has a blog and some good books. There are lots and lots of female pro-life bloggers, many of them not religious at all, if you at least want to alert her to the possibility that yes, such women exist, and yes, they are quite familiar with feminism.

Finally, good on you for trying to stretch your and her boundaries a little. Living in an echo chamber sucks.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:15 AM on March 8, 2005


I've found the basic-cheapest subscription to Strategic Forecasting to be well worth it. It's primarily geopolitics essays from a purely realpolitik state actor sense, which is the kind of reasoning that usually underpins the cogent variety of arguments from right-wing sources, so it's usually more conservative than not.
posted by Drastic at 2:19 AM on March 8, 2005


Link fixed.
posted by Drastic at 2:20 AM on March 8, 2005


Stick with funny people to start with. Funny people will show her that Republicans are not all evil dour balding white male golfers who eat small children.

Steer her away from overtly political humor, though. I think there's a danger there that that will show her that Republicans are evil heartless people who laugh at things that should never ever under any circumstances be laughed at.

The National Review also once did a great piece on Homestar Runner (probably Goldberg, don't remember) in which The Cheat was described as "defying Linnean classification," a description you would be unlikely to find in any other publication.
posted by kindall at 8:42 AM on March 8, 2005


Personally, as a "well-educated and politically savvy 16-year-old", I would have resented (and in retrospect resent immensely) anyone pigeonholing me into a political niche (be it broad or narrow) and suggesting that I read a truckload of useless political pundits from one or two sides of a given issue to get acquainted with it (sadly that is the only way to get acquainted with some things).

Instead I would have been far more thankful for good, personalized (for me, not for the recommender!) recommendations of fiction and historical literature, particularly by foreign authors.
posted by azazello at 9:06 AM on March 8, 2005


One good conservative blog I'd suggest is Disintegrator. This is the blog of occasional Mefite DWRoelands (disclaimer: he is a friend of mine) and I find his posts very intelligent and well thought-out, even if I don't agree with many of them. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2005


Well folks, there are a ton of great suggestions here. I'm a little overwhelmed (in the best possible way) at having to dig through all of the recommendations, but that's all part of the fun. Everyone has great suggestions, including those that I go real easy on presenting new reading material to a teenager. The tact and level of discourse here has been great and I appreciate it. Thanks, Metafilter.

(Say, this Little Green Footballs site is pretty great. Maybe I should make an FPP?)
posted by stet at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2005


stet, for your own health, I would recommend against it.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:21 PM on March 8, 2005


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