The Guardian, the voice of the left-wing British establishment, has published a media guide for readers who would like to understand American conservatism while minimizing their contact with actual conservatives. The writer is Jason Wilson, an Australian who lives in Portland, Oregon, so you know he’s really in touch with the big, hot-blooded heart of America. Wilson writes:
Herein lies the problem: many of us now live in “filter bubbles” wherein social media algorithms tend to feed us only those perspectives that we already agree with. Let’s assume, then, that all of us, including progressives, do need to broaden our horizons, and seek out more views that differ from ours.
One of the conservative political magazines he recommends is Reason. Now, Reason is a great magazine, a magazine people should read. But it’s a libertarian magazine.
The Guardian also recommends TAC, for which I am grateful, I suppose. But look:
Once again, this comes with mile-high health warnings. The American Conservative was co-founded in 2002 by that proto-Trump Pat Buchanan, who ran for president three times on a “paleo-conservative”, isolationist, anti-migration platform. It plays host to arch-reactionaries such as Rod Dreher, who spends a lot of time worrying in print about who uses which bathroom.
But because it was founded in opposition to neoconservatives and the war they started in Iraq, it has long offered space to unique, and principled, anti-war voices (including some on the left).
And although many paleocons (including Buchanan) supported Trump, as he begins to surround himself with neoconservative advisers, expect incisive conservative critics of Imperial America like Andrew Bacevich to step up.
I can hardly express how delighted it makes me to have been branded an “arch-reactionary” by The Guardian … except for the fact that it’s like being called a racist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. If all it takes to be an arch-reactionary in the eyes of The Guardian is to be against penis-persons using the women’s bathroom, then the United States is so riddled with Yankee Doodle de Maistres that if Trump doesn’t work out, we’ll install the Bourbon monarchy. Anyway, I’ll happily take the compliment, but I must say that only a furriner who lives in the People’s Republic of Portlandia could mistake Your Working Boy for an arch-reactionary.
It is certainly true that TAC’s conservatism is more sympathetic to Trumpism than is the conservatism of National Review or The Weekly Standard, though it should be pointed out that both Daniel Larison and I were not Trump supporters during the campaign (but editor-in-chief Dan McCarthy was, in his private capacity). You can get a much better idea of what drives Trump-friendly conservatism by reading this site than our competitors. Still, what’s interesting is that Comrade Wilson only wants his readers to pay attention to right-of-center media sources insofar as those media sources confirm what they already believe.
Here’s the funniest thing of all from Wilson’s piece:
Faith-based publications offer another source of thoughtful political journalism, even if it’s not always based on principles that progressives can agree with.
America Magazine, published by the Catholic Jesuit order, has already begun reporting on moves to resist immigration raids, and regularly features opinion contrasting the teachings of Pope Francis with the shibboleths of American conservatism.
Understand: The Guardian advises its readers who want to get inside the heads of American religious conservatives to read America, a generally liberal magazine published by a liberal religious order. There are lots of reasons to read America, I suppose, but getting an idea of what religious conservatives think is not one of them.
Then again, Wilson suggests that Guardianistas read Tikkun, the very left-of-center Jewish magazine, and consult the website of the Uniting Church, which has been “as unstinting in their criticism of Trump as any progressive website.”
Um, I don’t know quite how to tell Jason Wilson and his editors, but the Uniting Church does not exist in the United States. It is an Australian institution. Jason Wilson knows so little about American religion that he assumed a church from his native country has an American branch.
It looks like Jason Wilson assumes that all religious people are some form of conservative — and nobody in The Guardian‘s editorial chain of command knew enough about religion to counter him.
What was that Wilson was saying about living in “filter bubbles”?