‘I Like to Try to Get All Points of View’ | National Review

‘I Like to Try to Get All Points of View’ | National Review

Lincoln Center Plaza, in New York City, transformed into a park, on May 17, 2021 (Jay Nordlinger)

At the end of today’s Impromptus, I have some comments on the performing arts: Will they come back? When? Will the audience be there? How will the performing arts be changed, if at all?

Above, you can see a photo of Lincoln Center Plaza, in New York City. There are no concerts, operas, ballets, or shows going on. So the plaza is a bona fide park, with excellent fake grass laid down. If those people would get out of the way, I could practice my wedge shots.

Impromptus today begins with Mitch Daniels, and his commencement address at Purdue. (Also his unusual entrance into the ceremony.) I further speak of “identity politics,” fervent nationalism, capital punishment (specifically, means of execution), and other subjects.

In a column last week, I had an item on George F. Will, who has just marked his 80th birthday. A reader writes,

Your tribute brought back a flood of memories. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s (hitting the age of majority in 1990), and I believe I started reading our local newspaper’s op-ed page in the mid-’80s. George Will’s column was must-read for me, and I learned much from him during those years. He was eminently sensible and persuasive. I grew up temperamentally conservative, but Will helped me fill in the substance.

Our newspaper also carried Cal Thomas, Ellen Goodman, Leonard Pitts, Dave Barry, Richard Cohen, Nat Hentoff, and (my personal favorite) Mike Royko. I learned a lot from all these folks, and (I hope) learned to separate the wheat and the chaff.

What a beautiful note. Yes, you ordinarily had a variety of views on an op-ed page. You could get a taste of many points of view. Does that still happen? We hear that, today, everyone is in his own “silo,” consuming only what he will automatically agree with. Frankly, I’m glad I grew up in an earlier time.

Another reader says that he was a college freshman in 1981, taking an introductory course on American politics. “Our professor referred to George Will as a ‘classical conservative.’” The professor assigned a variety of reading, including An Inquiry into the Human Prospect and The Incredible Bread Machine.

The former is a once-famous book by Robert L. Heilbroner, a socialist (though a very intelligent and realistic one), and the latter a once-famous book by R. W. Grant, a free-market man.

At the end of the semester, says our correspondent, “I still could not tell what our professor’s politics were.” And “I hope beyond hope that courses are still taught in such a way in our universities.”

Well, that would be something.

Finally, our correspondent mentions Annie Hall, the Woody Allen movie of 1977. Alvy (played by Allen) notices that Annie (Diane Keaton) has a copy of National Review. “What are you turning into?” asks Alvy. Annie replies, “Well, I like to try to get all points of view.”

I wonder whether that spirit exists today. It is probably important to societal health.

Is my column today important to societal health? I wouldn’t go that far, but there are some interesting things in it. Again, here.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.