Authors Archives: Ted V. McAllister

Can the Left Govern?

I am unclear as to whether I’ve been a spy or a voyeur as I’ve read Michael Berube’s The Left at War.  One thing was clear from the start—the author wanted to write this book to persuade, but not to persuade me.  If each of us draws a circle containing tolerable or respectable beliefs at some specific radius from one’s own views, Berube offers unmistakable boundary markers separating those whose disagreements matter and those who are intellectually untouchable.  This is hardly a critique since I cannot imagine any of us participating in an intellectual community without such a circle, however large.  But there are ways of appreciating an argument even when one stands outside of the intellectual circle—even when one is not part of the conversation, even when one is a spy or a voyeur.

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