At this tail end of my second week sans Internet or cable at my (new!) home, I’ve turned wholly to newspapers for my daily bread and have realized some important lessons.
First, what were we thinking? We are the conservatives, the denizens of all things tried and true. We are nostalgic for better times. We seek the established and the good and, while we may improve, we do not eschew the bases for what has proven effective. Many of my generation gave up on newspapers because there’s no point in paying $1.25 for news that’s marginally free online. But that’s not how conservatives roll. We believe in paying for quality and stimulating the economy, not saving trees and promoting a blogger whose contribution to the debate links to a MySpace page w/ a Twilight background. Of course news online can also be quality and stimulates the economy — I’d just like to remind conservatives to remember the source of our information. Be rigorous in your thinking and avoid having to be vigorous in your backpedaling!
Then consider the scope. Printed periodicals condense the metro, the community, and the world into those noteworthy stories of the day. Tailor your reading, but it’s just lazy to ignore opposition. Formal news sources not only require rigorous thinking about stated presumptions, they also expose weak arguments and diverse points of view. While it’s easy to dismiss this as “bar bar”-ism, that’s pure intellectual sloth. I get honing one’s own argument, but tailoring a thought process free from diversity is absurd — and such the unfortunate trend in our generation. Newspapers make it easier to buck that trend and avoid an ugly fate!
Finally, nurture your own brain. We have all become latte-sipping op-ed readers. It’s easy to forget that what we are reading is indeed an opinion and not The News. When we prefer unedited, unverified dither to news with a backbone we ignore our educations and blithely waste time. While the blogosphere’s din may be tempting it is not Our Community. I’ve written before about how critical it is for us to pay attention to local news. Indeed, it took a Senator from another state to point out that Alexandria should not be forced to host the Gitmo detainees in town! Hello, kiddos: taxation without representation, where representation begins w/ one’s representation of his own interests, which in turn requires education as to what interests he should protect.
I <3 blogs and I <3 the Internet. But after reconnecting with news over which I have no control I’m motivated to keep up with my community and keep reading diverse opinions. I’m re-committed, like Juliet in Romeo’s last hours, to the newspaper.