Originally Posted by ohreally
These guys have my vote. Horgan and Johnson are a good model of what works in the bhtv format. Same with Loury and McWhorter. Not so much with McArdle, Althouse, Lake, etc.
The adversarial model doesn't work. Debaters invariably rehash known ideas while trying to score points with viewers. The ideal format has the heads all but forgetting the presence of an audience. Take Horgan and Johnson: these are two friends having a smart conversation at a cafe, kind enough to let us in on their discussion. But they don't need us in their mental frame. We're irrelevant, which is why it works. We observe their wavefunction but we don't collapse it. Horgan and Johnson are post-quantum -- a compliment, by the way. But in the adversarial mode, especially when the chemistry sucks, the participants' urge to score points with us makes them collapse their wavefunction in quick ill-tempered utterances with no particular connection to truth or logic.
Right-left pairings look good on paper but they favor performance over reason. And performance gets tiresome.
The left/right pairings sometimes seem like dialogs of the deaf, as they say, but they don't have to be. It really is possible to have good discussions between people who consider themselves to be on the opposite side, "right" or "left", "conservative" or "liberal", where people find common ground and explore their differences. The same is true of discussions between people who see themselves as being on the same "side" in those terms. They can be boring if all they do is agree with other, rather than discussing their common ground and their differences.
Somthing that fascinates me is, what makes two people who can seem to disagree on so many things, even very important issues, still feel they are on the same "side" of something so vague as the line between "right" and "left", or even, "conservative" and "liberal". And why is the opposite true, i.e. two people who can think of themselves as being on the "same side" can disagree on so much. And, BHTV has been, hopefully will continue to be, a good place for finding ideas about that.
This, btw, is why someone like Christopher Hitchens was so interesting, and, even now, some people are convinced he abandoned the left, so to speak, while it seems so obvious to me that he didn't. Matt Lewis said Huntsman, no matter how conservative he is, doesn't "sound" like a conservative. And, that's what I think about Hitchens, no matter what he said he still "sounded" like a leftist to me, if you listened enough. And it's interesting to think about what that really means.
PS: I disagree about Eli Lake. He's my favourite "neo-conservative".