Southern Religion

‘Dissent’ (the magazine) comes to blogging

Literate American dissent, not the bizarre ramblings of attention hungry broadcast personalities, may be most closely identified with the small-circulation magazine “Dissent.”

True to their history, they’ve launched a blog called “The Arguing World.” Online Editor David Marcus explains:

Dissent has always been an international project. Founded with the hope of finding “what in the socialist tradition remains alive and what needs to be discarded,” the magazine took its early inspiration as much from the socialism and social democracy of postwar Europe as it did from its opposition to the growing conformity of American intellectual life. “American writers had [always] reached out toward Europe,” wrote Irving Howe in A Margin of Hope, and in the 1950s, “at the end of a line…the idea of Europe gave [us] a renewed energy.”

It is with this same hope for renewed, as well as new, energy that we are pleased to launch “Arguing the World”: a blog that will transcend borders and oceans, sects and parties. Our choice of comrades is transatlantic, and our arguments will be with those at home and abroad, on the right and on the left. Over the years, Dissent has become a platform for a breed of utopianism that has been, at once, democratic and radical, connected and cosmopolitan; and it is this vision of a grounded, worldly utopianism that will be a guiding spirit for our blog. “Arguing the World” will be an online conversation that not only traverses the world but will also be of it.

“Arguing the World” takes its name from Joseph Dorman’s documentary about four young radicals who gathered in a City College cafeteria to debate politics and literature. One of them was Irving Howe, who became a founding editor of Dissent; the others—Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, and Nathan Glazer—went on to edit the Public Interest. Each went his own political direction—Bell once quipped that he was a “liberal in politics, a conservative in culture, and a socialist in economics”—but taken together they represented a particular way of thinking, and arguing, and worrying, out loud.

Theirs is a cultured, civilized dissent, informed by history like From Nixon to Prager, and mercy, like Too Many Children Left Behind. Worth a visit.

[H/T: Matthew Boudway]


March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Cultural |

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