Camille Paglia, a shall-we-say controversial form of a feminist liberal author and columnist (a quote from whom has been gracing the upper right corner of my blog since its inception over four years ago), is the sort of thinker I greatly respect.
Her views on a number of political and moral issues are often nearly polarized from mine, but over the past few years I've been reading her columns and I have to admire the open-mindedness she exhibits. Her article from today is interesting, and makes a jarring contrast to the "party line":
It would be simple-minded of me to only celebrate the "mavericks" that rebel from an opposing side...calling Lieberman a hero and, well, the whole great lot of RINOs traitors, or what-have-you. I certainly have my qualms with a great deal of what parades under the banner of conservatism, particularly "social conservatism", which is often at great odds with liberty and my generally libertarian philosophy, and most definitely "compassionate conservatism" which in the past eight years we have come to understand is nothing more than a mild escalation into Western socialism with a GOP-branded cover. In fact it is my libertarian tendencies at which I find the most common ground with Paglia, with the distinct difference what sort of libertarianism we prefer; Paglia seems wedded to social/moral libertarianism, which I accede to in most instances but do not as keenly embrace, and I lean more heavily towards economic libertarianism. But still, almost every article she writes, if she can pull herself away from her mindnumbingly-dull pet topics of feminist art, Madonna, and Daniella Mercury, I am quite impressed by her honesty and clarity of critical thought. Put it this way...I want to be as clear of a thinker in support of my ideological beliefs as she is of hers. The sort of "enemy" (and I use that term with a comic glint in the eye, I have no malice towards those whose beliefs differ from mine) that one admires and respects.
Again, on many issues I disagree heartily with her, but her respectfulness of the other positions (even having kind words for that bogeyman of the Left, Rush Limbaugh!) and her insightful criticism divorced from emotion and dogma make her the sort of liberal from which our country benefits. Likewise for conservative thinkers; give me William F. Buckley Jr. over, say, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter, any day.