I have been reading Op-ed articles for over 30 years now. I'm not sure who or what started my interest in reading opinion pieces. I remember liking Mike Royko, probably because he was witty and irreverent. It's been over a dozen years since I subscribed to a newspaper. With the advent of the internet, printed papers have become unnecessary.
There are people that I read or listen to because I agree with them. There are people that I read because I disagree with them, but I enjoy being challenged by their thinking. I suspect that other people share the same fascination. Rush Limbaugh has made an outstanding career and a small fortune out of this phenomenon; as have other personalities, like Ann Landers and Dear Abby.
One of the reasons I am drawn to this type of entertainment is because I want to see how someone with a particular viewpoint addresses an issue. Let's be honest about this point, it is mostly entertainment, not education, not information. Why do people tune into Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil? We like seeing train wrecks. We also like hearing our thoughts in other people's voices. Has there ever been a Dr. Laura show where the answer to at least one segment wasn't, "get off your back and quit being a slut"? We like that answer. We wish we were able to say something just like it, but for some reason we don't.
The Op-ed Page is a lot like that. We know that the world is a giant train wreck. We like hearing other people articulate our rather sensible solutions to todays problems. Some authors like a Pat Buchannan or Walter Williams are going to come at a problem from a fixed philosophical perspective. If you understand their perspective you can probably know their conclusion without reading the piece. The enjoyment comes from watching them work out and articulate the solution.
Other authors have a fixed solution but no overall philosophical perspective. While we see this idiocy in many left leaning people, they don't bother me as much. The leftist wants a utopia without effort. The quasi-conservative wants a different utopia, one without fixed philosophical principle. The reason the leftist doesn't cause me as much concern is that he will never achieve his goals. Indeed he cannot. Contradicting ideas produce contradicting results. The leftist will forever spend his time rushing about pandering to the loudest whimpering's of whatever aggrieved group is in vogue de jure.
The quasi-conservative is a much worse creature. He is articulating a vision of something that does work. His world is a good place. Good people recognize it when he speaks of it. The quasi-conservative (Quasi-Con) assumes the utopia without a solid philosophical perspective.
The Quasi-Con wants a world where everyone lives according to fixed principles. He wants to count on others behaving themselves in a predictable fashion. He wants the benefit of an ordered society based on immutable philosophical principles. He is willing and wants to live with them. He is willing to go along with them. He doesn't understand those principles, because he doesn't share them. That is why he is powerless to communicate anything beyond a desire to live in a Quasi-Con Utopia.
I suspect this is part of why I find Lord Monckton such a frustrating read. He starts off well. He means well. He ends up with solutions that are void of fixed philosophical principle. Which is why he ends up supporting guns, except of course these guns, under these circumstances, or free speech except for this kind of speech. A principle isn't a principle if you have to surround it with a fence of exceptions.