Sully’s been doing a somewhat wankerly, but ultimately quite interesting, series on conservative critiques of tourism (here, here, and here). He just posted the following brilliant (to me, at least) reader dissent to the project:
Chesterton, and Buckley most famously, and a great many other conservative figures, have what I experience as a mere love of contrarianism which they mistake for a love of excellence. The proposition that tourism narrows the mind is a foolish debate topic that appeals only to someone who takes delight in his powers of sophistry, and is willing in that name to set up oppositions that do not exist. Inward and outward journeys are simply not opposed, and to pretend that they are in order to adhere stuffily to the superior excellence of the inward journey is just irritating. It doesn’t make people deeper and more thoughtful and more excellent when they consciously seek ways to use delicate perceptions to rise above the unquestioned truisms of the mob; it just makes them irritating. They are irritating in this respect even when–as sometimes happens–I agree with their conclusions.
As much as I despise modern conservatism, I have to admit that contrarianism for contrarianism’s sake is a hallmark of much of our elite discourse, conservative and otherwise. Maybe we’d be better off if our opinion-makers just stuck to plagiarism.