The closing of the left-wing mind

The closing of the left-wing mind

“…Letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed,” The Los Angeles Times proudly announced last year. The newspaper was not alone in expressing such sentiments. Other influential news outlets, such as BBC, have asserted the same. But what explains this close-mindedness?

In The Closing of the American Mind, Professor Allan Bloom describes how the idea of “openness”—relativism and subjectivism—renders the existence of, and hence the search for, moral and philosophical truths a fiction.

Ironically, however, he documents that such openness leads to the closing of the mind. Relativism begets both an intolerance of absolutism and a dogmatic faith in hard sciences, such as mathematics, statistical analysis and atmospheric computer modeling, which are value-free, as the only means to truth. Challenging these methods of truth is intolerable.

Regretfully, most of the intelligentsia and media are deeply rooted in this mindset, which is why BBC, the LA Times and others consider it perfectly legitimate to silence those who wish to debate global warming—including thousands of prominent skeptical scientists, such as Richard Lindzen, Ian Plimer, and Bjorn Lomborg, to name just a few.

Worryingly, this close-mindedness is not limited to this issue.  For instance, prominent commentator Paul Krugman cavalierly stated that the other side’s economic and political opinions are unworthy of regular engagement:

Some have asked if there aren’t conservative sites I read regularly. Well, no. I will read anything I’ve been informed about that’s either interesting or revealing; but I don’t know of any economics or politics sites on that side that regularly provide analysis or information I need to take seriously.

Few on the side of Krugman, the LA Times and BBC will find this trend alarming. But for everyone else, it is.

Cross-posted at Diversity of Ideas

David Weinberger

David Weinberger

David Weinberger previously worked at the Heritage Foundation. He currently resides in the Twin Cities, and he blogs at


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