Go Forth And Travel

by Conor Friedersdorf

One of the most thoughtful right-leaning talk radio hosts is Dennis Prager, and his latest at National Review is worth a read. It marks a trip to the 100th country he has visited, and offers some excellent advice:

For many years, I have urged young people to take a year off after high school to work and to take time off while in college to travel abroad, ideally alone for at least some of the time. Nearly everyone grows up insular. The problem is that vast numbers of people never leave the cloistered world of their childhood. This is as true for those who grow up in Manhattan as it is for those who grow up in Fargo. And as for college, there are few places as insular and cloistered as the university.

Insularity is bad because at the very least it prevents questioning oneself and thinking through important ideas and convictions. And at worst, it facilitates the groupthink that enables most great evils. Although one can hold onto insular and bad ideas even after interacting with others, it is much harder to do so, especially when one interacts on the others’ terms, as must be done when traveling to other cultures (and especially when traveling alone).

It is therefore one of the most maturing things a person can do.

He offers this assertion too:

The moment you meet people of other faiths whom you consider to be at least as decent, at least as religious, and at least as intelligent as you think you are, you will never be the same.

It's nice to be reminded that I shouldn't fall into the bad habit of disparaging the whole "talk radio right." There are a few thoughtful voices in that grouping.