The Best Ideas You Can Read for Free
By John Zmirak
There is plenty of fluff and chatter online. But in between the kitten videos and breathless analyses of minor political blips, some of the best writing being done today appears in digital form. Here are just a few places where you can feed your mind and keep up with the latest debates among serious thinkers.
The Imaginative Conservative
This site features the writing of some of the best professors and essayists in America, reflecting on the deeper issues that underlie social and political trends. Learn about the moral foundations of the market economy, the religious message of the Constitution, the tensions between libertarians and traditionalists—in fully developed essays that you might be tempted to download, print, and read instead of your textbooks.
Arts & Letters Daily
This is the “arts” page of the elite Chronicle of Higher Education. It scans the Web for the most incisive reviews of contemporary culture and scholarship on every topic—from ancient art to postmodern politics. Instead of jargon-ridden research papers, it features clearly written, engaging articles from dozens of magazines all across the political map. Beware—you might make it your homepage. www.aldaily.com
Real Clear Religion
You might call this God’s Drudge Report. Each day it features dozens of well-chosen headlines from the bubbling profusion of sites that report on religion—from controversies relating to church and state and battles over textbooks and curricula to persecution around the world, bioethics, and social issues. Nonsectarian but on the side of the angels, this site will keep you up to date on the “ultimate things” in America.
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
Ever feel like there’s a nagging tension between economics and altruism? Between freedom and faith? The scholars at the Acton Institute document how economic, civic, and religious freedom work together to build a thriving, prosperous society that cares for its most vulnerable members.
This spin-off of the brash Breitbart.com uses its network of Los Angeles–based reporters to view popular culture from a conservative perspective. It showcases the political viewpoints of prominent media figures and scopes out which actors, directors, writers, and entertainers espouse traditional views that leave them out of place in Hollywood.