Friday, September 14, 2007

Hacks in Buckley's House

"Incidentally, I subscribed to The National Review a few weeks ago under the rationale that I need to follow conservative commentary, rather than just liberal commentary about conservative commentary. I haven't regretted it." -Ezra Klein.

Ezra Klein, for those of you who don't know, is a super smart liberal blogger and also writes for the American Prospect. While I applaud Ezra for engaging the other side, I don't think there is much worthy of engaging with at the National Review. The state of conservative commentary is much like the movement in general these days, piss poor. If you look at the National Review, and I say this in utter dissapointment as a conservative, the state of the magazine with few exceptions is hackish, reactionary, and dull. It is the former as opposed to the latter two that principally concern me. Conservativism is inherently reactionary. A central tenet of conservatism is the preference for existing institutions over new ones as they have demonstrated a degree of fitness that is evident in their mere existence. But there has been too much capitulation and cheerleading within the conservative movement, and this is especially so in the movement's flagship publication: the National Review. There are some good writers, Ramesh Ponurru springs to mind, but for the most part it is an uninspired and increasingly hackish lot. Larry Kudlow is a sycophant. Reading one of his columns will simply make you dumb. And the business of foreign policy, the notion of extending liberty is consonant to conservatism but the promotion of democracy where underlying institutions do not exist is a project that conservatives typically have not countenanced. The National Review boasts no shortage of boosters for these types of efforts whether it be the Michael Ledeen who I think is a bonafide loon or Cliff May. I don't even want to touch on the Weekly Standard which is expensive toilet paper that is running out of countries to propose invading. In the competition of ideas, the major conservative publications are no longer relevant.

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