On Tuesday, Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich told CNNMoney that the editor in question had “made a series of egregious and inexplicable errors,” and on at least three occasions “deleted attribution that made it...
Daily Archive: April 20, 2016
Buckley changed things when he founded National Review in 1955. He introduced the philosophers to the populists. He published the traditionalists, the libertarians, the Cold Warriors in the same pages. Not only did he aspire to fuse free markets with traditional values, he wanted to be taken seriously by the New York media and cultural elite. Dismissed in embarrassing fashion by Dwight Macdonald in the pages of COMMENTARY in 1956, National Review was unquestionably the tribune of an engaged, informed, and rising American conservatism by the time Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California a decade later.
Why the transformation? Part of the reason is that Buckley and his editors spent an enormous amount of time and energy during the early years of the magazine disassociating their conservatism from its atavistic and gnostic forebears. National Review is a great example of media gatekeeping theory: By exiling anti-Semites, Birchers, and anti-American reactionaries from its pages, the magazine and its editor determined which conservative arguments were legitimate and which were not. By denying a platform to quacks and haters, they broadened their potential audience.
And Buckley did more than exorcise demons. He welcomed converts. When a group of anti-Communist liberals began to drift from the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Buckley and company lowered the drawbridge and welcomed the neoconservatives to the castle. “Come on in,” National Review editorialized, “the water’s fine.” The editors of the American Mercury never would have published writers with the surnames Podhoretz and Kristol. The editors of National Review did. The result was a conservatism infused with empiricism, with the densely reasoned argumentative style of the New York intellectuals. The Reagan administration would reap the benefits.
Maybe it wasn’t the biggest surprise to come out of the Treasury Department since FDR approved 3.2% beer during Prohibition, but Burt Likko welcomes today’s news about the government’s decision to shift the granting of high honors from one historical figure to another anyway.
But I didn’t stop at “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” I read the entire “Chronicles of Narnia” series, and learned lessons I suspect would have given my evangelical Sunday school teachers pause. Lewis’s theology is more expansive than that of my upbringing, and there are hints of universalism in his writing. Given that I have non-Christian relatives (see above), I found this alternative to the “they’re all going to hell, sad to say” point of view very appealing.
I loved those books. I love them still. And yet…
There are none-too-subtle traces of anti-Arab sentiment in a couple of them. The fictional Calormenes, despite the Scheherazade-like splendor with which they are described, are depicted with orientalist disdain. At one point toward the conclusion of the series they are taunted with the slur “darkies,” and it is not clear if the author is entirely unsympathetic to the speaker.