From time to time, I have been asked to make a pitch for NRO, and this has caused me to think about NRO. Here is my frank conclusion: I love this website. I read it daily. It teaches me, stimulates me, entertains me, and so on. I value it now more than I ever have. Not sure why, I just do. And I find it worth paying for — so I do.
What have I read lately, just in the last several days? Well, Mark Steyn on 9/11 commemorations, and what’s wrong with them. Victor Davis Hanson on Obama and his spentness (if I may put it that way). Jim Lacey on Saddam’s WMD. Kathryn Lopez on the special election in Queens.
The magisterial Conrad Black on the West’s general malaise. Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg on Rick Perry, and the Republican presidential race more broadly. Kate Trinko on the same. John Bolton on the weakness — the dangerous weakness — of Obama’s foreign policy. Kevin Williamson on our financial recklessness.
Bob Costa on Joe Lieberman. David Pryce-Jones on a journalist so unsavory, I won’t even name him. David Kahane on — well, the peculiar, amazing inner world of David Kahane.
Thomas Sowell, Mona Charen, Michael Barone, Charles Krauthammer . . .
Mind you, I’ve been talking about a mere week of my NRO reading. And even in this short space, what a cornucopia, what an abundance! It’s as though someone had come to me personally and said, “What kind of website would you like to read? Who are your favorite writers? I’ll gather them all in one spot. I’ll go to this trouble just for your pleasure and edification.” And, voilà: NRO.
Back to this business of paying: I don’t know about you, but, as a rule, I don’t pay for things on the web. What I mean is, I don’t subscribe. I don’t really care to venture beyond “pay walls.” A colleague of mine says, “I’ll go you one better. To heck with paying — I won’t even register! If they say, ‘Just take ten seconds to register first,’ I won’t do it. It’s not worth the time.”
I know exactly what she means. But I make a contribution to NRO, because I value it so, and want to. I don’t give a fortune. And I don’t give a mite. I give just a decent chunk, you know? Something that makes a respectable clang.
Please understand that I don’t claim to like everything on NRO. Who could? We are diverse, and our tent stretches pretty wide. Some opinions and assertions irk or revolt me. But I can always click on something else, not just in the Great Big World of the Internet, but on NRO itself. If I don’t like Smith, I can click on Jones. If I don’t like Nordlinger, I can click on — say, VDH, or DP-J.
Once upon a time, National Review was just about the only game in town — the only conservative publication around. Now there are many. This pleased our founder and leader, William F. Buckley Jr., greatly. He said so many times, in many ways. I, too, delight in the right-of-center, classical-liberal universe that NR has spawned, or has had an important role in spawning.
Still, I maintain there is something special about NR itself, and its website, too. Will you consider helping us out, so we can keep going? The way I see it is this, and I hope you agree: When we give to NRO, we’re not so much doing it a favor as doing ourselves a favor.
I’m now off my soapbox, or pitchbox, till next time. Thank you!
— Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review.