A Hymn

by Jay Nordlinger

I’ve been hearing from readers about their grievances with NR (and, by extension, NRO). I’ve also been hearing their appreciation. These communications are in response to a couple of posts I’ve done (here and here).

Let me restate that it would be unnatural to agree with every syllable in a magazine. It’s hard enough to agree with every syllable in an article. Let me restate, too, that people wouldn’t complain about NR if they didn’t value it, or recognize its importance in our country (and a bit beyond).

In fundraising letters, I usually say that I don’t agree with everything we publish in the magazine, or on the site. My colleagues don’t agree with everything from my pen (damn them). But I give anyway — money, I mean, because I love and value NR. It has taught me a great deal over the years (employment aside). It has also provided comfort, delight, and other good things.

Earlier today, in one of those posts, I admitted to some muttering about the libertarians: their valentines to Justin Amash, their semi-defenses of Edward Snowden. Yeah, so? All God’s chillen got grievances. And if you want to agree with every word in a periodical, start your own, and make it a one-man show. Even then, you might find yourself disagreeing with yourself on occasion.

And the truth is, the libertarians among us are some of the best thinkers, best writers, and best people we have. We would be much poorer without them (and I would be personally bereft).

Moreover, every conservative has within him “a streak of libertarianism” (to quote WFB). The question is, How wide is your streak? Some days, mine is very wide — I feel I could out-Rand Rand. Other days, it’s narrower. I’m afraid my politics are somewhat cafeteria-style: a bit of that, a bit of that . . . (Maybe that’s a definition of conservatism.)

But my point overall: Magazines, like family members, can irk us from time to time, but at the end of the day, or by morning at least, we love them, and if NR didn’t exist, I’d beg WFB to come back and invent it.

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