Nicholas Antongiavanni of the Claremont Institute is miffed that various respondents to his post about John have failed to understand its nuances. It is the constant lament of a writer. In this case, the headline over Antongiavanni’s post contributed to the confusion (if it is a confusion). My own disagreements with Antongiavanni–always leaving open the possibility that I too am insufficiently attuned to his deeper meanings–are several. (I will leave aside his assumption that he knows the ins and outs of personnel decisions at National Review.)
First, he conflates paleoconservatism with foreign-policy realism. The paleos may like realism better than neoconservatism, and some of them may even think of themselves as realists, but there really is no reason to treat a realist turn as a paleo turn. Calling the paleos isolationists isn’t exactly right either, but it’s closer to the truth than calling them realists–and surely nobody needs instruction on the difference between realism and isolationism?
Second: Having characterized the National Interest’s philosophy on the basis of three articles contained in one issue of it, Antongiavanni goes on to complain that his views are being attributed to Claremont as an institution. I think it much fairer to say that the journal has been open to various views, with a strong tilt toward a non-paleoconservative realism. John is friendly with various paleos, and I do not doubt that a few of them will be published in the National Interest. But I wouldn’t go further than that.
Finally, I don’t believe it is true that O’Sullivan has a “paleo-realist background,” unless opposition to continuous mass immigration is all it takes to be a paleo (in which case I’m one too). Certainly National Review under John’s editorship was not a paleo mag.