Jonah Goldberg, Jay Nordlinger, and Kevin Williamson have already winsomely made the case for donating to National Review, and if you have withstood that barrage then it is unlikely that my efforts will now succeed. Like any good conservative, though, I am mindful of T. S. Eliot’s admonition that “if we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.” And so I will try.
National Review is the proximate cause of my becoming a conservative. In the early ’90s, I had conservative friends who were trying to pull me away from liberalism by putting Atlas Shrugged and NR into my hands. Rand didn’t stick, but NR did. Never before had I been exposed to a well-considered case against national health insurance, or command-and-control environmental regulation, or mainstream feminism. I had not quite realized that such a case was possible. My teachers and professors, as good as they were in many respects, had not shared these arguments with me. NR became a kind of adjunct professor for me, and a much more influential one than my formal instructors.
I still learn from it today. How did the Veterans Affairs scandal come about? Yuval Levin provides some context. How should friends of the Second Amendment think about gun etiquette? Charles C. W. Cooke has thought it through. What’s wrong with the way the Obama administration is tackling climate change? Nobody has a firmer grasp of this question than Jim Manzi. Is the new book about Justice Scalia worth reading? Not according to Ed Whelan. Should I spend some of my limited multiplex time watching the new teen tear-jerker? Better read Frederica Mathewes-Green first. And that’s just from reading NRO over the last few days.
I know, from years of writing for NR and meeting our readers, that many of you appreciate the magazine for the same reasons I do: because it brings right reason to bear on the controversies of our day, and our era; because it is almost always realistic while never being jaded; because it uses wit and intelligence to advance the causes in which we believe.
There have been times since I started writing for NR 20 years ago when the future of those causes has seemed bleak. But there are no lost causes; and for ours that is in part because NR exists to champion them. If you agree, kindly consider donating to keep the enterprise going.
— Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at National Review.