Politics & Policy

Our Causes Are Not Lost

Thanks, in part, to NR

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.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More
PC Culture

Changing Reality with Words

The reinvention of vocabulary can often be more effective than any social protest movement. Malarial swamps can become healthy “wetlands.” Fetid “dumps” are often rebranded as green “landfills.” Global warming was once a worry about too much heat. It implied that man-made carbon emissions had so ... Read More