Sometime near its founding it became clear, despite Bill Buckley’s fondest hopes, that National Review would never become a money-making operation.
How was the enterprise to survive? One of his colleagues suggested a new business plan: Publish the magazine, make it excellent — and the readers would never let it go out of business.
I’m not sure Harvard Business School would have approved, but that business model has served us for almost six decades.
And it has to serve us. We are never going to be a big, glossy non-controversial magazine attractive to the fanciest advertisers, and we are never going to run a website with cat videos and half-naked women. We are never going to give ourselves over to some unreliable tech mogul, and we are never going to jettison serious opinion journalism.
We are going to keep doing what we’ve been about since the beginning: Bringing together the best conservative writers; defending first principles; fearlessly pushing back against bizarre contemporary pieties and the liberal mob that enforces them; debating among ourselves the best way ahead for the Right; and doing it with wit and panache.
This project of ours is as important as ever. I’ve often said during the Obama years that National Review is used to be being politically embattled — and the good news is that we are more embattled than ever. Thankfully, that isn’t so true anymore. Republicans have swept state legislatures and now have unified control of Congress. If you squint just right, you can see the approaching end of the Obama years.
But, heaven knows, there is still much damage to the republic that can be done and that must be combatted. And much work that must be undertaken to prepare the ground for the bold, creative conservative agenda that we need to carry into 2016.
Over the next two years, we will be both yelling stop as necessary, and outlining a better future in keeping with this country’s Constitution and its traditional, if fraying, ethic of hard work and upward mobility.
We can’t do it, though, without you.
We relish meeting our readers around the country or here in the office, because they aren’t mere customers like readers of other magazines.
They are fellow initiates, our friends, and our colleagues. And more than that. They are our investors and sugar-daddies, our de facto board-of-directors and stockholders. National Review is, in a sense, community-owned. We are the Green Bay Packers of political magazines (no offense, Bears fans).
To wit: Extraordinarily enough, this humble online fundraising drive has already raised more than $100,000. If you have already chipped in, we deeply appreciate it, whether it’s $10 or $1,000. If you haven’t, please consider joining that great chain of support for NR that stretches back for decades and has kept this enterprise alive and vital for so long.
Our business model is you.
— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.