This is a celebratory week — indeed, month — at National Review. Naturally we hope you will celebrate with a kind contribution to this vital enterprise.
Once upon a time, before Al Gore invented the Internet, National Review was just a magazine. Of course the word “just” doesn’t really fit, because National Review is the very entity that created the modern conservative movement. That’s no “just.”
It all began on November 19th, 1955, when the very first issue of the then-weekly journal of opinion was published, its contents brimming with sharp, brilliant, and witty conservative commentary and conviction, its famous mission, to stand athwart history yelling stop, baldly stated, to the anger of the reigning media elite.
This 20,000-copy printing proved to be one of the most profound events in modern American politics. Sixty years later, we are here still standing athwart, each and every minute, although we just now grant ourselves a break of sorts to note and celebrate.
And to share a little peek into the sausage-making process. The interesting thing about opinion magazines, wherever they may lie on the political spectrum, is that they are never conventional businesses. They are necessary instruments of and participants in the public debate, but their importance does not mean that, as businesses, they can survive in the rigors of the market. Without help, without sugar daddies, without not-for-profit status. So it should be no surprise to learn that over the decades many fellow opinion journals have ascribed their survival to being owned by very, very rich people who are not put-off by annual seven-figure operating losses.
National Review has never had such an owner. Yet it has survived. And thrived.
It has happened because thousands upon thousands of our magazine readers and subscribers — and now our website readers — have felt very deeply that National Review is a cause worthy of their financial support, whether it be the widow’s mite or the businessman’s largesse. Many have made National Review their cause, and rightly so, because that is a fact: National Review is a cause — your cause. NR has been, remains, and with your support will continue to be the articulate conservative voice of free people, free markets, small government, secure borders, American exceptionalism, strong defense, and the relentless scourge of multiculturalism, campus insanity, and political correctness run amok.
Let’s admit the obvious: that “today’s” National Review stands on the shoulders of giants, of Bill Buckley and his merry crew that included the likes of Whitaker Chambers, Frank Meyer, Brent Bozell, James Burnham, Wilmore Kendall, John Chamberlain, Morrie Ryskind, Priscilla Buckley, William Rusher, and other great writers and thinkers who stood foursquare against the Soviet threat, the ever-aggrandizing government, and the prevailing liberal establishment.
And yet we too today have our giants at NRO. Men and women of superior talent and intellect, whose wisdom and insight are vital to the conservative movement and the conservative cause, now so embattled by the progressives — heck, the damned socialists! — who occupy our government, the leftists who determine our popular culture, and the Islamofascists who seek our destruction.
Please help us celebrate our 60th anniversary with a generous contribution. It will be money very well spent.
Look at NRO, any day, and you will find the likes of Victor Davis Hanson, Kevin Williamson, Andrew McCarthy, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, David French, Ramesh Ponnuru, Mona Charen, John O’Sullivan, Eliana Johnson, Kat Timpf, Larry Kudlow, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Reihan Salam, Rick Brookhiser, Jillian Melchior, and many more standing athwart all that needs athwart-standing.
This cause of yours needs your help keep it in fighting shape, so it can do just that — fight. Please help us celebrate our 60th anniversary with a generous contribution. It will be money very well spent.
Last week, a subscriber friend and occasional cruiser wrote the he has become so disillusioned with what’s happening on American campuses that he is redirecting his annual alumni contribution to National Review.
I say: great idea.
I say: long overdue.
I say: Why the hell are so many conservatives still giving money to these borderline-Marxist institutions where a new generation of Red Guard students are ascendant?
Well, that’s another discussion for another day. Today, think about just what National Review has meant to you, and think how a little bit of your generosity to National Review is the perfect way to mark this profound milestone.
In closing, I want to say two things about Bill Buckley. He was the sole owner (originally I typo’d this “soul owner” — too true!) of National Review for much of its history, and yet he believed this, and I quote from a 1987 memo I recently came across: “I consider that I own that stock in trust since the survival of the magazine has been made possible by contributions from thousands of readers.”
In essence, Bill felt that many of you were co-owners of this great institution. We hope you will continue with the support that he found so vital and necessary.
The second thing about Bill: This year we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of his historic run for mayor of New York City. Your contribution of $250 or more to our birthday celebration campaign will result in our sending you what Bill always called “exiguous token,” the new edition of The Unmaking of a Mayor, his acclaimed memoir of his 1965 undertaking. Known to many for Bill’s classic quip (that he would “demand a recount” if elected), it proved to be the effort that saved conservatism — flat on its back and seemingly down for the count after the crushing 1964 Goldwater defeat — and set it on a trajectory toward the Reagan revolution.
We’re starting our seventh decade. These are difficult times for America and the world. They will be all the more difficult without a full-throated National Review. But you won’t let that happen: So mark the milestone with a celebratory donation that will also strengthen us as we wage this titanic battle to save the soul of this great nation, and to smite its enemies, foreign and domestic.