My first assignment as an intern at National Review was to cover Occupy Wall Street, which I did for three months or so during the summer of 2011 until the encampment imploded and the participants moved on to the Next Big Thing.
Eight years later, and it seems as if some of them are in Congress.
Of all the bad pennies in all the world, socialism is the most persistent. I am sometimes asked, “Could it happen here?” Sure it could. Human beings are imperfectible creatures who are no less likely to be tempted by shiny objects in our age as in the ones that came before. There is no such thing as an argument that is won, no such thing as an ideology discredited, and no such thing as the End of History. Every birth represents a resetting of the argument—or, at the very least, a new intellectual challenge. The Founders were as worried about Caesar as about George III, and they were right to be so.
This is where National Review comes in. The ideas that underpin the United States — limited government; individual liberty; free markets; the rule of law; peace through strength — are the greatest ideas that have ever underpinned any nation in human history. But they are not self-executing, and nor are they delivered with the mother’s milk. On the contrary: They have to be fought for — day in and day out, without respite, without falter, and without exception. We live in a country in which a 28-year-old freshman has authored a proposal that, if adopted, would entirely remake the modern world; in which one of the two major parties is hurtling toward a health-care model that would require the doubling all taxation and spending; in which the First Amendment is put up for a vote each year in Congress; in which the sanctity of life is being threatened not just in the womb, but outside of it, too. It was necessary in 1955 to yell Stop! It is necessary now, too. And the year after. And the year after that. And . . .
One of National Review’s greatest attributes is that, far from being the vanity project of one or two individuals, it is a family of like-minded people who wish to maintain the United States as the last great hope of mankind. One of those people is you. If I might paraphrase the Book of Ruth, our fight is your fight, our faith is your faith, and our people are your people. We remain a fixture in the firmament because you have kept us there—from 1955 to today.
Once again, we need your help. This week, and next, we are holding our Spring 2019 Webathon, the aim of which is to raise at least $175,000 to . . . well, to keep the lights on. Ronald Reagan liked to say that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Given the speed of change in the present era, it’s tempting to conclude that his was an overly optimistic view. Let’s commit once again to never finding out.