NR Marketing

The Corner

A Note on Magazines in the Age of Twitter

One of the questions I get asked most frequently on Twitter and by e-mail is, “Why did you publish this piece, when you also published that piece?” Sometimes this inquiry takes a polite and earnest form: e.g. “What is NR’s position on X?” More often, though, it comes via those generally witless “life comes at you fast!” memes that you see across social media. In both cases, the underlying charge is a simple one: hypocrisy — or, at least, inconsistency. “National Review supports the death penalty, but also opposes the death penalty. Life comes at you fast!” “National Review favors the drone war but also finds it abhorrent! Life comes at you fast!” “National Review defends the NSA’s metadata collection program, but also opposes it strongly! Life comes at you fast!” Etc. Given how regularly I am asked about this, I thought I’d address it publicly.

Ultimately, this question is built upon a misunderstanding of what a magazine — and, indeed, what National Review — is supposed to be. By design, NR has a large stable of writers, all of whom are conservatives, but not all of whom agree on everything. In consequence, we host some pretty robust debates between individual authors. Lately, we have published Rich Lowry v. Kyle Smith on Confederate monuments; Ramesh Ponnuru v. Kevin Williamson on the child tax credit; David French v. myself on Kim Davis; and Michael Brendan Dougherty v. Casey Michel on the wisdom of arming Ukraine. As the Trump presidency has progressed, we have invited a similarly broad array of reactions from our editors, contributors, and everyone else besides.

This is not — and should not be — a party-line shop. I disagree with Reihan on taxes, with David French on a range of military matters, with Jonah on the death penalty, with Gerald Walpin on the NSA, with Arthur Herman on the meaning of Confederate statuary (and more), with Kyle Smith on Guardians of the Galaxy and Sgt. Pepper, and so on and so forth. And that’s fine. That’s how it should be. Unless a piece is signed “The Editors,” it’s the view of a given writer and nobody else, and there’s nothing peculiar about its being next to a contradictory or opposing argument on the homepage. Life comes at you in a variety of different flavors.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More