The Corner

Imagine a World Without Nro

Long before “K-Lo” invited me to write a piece for NRO in the wake 9/11, I was already addicted to the site. I had long subscribed to the print version of National Review and I had always believed that the publication set the standard for opinion journals. But NRO provides nearly “real-time” commentaries on breaking events. This is something that a weekly or bi-weekly publication, no matter how outstanding, simply cannot match.

It is, of course, a great honor to have been asked to join the many luminaries who frequently write for NRO. But while I can imagine not writing for NRO, I cannot imagine not reading it.

I’m sure this is how it is with many other readers. But what we have here is a classic “free rider” problem. Just because a good is distributed for free doesn’t mean the cost of production is zero. Clearly, the money to run such an important operation has to come from somewhere. Since NRO doesn’t charge a subscription, it must be subsidized by the print version of National Review or be funded by donations.

So try to imagine where you would be if NRO didn’t exist. Where would you get the timely commentaries NRO provides? Where else would you be able to read regular contributions by Victor Davis Hanson or Jed Babbin or Kate O’Beirne or the multitude of other writers that you find on NRO? And what would you do without The Corner?

NRO has probably done more than any other publication, cyber or print, to publicize topics of interest to serious conservatives. I admit to being a free rider when it comes to the Public Broadcast System because I don’t give a fig about it. I’m not sure we’d be that much worse off without PBS. But I know we would be worse off without NRO. I urge you to donate to NRO today.

Mackubin Thomas Owens is senior national security fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, editing its journal Orbis from 2008 to 2020. A Marine Corps infantry veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College from 1987 to 2015. He is the author of US Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain.


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