The Corner

National Review

On My Departure

Kevin Williamson at the National Review Institute’s 2017 Ideas Summit

As some of you have heard by now, I’ve accepted a position at The Atlantic, and my regular duties here at National Review and the National Review Institute will come to a close after ten very happy and fruitful years for which I am and always will be grateful.

Bill Buckley was one of the main reasons I wanted to become a writer when I was young, and Tom Wolfe was another. My first official NR function was a dinner at Bill’s, and Tom Wolfe was our honored guest at the most recent WFB prize dinner. Those are very good bookends, in my view. One could hardly improve upon them.

I’ll mention this here only because it’s already been asked: My leaving NR is not the result of an editorial disagreement, not about Donald Trump or anything else. It’s not that we haven’t had our disagreements, internally (Rich, I still think “Uday and Qusay” are perfectly good nicknames for the elder Trumpspawn) and in print. That’s what National Review is for. It’s a high-minded journal, a place for smart people like Ramesh to be wrong about child tax credits. It is, editorially, a very open place, a conservative magazine that sent me into hollers and pits of opiate addiction and to the “porn Oscars.” My weird little interests — monetary policy in the French Revolution, the techniques of capital punishment, the epistemic problems of political action — were well-indulged. I even had a password to post directly to the Corner, which I managed not to abuse too much.

When asked why he sometimes wrote for Playboy, Bill Buckley said that he wanted to be sure that at least some of his work was seen by his son. I can’t say I know Christopher Buckley very well, but he never has struck me as the kind of pervert who reads Playboy for the articles. Still, I get the sentiment. And even though The Atlantic was founded by a bunch of sometime Republicans (Ralph Waldo Emerson et al., from whom our modern Republicans could learn a thing or two of value) it isn’t exactly what you’d call conservative. So like St. Paul, who also benefited from the services of a good editor, I will be an apostle to the Gentiles. I am very much looking forward to raising a brand new kind of hell.

To Rich, Jack, Jay, Rick, Jason, Jonah, Charlie, Reihan, Kathryn, Katherine, (and Katherine), Fred, several Roberts and Johns, the late Linda Bridges, David, Jim, Andrew, Andy, Ramesh, the O’Sullivans, the Kimballs, the Pryce-Joneses, the Kudlows, and many others who have shown me such remarkable kindness and friendship, I owe a great debt of gratitude, as I do to our board members, our generous supporters, and, most of all, to those of you who from time to time are kind enough to take a few minutes out of your day for us writers.

I’ll be in touch.


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