The Corner

Re: MacDonald

Heather MacDonald should take a deep breath and re-read my posts. If she does, she will find that my very first comment began by saying that she was “talking good sense.” The specific point of hers that I was affirming happens to be the one with which she ends her article. On re-reading, she will also see that she has misunderstood the passage about whether “opposition to same-sex marriage should be a central conservative cause.” I didn’t suggest that MacDonald had answered yes to that question; I explicitly bracketed that question as one I wasn’t addressing. Finally, she will see that I never purported to address her argument comprehensively–I completely ignored her repetition of her standard points about theodicy, for example–but merely raised one objection to something she said.

And it was something she said, even if she wants to minimize its importance. If MacDonald wants to say that she worded her article sloppily, she’ll get no argument here. But she clearly did mean to suggest that conservatives have been “crippling” themselves by excluding atheist and agnostic conservatives. To evaluate that claim, we would need to know how many such conservatives there are, and what kind of conservatism it is that they possess. She has muddled rather than clarified these questions.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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