Today, November 19, is this venerable institution’s 64th birthday. It never gets old: Do read Bill Buckley’s athwart-standing Publisher’s Statement from the 1955 premier issue. Elsewhere in Volume One, Number One, in a sidebar attending Willmoore Kendall’s initial “The Liberal Line” column (you can read it here), was another institutional statement which comes across as timeless and timely, and worth sharing here:
The Editors of National Review Believe:
- That there is a Liberal point of view on national and world affairs, for which the word “Liberal” has been appropriated;
- That the point of view consists, on the one hand, of a distinctly Liberal way of looking at and grasping political reality, and on the other hand of a distinctly Liberal set of values and goals;
- That the nation’s leading opinion-makers for the most part share the Liberal point of view, try indefatigably to inculcate it in their readers’ minds, and to that end employ the techniques of propaganda;
- That we may properly speak of them as a huge propaganda machine, engaged in a major, sustained assault upon the sanity, and upon the prudence and the morality of the American people – its sanity, because the political reality of which they speak is a dream world that nowhere exists, its prudence and morality because their values and goals are in the sharpest conflict with the goals and values appropriate to the American tradition;
- That National Review must keep a watchful eye on the day-to-day operations of the Liberal propaganda machine: the theses it puts forward the arguments (if any) it advances in their support, and the (implicit or explicit) policy recommendations it urges on us – in a word on the Liberal Line.
A hallmark of NR has always been its sense of humor, which should be expected of a publication that, in its premier issue, published two pieces by the great Morrie Ryskind, a principal writer for the Marx Brothers (he penned their 1935 classic movie, A Night at the Opera). For your enjoyment, here is his amusing initial NR essay, “They’ll Never Get Me on That Couch.”
All that said, Happy Birthday to us!