Magazine | March 19, 2018, Issue

Letters

Rejecting Despair
While admitting that William F. Buckley Jr. himself would probably have a more optimistic take, Richard Brookhiser writes: “The conservative movement is no more. Its destroyers are Donald Trump and his admirers” (“WFB Today,” March 5). This reminds me of a line from Lawrence of Arabia: “Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it.” If the ideals of the conservative movement are sound, then there is no reason why they cannot one day rise to prominence again in American politics. The challenges faced by WFB dwarf those we confront in the early 21st century.

Buckley and his allies confronted not only a statist post–WWII political consensus in both major American political parties, but also a Marxist ideology with intellectual defenders around the world and a serious propaganda operation bankrolled by a major nuclear-armed nation-state. Furthermore, the costs associated with publishing even a humble magazine of political commentary were high, and the risks much greater, in a world dominated by the Big Three broadcasters and a few big-city newspapers. Rockefeller Republicanism, a strain of tax-and-spend big-government paternalism, was a major force in American politics, and libertarian economists such as Hayek were still viewed as fringe radicals or out-of-date throwbacks. And yet: National Review endures, the Soviet Union is no more, and, outside of a few sociology departments, Marxism truly is in the ash heap of history. Against this, sycophants defending a man who could not secure a majority of Republican-party-primary votes seem small.

How do we move forward now? In short, look to the states for creative conservative reforms, hold fast to first principles, and show a large amount of grace toward like-minded thinkers and political actors who have disappointed over the past few years. I do not know whether it is an unforgivable sin, but I know that the country and the cause of limited government and free markets cannot afford to see the conservative movement embrace despair.

Michael A. Wood
Dallas, Texas

Correction
“The Resegregation Myth” (March 5) requires two corrections. Board of Education v. Dowell concerned a school district in Oklahoma, not Kentucky, and the economist Raj Chetty now works at Stanford, not Harvard.

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Letters

Letters

Rejecting Despair While admitting that William F. Buckley Jr. himself would probably have a more optimistic take, Richard Brookhiser writes: “The conservative movement is no more. Its destroyers are Donald Trump ...
The Week

The Week

• We don’t even want public-school teachers teaching our kids. • Historically, the National Rifle Association has derived its political power from two sources. The first is the broad popularity of ...
Poetry

Poetry

Sometimes the frost comes early when it might have held its crystallizing of the leaves.
Happy Warrior

Brushing Alone

Your views on Delta Airlines and Hertz rental cars now correspond to how compelling you found the cable-news appearances of a survivor of the Parkland school shooting.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
Immigration

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More
NR Webathon

Socialism Is about Taking, Not Giving

The snakiest of snake-oil pitches goes like this: Give us some of your freedom and we’ll take care of you. Socialists have been making similar claims back as far as Plato. The end result doesn’t have to be Venezuela. It can just be . . . Europe. What’s wrong with Europe? Despite a turn away from ... Read More