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a major force in American politics, and libertarian economists such as Hayek were still viewed as fringe radicals or out-of-date throwbacks.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

White House

The Impeachment Clock

Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry is incoherent. Given the impossibility of a senatorial conviction, the only strategy is to taint the president with the brand of impeachment and weaken him in the 2020 election. Yet Schiff seems to have no sense that the worm has already turned. Far from tormenting Trump and ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Clock

Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry is incoherent. Given the impossibility of a senatorial conviction, the only strategy is to taint the president with the brand of impeachment and weaken him in the 2020 election. Yet Schiff seems to have no sense that the worm has already turned. Far from tormenting Trump and ... Read More
Elections

Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Unethical

Senator Warren would impose a 2 percent annual tax on wealth above $50 million, and a 6 percent annual tax on wealth above $1 billion. These numbers may seem small, but remember that they would be applied every year. With wealth taxes, small numbers have large effects. Applied to an asset yielding a steady ... Read More
Elections

Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Unethical

Senator Warren would impose a 2 percent annual tax on wealth above $50 million, and a 6 percent annual tax on wealth above $1 billion. These numbers may seem small, but remember that they would be applied every year. With wealth taxes, small numbers have large effects. Applied to an asset yielding a steady ... Read More
Immigration

The ‘Welfare Magnet’ for Immigrants

That term refers to a controversial concept -- and a salient one, given the Trump administration's efforts to make it harder for immigrants to use welfare in the U.S. A new study finds that there's something to it: Immigrants were more likely to come to Denmark when they could get more welfare there. From the ... Read More
Immigration

The ‘Welfare Magnet’ for Immigrants

That term refers to a controversial concept -- and a salient one, given the Trump administration's efforts to make it harder for immigrants to use welfare in the U.S. A new study finds that there's something to it: Immigrants were more likely to come to Denmark when they could get more welfare there. From the ... Read More
Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More