Magazine | May 6, 2019, Issue


A librarian places a book by author Lee Child onto a shelf at Widnes Library in Widnes, England, September 12, 2018. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

People at the Market

Regarding “Neither Idol Nor Tool” (February 11): Here’s what, I think, Tucker Carlson meant in his critique of markets. Rather than bowing to GDP and the free market by offshoring factories, jobs, and supply chains to lower-cost locales, national leaders and policymakers should have tempered their fealty to the god of commerce with consideration for the national good. Carlson argues that the health of the family is a good proxy for the national good. In those terms, what you call “restrictions on trade” may prove salubrious. Retaining factories and jobs would certainly have proven to be “a great economic boon for Americans in [now] distressed communities.”

A similar framework can be used regarding Trump’s proposed changes to our current immigration processes, including asylum and border security. Has it been useful to our existing citizens, especially those at the lower wage rungs, to have millions of unvetted, low-educated workers competing in an increasingly slack labor market? Our national leaders and policymakers should have, rather, implemented policies supportive of our existing citizens and their dreams of starting and supporting families by responsibly limiting the waves of illegal migrants these past years.

Blamoh Holmes
Blue Ash, Ohio

Ramesh Ponnuru responds: While I am sympathetic to much of this commentary, I would caution that before imposing restrictions on trade to benefit American workers, we should make sure they actually will benefit American workers. Tariffs on steel in the past have injured many more Americans than they have helped, by inflicting harm on steel-using industries that employ more people than the steel industry does. Too often proposals on trade ignore these pitfalls.


Beliefs Can Go Bad

My very liberal aunt, chairwoman of the English department at UC Davis, gave me a subscription to NR in the late 1950s. I have been a subscriber ever since. Lately I have become disappointed in much of NR’s editorial slant.

An example is your paragraph (April 8) on the New Zealand massacre. I think you need to explain why you take it as a given that white nationalism is a creature of the Right. Perhaps you should carefully define exactly what it is that NR believes constitutes “the Right” that harbors white nationalism.

James Bridges
Lafayette, Calif.

The editors respond: Conservatism expresses, among other things, a reverence for community and custom. White nationalism is a demonic parody of this disposition.


In Search of Reading Time

Your symposium on personal libraries (April 8) transported me, Proust-like, to an early weekend morning when, at age seven, I discovered, while waiting for my parents to awaken, a small bookcase in the home in England where we stayed for a few months in the mid ’60s. A musty book about pirates captured me and gave me a lifelong hunger for the adventures that bookshelves hold.

When I asked my mother-in-law whether she had read all the books in her collection, she coyly answered, “I have read some of them twice.” Like me, she appreciated the intrinsic value of merely owning a good book, even if one never had quite gotten it off the “to read” list. Thanks for this wonderful excursion through the book-lined memories of others and for another madeleine moment of the kind that books so often carry.

Jeffrey C. Briggs, Esq.
Hollywood, Calif.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Most Popular


Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More