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March 08, 2022

"National Review thinks its job is to police the right. We think that our job is to defeat the left."

At Instapundit, a long excerpt from a piece by Mark Judge.

The full piece is at The New York Sun, behind a paywall.

Although often couched in complex political theory, conservative media's internal war boils down to one idea: Some think it's possible to work with liberals while others believe liberals are out to destroy conservatives and must be fought at every turn.

This divide explains the difference between a magazine like National Review, which sometimes but not always opposes President Trump's populist policies, and pro-Trump outlets like American Greatness and the Federalist.

Note that anti-Establishment outfits are often called "pro-Trump" when in fact they're not really pro-Trump. I'm not very pro-Trump myself, though I'm very opposed to the sorts of people who reflexively oppose Trump -- not because I love Trump, but because the people who oppose Trump are not doing so because of "His Tweets!" or "His Character!," but because they want to keep the greedy, corrupt DC Establishment in power forever.

And you can tell they're not really opposed to Trump and "His Tweets!" because they offer the exact same shrieking denunciations to Ron DeSantis, who doesn't even tweet.

This is about the Acela Corridor Lobbyist & Fundraiser crew keeping their phoney-baloney jobs, not about Our Precious Discourse.

As always, they are cowardly and deceitful snakes who hiss about honor and integrity but absolutely refuse to state their real agenda and their actual grounds of disagreement.

Back to the article:

"National Review thinks we can make peace with the liberals in debates over principles and policies," a conservative author, James Piereson, says. "But we can't go too far lest they call us radicals. The other side thinks we are in a wartime situation: the left wants to destroy us. That is a large difference."

The president of the William E. Simon Foundation, Mr. Piereson says that to understand the rift in conservative media, it helps to turn to a scene from "The Godfather." In the film, after a rival faction tries to assassinate the head of the family one of its lawyers wants to make a peace deal.

As Mr. Piereson recalls, "The two brothers reply that you can't make peace with people who are trying to kill you."

He adds that there is "genuine bad blood" between the conservative journalists in New York and Washington, not that he's taking sides.

Mr. Piereson observes that National Review "cares very much what the liberals think of them," while the Federalist's editor-in-chief, Mollie Hemingway, and American Greatness and others in that group "don't care what they think because the left wants to eliminate opposition and take over. They also think the liberals have been pushed out of the conversation by the left, progressives, and 'woke' advocates to the point that liberals no longer exist -- to the extent they do, they have come over to our side."

One source who has more than a decade of experience both in conservative media and on Capitol Hill thinks that Mr. Pierson's "Godfather" analogy is perfect -- that disagreement stings harder when it's coming from inside a political family.

"The difference boils down to this," the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of upsetting friends and colleagues, says. "National Review thinks its job is to police the right. We think that our job is to defeat the left."

I was talking with Dave Reaboi and Kyle Shideler and what emerged (not sure who said what, but I came up with this last refinement) is that National Review had been founded as a magazine with a mission of persuading liberal-but-not-communist New York City intellectuals as well as academics of a more conservative way of thinking. By and large it has retained that mission.

That's why they just don't care if non-academics get cancelled, but "go to the mattresses" when a libertarian law professor is threatened with a cancellation.

It's also why they're pretty liberal. You can't persuade liberals if you're 180 degrees opposed to them. You can only persuade people if you're, say, twenty or thirty degrees apart from them on most issues. You have to seem "reasonable" to them on most issues.

At this point one has to ask how much utility there is in trying to persuade New York City intellectuals or academics of two or three points of weak-sister Establishment GOP dogma. The stupid shit that gets Baseball Cvck's nipples stiff.

The number of such people who are "persuadable" can be counted on the fingers present at the average family reunion, and they almost all live in cobalt blue states.

And for that we're funding a blog that polices the thoughts and speech of the right to make sure it continues to appear "reasonable" to the liberal-but-not-lunatic New York City intellectuals and academics it hopes to persuade? As they bully the rest of the right into behaving "nicely" so as not to scare off these nice new liberal recruits?

What kind of an exchange is this?

114 Another way to conceptualize the "policing the right" vs. "defeating the left" distinction is to understand that with the rise of Trump the broad right fractured into three groups: (1) The Kristol types, who were always center-left liberals, but found the conservative movement/GOP useful; (2) conservatives who want to win (this includes very pro-Trump people and those who take Ace's position); and (3) conservatives who want to be left alone.

National Review is in the final category, and really has always been. It's not really accurate to say that NR types are crypto-liberals. It's more that they hope that they can slow what they see as the inevitable progress of history in a leftward direction, perhaps knock away its worst excesses, and do what they can to insulate themselves from being personally harmed by it. It's a retreat, but a careful retreat to the best ground available.

The concept of actually winning a fight is foreign to these people, because winning a fight requires fighting, which is good for neither your social calendar nor your job prospects.
Posted by: Masturbatin' Pete at March 08, 2022 12:44 PM (4DAAg)

115 I was talking with Dave Reaboi and Kyle Shideler and what emerged (not sure who said what, but I came up with this last refinement) is that National Review had been founded as a magazine with a mission of persuading liberal-but-not-communist New York City intellectuals as well as academics of a more conservative way of thinking. By and large it has retained that mission.

I think this is essentially wrong. NR was founded as the conservative equivalent of Mortimer J. Adler's Aristotle for Everybody. NR was intended to give conservative instincts a firm intellectual grounding and equip conservatives with arguments. Sort of Russell Kirk and Edmund Burke for Everybody. Buckley was a privileged sort, but famously said he'd rather be governed by average joes plucked from the phone book than Harvard's faculty. NR for a long time operated in good faith and was a legitimate bulwark of conservatism. Not infallible, but legitimately interested in conservatism. That hasn't been true in a very long time. There's more going on to what happened at NR than being sympathetic with NY liberals. There's actual corruption and deceit about who pays "conservative" media's bills these days.
Posted by: bear with asymmetrical balls


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posted by Ace at 12:27 PM

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