The magazine began by the man who claimed to be a “conservative intellectual,” William F. Buckley, Jr., has descended to the level of a supermarket tabloid. Some of its erstwhile contributors can no longer stomach what it has become.
No doubt that Buckley was bright, and a skilled debater. What I doubt is his claim to adherence to scientifically verifiable facts. It was Buckley’s bloviating rhetoric which allowed such suit-and-tie fascists as David Duke to receive national attention. Hate-mongers like Duke, aping Buckley’s pseudo-intellectual cover for greed as a force for human advancement, keep fascism alive and well in the USA.
Buckley’s ability to provide a sheen of respectability to ideologies that we thought we had conquered during WWII has created a lot of human suffering. Bah, Buckley. Don’t rest in peace. -O.L.
The National Review Continues to Sink: ‘Frightened’ Frum Resigns
Christopher Buckley was pushed out for praising Barack Obama; Kathleen Parker is persona non grata for failing to praise Sarah Palin, and the shake-ups at the National Review continue with David Frum’s resignation.
…David Frum, a prominent conservative writer who enmeshed himself in a minor dustup during the campaign by turning negative on Governor Palin, is leaving, too. In an interview, he said he planned to leave the magazine, where he writes a popular blog, to strike out on his own on the Web. […]
Mr. Frum said deciding to leave was amicable, but distancing himself from the magazine founded by his idol, Mr. Buckley, was not a hard decision. He said the controversy over Governor Palin’s nomination for vice president was “symbolic of a lot of differences” between his views and those of National Review’s.
“I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated,” he said.
I can’t honestly say I’ve found Frum’s perspective compelling, but I can acknowledge that he’s been one of the magazine’s better writers, and has been willing to at least question the party line from time to time.
Noting the recent departures, Andrew Sullivan added:
“[W]e are left with adolescent bilge from Kathryn-Jean Lopez and spittle-flecked postings from Mark Levin and Andy McCarthy and Mark Krikorian and Mark Steyn, it may indeed be time to call the era of National Review as a repository for intellectual debate over.”
This has almost certainly been the case for quite a while, but if one were inclined to note the day and time the notion of intellectual debate at the National Review ended, I’d say it was around noon on Oct. 3, when Rich Lowry, an NR editor, explained that he sat “a little straighter” when Sarah Palin winked at the camera during a nationally televised debate, because it was “so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing.” Lowry concluded, “It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.”
I’d stopped taking the magazine seriously long before then, but this was the proverbial nail in the coffin.
The New York Times noted the magazine “may” have lost its “reputation as the cradle for conservative intellectuals.” You don’t say.