December 05, 2008

Diversity at NR

Mat Roberts may be overly cynical when he accuses NRO?s star intellectual Victor Davis Hanson of being dishonest in his recent description of what he and his pals are doing at work: ?There is no party-line take on unfolding events. The mishmash of libertarians, social conservatives, blue-dog Democrats, independents, paleoconservatives, neocons, traditionalists, atheists, and doctrinaire Republicans who contribute to NRO ensures a wide variety of views, to say the least.? According to Mr. Roberts, the NRO website features nothing more interesting than doctrinaire Republicans and neocons. But my young friend may be wrong. If he casts his net more widely, he should be able to find on the same website the atheist Christopher Hitchens and the Trotskyist Steve Schwartz denouncing Islamo-fascism. I?m sure Roberts can also locate there Democrats singing the virtues of Joe Lieberman as a maven on Middle Eastern affairs.

Perhaps the message of Hanson, a neocon expert on the foul deeds of Kaiser Wilhelm and Robert E. Lee is a harbinger of pleasant things to come. It is after all a dirty little secret, which my book on conservatism dares to reveal, that NR has been throwing people off the bus, and occasionally under the wheel, since its inception. This trend became more pronounced when the present neocon potentates took over the magazine, and as one of the earliest expellees who is still above ground, I assume that what Hanson is talking about is a new policy of inclusiveness that his publication and website are about to initiate.

It certainly does not describe NR?s history, any more than it would that of Pravda or Der V?lkische Beobachter. Tolerance is not one of those words that come to mind when I think about ?who contributes to NRO,? except in the sense of teaching pseudo-rightists to fawn on the pro-Israeli Left. But on the basis of my generous interpretation of what is now happening, I am waiting for the editors of NRO to ask me to write for their newly diverse product, for the first time since I was quietly given the heave in 1991. I?m sure that they’re itching to have me and others whom they once helped to marginalize join them in a true mishmash of widely divergent opinions. What did Mao say between cultural revolutions about ?letting a thousand flowers bloom?? Presumably the same line can be made to work for party-line publications trying to raise funds.

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