Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A Note to Readers
I chose a heck of a day to go offline!
I had to travel yesterday and could not post, and so missed my chance to speak for myself about yesterday's story in the New York Times about the future of NR.
I'm hoping that the excuse "better late than never" works better in the blogosphere than it did in high school:
The Times quoted me as describing my departure from NR as "amicable." That's not just a form of words. I am not walking out in protest of anything or because I am mad at anyone. Obviously there have been some differences in recent months, but that is natural. And if those differences have sometimes been expressed emphatically, well we are all big boys and girls. I will reman an eager reader of NR and NRO, and I will continue to treasure my friendships with NR editors, writers, and readers.
NR plays a unique and indispensable role in the conservative world. Yet there are other roles and missions that are also necessary in their way. It's my belief that conservatism as we have known it - and the Republican party as an institution - are in very great trouble. Conservatives and Republicans need a new kind of conversation about how we can adapt to new realities.
I want to assist in that conversation. Starting over Inauguration Weekend, I'll be launching a new website, NewMajority.com. It will be a group blog, featuring many different voices. Not all of them identify as conservatives or Republicans. But they - and people like them - are the people conservatives and Republicans need.
I hope we will debate policy as well as politics. I hope above all that we can create an online community that will be exciting and appealing to younger readers, a generation often repelled by today's mainstream conservatism. NewMajority.com will feature an active monitored comments section. Reader contributions will be welcome - and I hope will be integrated into the dialogue rather than relegated to appendage status. We will be experimenting with video commentaries - and offering a very much expanded "bookshelf" section.
Over the past three years, I have been engaged in some intense rethinking of my own conservatism. My fundamental political principles remain the same as ever: free markets, American leadership in the world, and intense attachment to inherited moral and cultural traditions. Yet I cannot be blind to the evidence that we have seen free markets produce some damaging and dangerous results in recent years. Or that the foreign policy I supported has not yielded the success I would have wished to see. Or that traditions must evolve if they are to endure. There are new principes too that must be included in a majority conservatism: environmental protection as a core value and an unwavering insistence upon competence and integrity in government.
The path back to a Republican and conservative majority will not be an obvious or easy one. I am not claiming to have the answers. For now, however, it is the questions that matter most.
I discussed these issues with Rich Lowry a month ago, and he responded with characteristic grace and generosity. We agreed that I will continue blogging in this space until Inauguration Day. The archives of my past work for NRO will remain available and searchable. We will continue to engage each other in debate, agreeing and disagreeing as we have done since I launched this blog six years ago.
I hope you will continue to stop by - and that you will bookmark NewMajority.com for the year and years ahead.
As always, it is the interaction with you, the readers of this Diary, that sustains my work here. Too often, journalism takes the form: "I talk, you listen." For me, blogging has been a prolonged dialogue, in which I spend as much time reading what my readers have to say as I do writing my own words. I won't be able to continue my past practice of replying to every non-vituperative email I receive. But I do read them all, I learn from them all, and I am grateful for them all. At their best, blogs create community. And I have never felt as welcome in any community as the readers of this blog have made me feel in this virtual one. Thank you. There's a lot of work to do.
11/18 07:19 AM