Jeffrey Hart’s association with National Review dates back to 1962, but as Dan notes in an earlier post, the senior editor turned Obamacon was recently sent packing. This morning, he forwarded this anecdote from Harper’s. As it was with Reagan and the Democratic Party, Hart didn’t leave NR, it left him. The same apparently applied to the publication’s own founder:
The National Review is worth examining regularly these days—it has turned into something of a circular firing squad. I used to read and love it back in the heyday of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s editorship. It was home base for a certain rigorous, philosophically based conservatism that valued the classics. I search in vain through National Review today for any trace of the erudition and intellectual integrity that Buckley brought to the publication. And I suspect that Buckley himself was unhappy with the magazine’s course in his final years. Two years ago, I spoke at a conservative, religiously affiliated college in the South and discovered that my predecessor at the lectern, just the night before, had been Buckley. When I asked how his talk had gone, my faculty handler told me it had been a surprising experience. Buckley spoke at some length about the mistakes that the Bush Administration had made, starting with the Iraq War. When one student observed that his comments were rather at odds with the views that appeared in National Review, Buckley replied, ‘Yes. We have grown distant.’
Bonus feature: See Hart’s recent interview with the Dartmouth Review. Expect to disagree on several points, but appreciate that this is a complex conservative, far more thoughtful than the magazine that discarded him.