As the clocks click to close on another year, we take a brief glance back at the best we had to offer, judged by reader traffic and editor’s picks.

Alan Jacobs closed out 2012 by demanding peace from insufferable others in “Hey Extraverts: Enough is Enough.”

Andrew Bacevich kicked off the new year by calling for a “Counter-Cultural Conservatism” with less Ayn Rand, and more Flannery O’Connor.

In February, Rand Paul delivered the first major GOP foreign policy address post-November at the Heritage Foundation, articulating a Congress-centric realism drawn from George F. Kennan as the conservative alternative to Bill Kristol. In the lead-up to that address, he discussed his foreign policy ideas with Daniel Larison.

Pope Benedict then shocked the world by abdicating the Holy See. Daniel McCarthy called the decision a “salutary reform” to the rising celebrity status of the papacy, while Jonathan Coppage reflected on what it means to outlive a post meant for a lifetime.

That same month, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman broke open the conservative debate over same sex marriage by declaring, “Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause.” Our entire coverage of the issue was particularly strong, getting beyond the news cycle incriminations to grapple with the cultural implications of institutional change. Rod Dreher looked at the cosmological change of same-sex marriage in “Sex After Christianity”, before the Supreme Court’s decision, and and the uneasy prospects of religious liberty in “Does Faith = Hate?” after it.

In March, Rand Paul took to the floor of the Senate to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA in protest over not receiving White House assurances over potential domestic droning powers. Jordan Bloom live-blogged the entire affair until Paul received his requested assurances from Attorney General Eric Holder, and the entire national drone debate had been changed.

When Cardinal Bergoglio was announced as the new Pope Francis, few could have expected how strongly he would capture the Western media imagination, left and right. Patrick Deneen recently issued the definitive defense of Francis from his Republican capitalistic critics.

The 10th anniversary of the Iraq War brought much retrospection, but none better than Daniel McCarthy’s account of how the botched war discredited the GOP in the same way as Vietnam culturally discredited Democrats. Andrew Doran then detailed how the Iraq invasion had vindicated the worst fears of Middle Eastern Christians in “How the Iraq War Became a War on Christians,” and how a Syrian intervention would only repeat it.

Then began the Summer of Snowden. During the initial onslaught of security state backlash against the NSA whistleblower, Philip Giraldi defended Snowden against treason charges. John Glaser explicated the dangers of a systematic project of secret laws and surveillance in “Obama’s Secrecy Agenda.” Tea Party congressman Justin Amash led an unlikely bipartisan coalition to break mass domestic surveillance, and almost won. He then took to our pages to explain explain his vision of Constitutional politics in “How to Keep the Constitution.”

Then came the sarin gas attack in Ghouta, Syria, and the Obama Administration’s subsequent attempted rush to war. Jim Antle set the stakes for whether Congress could resist being driven into another war on sketchy intelligence by the executive, and the political implications of its potential success in a piece that holds up very well in retrospect, “Can Congress Say No to a Syria War.” Eminent historian Philip Jenkins put the plight of the ancient Syrian Christian community in stark contect in “Syria’s Christians Risk Eradication.”

When Jeff Bezos unexpectedly bought the Washington Post, Noah Millman gave one of the very best accounts of the potential future of the journalism business in “Will Jeff Bezos Destroy the Village in Order to Save It?”.

Come the fall, Robert Long interviewed and profiled Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson about the appeal of her literary—and liberal—Calvinism in “Christian, Not Conservative.” Kelley Vlahos went out to Colorado to report how the legalization of recreational marijuanna is proceeding in decidedly localist fashion.

October opened with the culmination of a Republican campaign to defund Obamacare shutting down the government. Rod Dreher released his wrath upon the House GOP in a pair of scathing posts, “Republicans Over the Cliff” and “The Strangelove Republicans”. Taking a broader historical view in our November-December issue, our editor Daniel McCarthy explained “Why the Tea Party Can’t Govern” thanks to a purely negative politics inherited from the 1970s New Right.

When Nelson Mandela passed in December, Noah Millman recounted how the African leader set an example that we could follow personally in “Mandela Practiced Magnanimity in Triumph,” while Jim Antle explained “Why Newt Is Right About Mandela.”

Finally, we want to thank you for your continued readership. As we embark into 2014 to continue our mission of forging a reality-based conservatism up to the challenges of the present day, we rely on you, our readers, to spread the word and share the best of what we write with your friends. We have grown tremendously over the past few years, but have seen so much more potential to fulfill with your help.

In addition to reading and sharing, we also remind you that we depend on the financial support of our readers to continue publishing tremendous conversation-starting pieces like those listed above. If you are able to contribute to this mission, please do so. We are a 501(c)(3) entity, so as 2013 comes to a close your gifts to the magazine are tax-deductible.

Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing what 2014 will bring all of us.