A decade ago, when The American Conservative was launched, most of organized American conservatism was dead-set against the scrappy little magazine. I should know; I was one of the conservative writers who thought it was the duty of every conservative to line up behind the march to war on Iraq.
I was wrong. TAC was right. Long before I ever came to work at this magazine, I came to value its role as a dissenting voice to the groupthink and ideological straightjacketing that had come to characterize the American right. It’s not that TAC was always correct in its judgments, but it offered a spirited, sensible alternative to propaganda from the Conservative-Industrial Complex. TAC’s orientation is anti-war and very broadly libertarian, but it also makes room for traditional conservatives in the Russell Kirk mold — people like me, whose conservatism is primarily religious and cultural, and who (therefore) do not always line up with libertarians and neocons. I found a home at TAC not because I agree with everything the magazine publishes, but because TAC is intellectually alive. This didn’t just start yesterday. TAC’s 2006 symposium “What Is Left? What Is Right?” showed the kind of challenging conversations this magazine wants to start across old and increasingly meaningless ideological boundaries.
So much American conservatism today is still stuck fighting the political wars of the last two or three decades. TAC is a forum — in print and online — where the next conservatism is being debated and worked out. The ideas this magazine have always stood for are becoming mainstream on the right. For example, when antiwar conservatives and antiwar liberals stood together this past summer to stop the Obama-McCain plans for yet another Middle East intervention, the country saw the kind of political thinking and action championed by this magazine stopping a war sought by Establishment figures of both parties.
More personally, I know many of you readers — conservatives, moderates, and liberals all — love this blog of mine, even though certain of my ideas and beliefs drive you nuts. You keep coming back because you know that I’m going to give you a fair hearing — this blog’s comments section is the most diverse, civil and interesting anywhere — and because you know that even though it gets messy sometimes, I do my best to write with as much liveliness, humanity, and intellectual honesty that I can muster. Plus, View From Your Table!
All this costs money. Like most small opinion magazines, we can’t get by on subscriptions and ads alone. We depend on donors to pay the bills. TAC is a 501(c)(3) entity, which means your gifts to the magazine are tax-deductible. Won’t you consider giving to the cause this holiday season? If you like what you read here, and if you think it’s important to American politics and culture to have a dissenting conservative voice speaking out strong and clear and full of boudin — then give us some holiday cheer. Make your tax-deductible donation now.