by John Kirke 3/7/15[John Kirke sent the below, asking us to pass it along as a guest blog post.]
National Review Online’s recent redesign has made the site nearly unnavigable, which would be a greater offense if it’s content was still worth reading for reasons beyond morbid curiosity. For those who couldn’t find them or didn’t bother looking, here’s a quick glance at some of the articles published in the last 24 hours.
Yesterday afternoon, NRO published a piece by The New Atlantis senior editor Caitrin Keiper, praising Feld Entertainment’s recent announcement to phase out the use of elephants in the Ringling Bros. circus. She approvingly quotes the question asked in a First Things essay, “Why aren’t vegetarians and pro-lifers more closely aligned?”
This morning, we have an NRO interview conducted by editor-at-large Kathryn Jean Lopez, about an joint editorial issued by four Catholic publications, calling for an end to the death penalty in the United States. There’s not a single question that challenges the position, presenting the conservative argument for capital punishment even as a kind of devil’s advocacy.
Finally, this morning we also have a piece from Charles C.W. Cooke, one of NRO’s most prominent staff writers, criticizing the Republican Party’s leadership for their absence in today’s ceremonies for the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma. Their absence is not just a lost political opportunity, it shows that they don’t understand the meaning of Selma, that the march is as important as the end of the war for American independence and that MLK is as important as George Washington.
“If all men really are created equal, the anniversary of Selma must be treated as a date every bit as important to American history as is the end of the Siege of Yorktown.” [emphasis mine]
“If we are to put George Washington upon our plinths, and to eulogize him on our currency, we must agree to elevate Martin Luther King Jr. to the same dizzy heights.” [emphasis mine]
This isn’t what I would expect from NRO long before another election cycle ramps up: for the last decade, the pattern seems to have been posting uncontroversial arguments for conservatism in the off year to add weight to their work for the GOP establishment’s managerial progressive in the presidential primaries.
But evidently this is what passes for conservatism today at National Review, the magazine founded to stand athwart history, yelling Stop. It may be a temporary thing, but their site redesign affected the page for the mission statement, dropping that most famous phrase and the bulk of the manifesto, leaving only a sentence and a half from the first paragraph.
That seems about right.
John R.W. Kirke is a pseudonym of a Christian husband, father, and engineer who has written elsewhere under other names, including “Lawrence” in the comments at National Review Online. He remains deeply moved by the unpublished memoirs of Professor D. Kirke (1888-1949).
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