Steve Sailer raised an interesting question in his latest blog about the durability of NR as desirable publication for “conservative” readers. According to Steve, the magazine has been visibly deteriorating for some time.
Indeed having WFB as its founder and first editor and Rich Lowry as its third editor tells much about this publication’s downward direction. These observations are correct but I suspect the magazine may have a lot of life left in it.
Neocon and Republican funding continues to be poured into the publication, and the fact it’s positioned itself somewhere squarely within the MSM gives NR respectability within the left-liberal establishment.
Finally I would note, as I do in my book Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right (2007) that NR continues to have enormous value for those who identify themselves with the establishment conservative movement.
Whatever we may think about its current product, it does appeal to groupies who see it as an intellectual legacy going back to the 1950s.
It is comparable to how American Communists once viewed the Daily Worker, as something to be carried around as a form of ideological identification even if one never read it. Let us not confuse our revulsion for Lowry’s folly with the magazine’s totemic standing in the movement.
Like a staph infection, it may be devilishly hard to kill off.