The Atlantic and American Conservatism

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Reihan has a detailed response to Patrick Ruffini's thought-provoking post on movement conservatism after Bush (which is the continuation of an interesting back-and-forth he's been having with Soren Dayton), so I'll confine myself to addressing this line:

A new conservative movement would, as the gravitational pull of these things go, make the GOP more conservative. And that would mean largely undoing the Bush legacy in domestic policy. A new agenda will not come from the pages of the New York Times or the Atlantic.


Um ... that would be the Atlantic that published James Q. Wilson's "Broken Windows," Dinesh D'Souza's "Illiberal Education," Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's "Dan Quayle Was Right," and Bernard Lewis's "The Roots of Muslim Rage" - to name just a few of what I think could be fairly described as "agenda-setting" pieces for the American Right. Now obviously the Atlantic is not a movement-conservative magazine, and thus it's never going to be the primary place where the Right's internal debates get hashed out. It is, however, a magazine with a long tradition of publishing interesting ideas and arguments from across the political spectrum, and it's a place that has historically been far more hospitable to conservatives than certain other general-interest magazines I can think of. And a conservative movement that writes off the Atlantic - and by extension any non-movement publication - as irrelevant to its agenda is a conservative movement with a serious cocooning problem.

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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