A Plea For Forthrightness

After praising a Rich Lowry column on the plight of working Americans, David Frum practically begs his former colleague to have the courage of his convictions:

Rich, if you take these concerns seriously as a writer and thinker – then take them seriously as an editor. Challenge your readers. Fix their attention. Urge them to see what you see. Emancipate them from pretend information and false ideas. Use your platform. Don’t ratify a pre-existing conservative consensus that fails to address the issues you identify as supremely important – change it. National Review could be hugely relevant to the debate over the future of conservatism if it would only speak clearly and consistently in favor of what you regard as true – and against the current orthodoxy that you tacitly concede is false. Lead!-because if you don’t, you leave the field to a reactionary conservatism that offers little or nothing to the hard-pressed people whose cause you took up today.

It would be fun to see National Review commit as a magazine to challenging its audience. Surveying the outlets that are making money on the right, however, is to understand how difficult it would be for Lowry to go that route. Once again, the financial incentives and intellectual health of movement conservatism are in tension.