“A year before the National Reviewwas founded, I spent an evening with Whittaker Chambers, and he asked me, half provocatively, half seriously, what exactly my prospective journal would seek to save. I trotted out a few platitudes, of the sort one might expect from a twenty-eight year fogy, about the virtues of a free society. He wrestled with me by obtruding the dark historicism for which he had become renowned. Don’t you see? He said.The West is doomed, so that any effort to save it is correspondingly doomed to failure. I drop this ink stain on the bridal whiteness of this fleeted evening only to acknowledge soberly that we are still a long way from establishing, for sure, that Whittaker Chambers was wrong.But that night, challenged by his pessimism, I said to him that if it were so that providence had rung up our license on liberty, stamping it as expired, the Republic deserved a journal that would argue the historical and moral case that we ought to have survived: that, weighting the alternative, the culture of liberty deserves to survive”
-William F. Buckley, remarks at the National Review’s 30th Anniversary Banquet, to an audience including guest of honor Ronald Reagan.
I’ll confess to being a resident“Whittaker Chambers” at this site.While I’m very optimistic about the upcoming elections, when I look at the broader trends in our society—cultural, economic, demographic, and social, I am unfortunately rather baleful about the long term prospects for our country and for American conservatism.
But that’s not what I want to write about tonight—Instead, I’d like to take a tone of hope.
During the 2008 election cycle, I was despairing, as I had been for several cycles before that about the future of our country. And what upset me most was not that we lost but that we nominated a candidate, who, despite having certain personal strengths, seemed to encompass so much of what was wrong with the Republican party’s Washington culture—And this was after two terms of big-government “compassionate” conservatism, joined witha seemingly daily stream of reports of Republican corruption in dealings with lobbyists etc. What’s more, I felt that those of us who attempted to reach out to change things were generally met with scorn and hostility by the party establishment.
What a difference two years makes.I got involved early in the Tea Party movement and supported grassroots Constitutional conservative challengers to a corrupt establishment.And with the support of so many at Red State (and in particular with Erick Erickson’s leadership here), we have created a movement that has shaken the foundations of Washington and struck fear into the hearts of our enemies.
We’re not going to win all of our races during this election cycle. And we can expect the liberal establishment’s attacks to take on an even greater hysteria.But when I look out at the grassroots conservative movement today and the candidates that we have nominated, I can’t help but feeling a tremendous degree of satisfaction.
We may or may not win in the long run, but we have put out a message and a group of candidates that deserve to win, and those candidates are delivering the conservative message without equivocation or apology.After many years in the post-Reagan wilderness, We are finally offeringAmericans “A choice, not an echo”And for that, I am both proud and grateful.