January 22, 2016

JONAH GOLDBERG DEFENDS ANTI-TRUMP NATIONAL REVIEW COVER STORY:

The idea that National Review should be lumped in with that establishment is the kind of insight one can only discover after successfully inserting your entire cranium past your sphincter. The K-Street/consultant-class Republican establishment is conservative, but their conservatism is secondary to their need to make deals, maintain access and, to be fair, win elections.

That last bit is important. The Republican party is in the election-winning business first and foremost. And that’s largely as it should be. That’s partly why former National Review publisher, the late, great Bill Rusher always used to tell the new hires at NR to be on guard: “Politicians will always disappoint you.”

The reason politicians will disappoint principled conservatives — and, for that matter, principled liberals and libertarians — is that there is always an inherent tradeoff between the purity of principle and the necessities of electoral politics and the limitations of what can be done via government action. National Review has always recognized this tension, which is immortalized in the rule of thumb that we should support “the most conservative candidate electable.”

Every conservative is supposed to believe that incentives matter. The incentives for the K-street/consultant establishment is keep their influence and their access. The incentives for the ink-and-pixel-stained wretches who run NR are different. I’m open to the complaint that our self-interest has driven us to become too invested in an ideology that too few voters subscribe to. But if that’s the case, the remedy isn’t to abandon all principle and just join the mob. I’d rather go down with my ship, thank you very much.

Read the whole thing.

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