People ask me why I read National Review Online. Isn't it just a partisan rag, full of ideolouges like Goldberg who are just frontmen for the GOP? Well, I am not denying that Goldberg is what some might affectionately call a "media whore". But there are writers of true calibre on National Review. They may be conservative, they may be white, they may be Republicans. Good for them - these (highly overlapping) groups are integral not just to the realm of politial debate but to the fabric of diversity in this country itself. Even as they sometimes argue against diversity, they serve that ideal.
For example, John Derbyshire looks like a typical Angry White Guy. Sort of like the Hank Hill stereotype, but with a graduate degree. But he is not provincial in his outlook at all - for example, read his series of articles that he wrote while traveling throughout in China last summer:
August 16, 2001: Last Days in China
August 14, 2001: Derb Does China, Part IX
August 9, 2001: China Diary, Part VIII
August 7, 2001: Chinese Lessons
July 26, 2001: China Diary, Part VI
July 23, 2001: An Outsider Inside
July 13, 2001: China Diary, Part IV
July 12, 2001: China Diary, Part III
July 11, 2001: Beijing Journal, Part II
July 10, 2001: Beijing Journal, Part I
These are wonderful essays and provide a firm context for his strident critique of China and our foreign policy. He is one of those rare men of conviction. I think he's horribly wrong on many of his opinions, but he holds them for rational reasons and I value him as a thinker on the right. If you doubt the rationality of his thought process, read his article today in defense of Islam. He pulls no punches in describing terrorists, fascists, and has denigrating words for Arab culture as a whole. But read the piece carefully and you will clearly see the outline of his thinking. He doesn't hide it, he lays it out on the table.
No, it's not snowing in Hell. John Derbyshire has defended Islam in the pages of National Review. Get over it.
Likewise, National Review has been the only place to turn to for analysis of Iran, as I have mentioned in previous posts. Michael Ledeen has done a fantastic job in following the story. Likewise, founder William F Buckley Jr has been another consistent, principled, and insightful voice (though he has surrounded himself by demagouges and apologists). And Dinesh D'Souza has written some solid analysis of the political forces behind Islamofascism recently.
It's just as good a magazine as The Nation, and just as unfairly mischaracterized. The writers above are just as wrongly labeled and misrepresented as are Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky and have become to some degree equivalent straw men targets for demonization by the left just as the right has done.