You know the movie Groundhog Day, the classic comedy in which Bill Murray’s character wakes up in the same day, over and over? I swear, I felt like Bill Murray this week, watching all the neocon bigs stiffen their giblets over Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to Congress. Bill Kristol, who once assured us that the Iraq War would be over in two months, even took to Twitter to say:
Seems like old times, doesn’t it? This very magazine, The American Conservative, was born fighting these people. Pat Buchanan, Scott McConnell, and Taki Theodoracopoulos (all pictured above, at TAC’s 2002 launch) could see their country barreling towards catastrophe — led by a Republican president! — and were determined to resist it as best they could. History proved them correct, but in a turn of fate that is like something out of Greek mythology, the United States is once again fully committed to a war of choice with unpredictable consequences. Except this time, it’s a proxy war against a nuclear superpower. As John Mearsheimer has warned, we are playing Russian roulette with nuclear missiles in the chamber. And yet, all of official Washington, as well as the Establishment’s media mouthpieces, are cheering on this war, with urgently necessary discussion about the national security interests of the US in this matter, the war’s endgame, and suchlike, shoved to the side so Very Important People of the unified War Party can carry on about how Ukraine’s fate is the most important issue facing our country — and anybody who raises a peep of protest is plainly simping for Putin.
Well, here we are at TAC, the original war-skeptic conservatives of our era, fighting back against the monolithic pro-war consensus that has captured Washington. We are not pacifists, but we believe that when a nation goes to war — directly or by proxy — its leaders had better be damn sure that it is in the nation’s vital interest. Looking back on the twin debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan, TAC can fairly say, “We told you so.” Maybe this time, we can persuade our leaders to listen and turn around, before it’s too late. We depend on readers and donors like you to keep making these arguments, especially when the bigger publications would rather shut dissenters up.
It’s not just about the war. My own blog focuses heavily on the culture war. As you know, I began paying attention in this space many years ago to what immigrants to America from the Soviet bloc were saying about how this country was turning into a version of what they left behind. I listened to them, thought about what they said, realized that they were onto something big, and have devoted a lot of space over the past few years writing about it. My New York Times bestselling book Live Not By Lies has sold nearly 200,000 copies in the United States, has been or is being translated into ten foreign languages, and is now in the process of being turned into a documentary series to educate Americans about the threat of “soft totalitarianism” to our liberties. I don’t say that to boast, but simply to point out the return on investment TAC donors get. That book was born right here on this blog, thanks to the generous support of readers like you.
I track closely things that happen in popular culture in America and in Europe, phenomena that tell us important things about where we are as a culture, and where we are going. For example, have you seen anywhere in the American media the story about the lone Englishwoman arrested for silently praying on the street outside an abortion clinic? She carried not a sign or anything else. She was simply standing there. Because she is known as a prolife activist, someone called the police on her. When she told the officer under questioning that she “might” have been praying, he arrested her for breaking British law. That’s right: it is against the law to pray quietly in certain places in Great Britain today. This is a massively important canary-in-a-coalmine story, but this blog at TAC is one of the few places that you’ll read about these stories, at least before other outlets. Sometimes critics on Twitter will complain that if not for the Rod Dreher blog, they wouldn’t hear about these supposedly obscure happenings. That’s not a bug, y’all, that’s a feature. If you follow this blog closely, you’ll often know where the next big assault on the faith, on the family, and on traditional liberties is going to come from.
Earlier this year, I relocated to Budapest, Hungary, which has become an international destination for intellectual conservatives. The future of Western conservatism is being hammered out, in part, on the banks of the Danube. TAC, along with our friend Tucker Carlson, was the first to introduce American conservatives to the fascinating experiment in pro-family, aggressive conservative governance undertaken by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party — and TAC continues to counter the mainstream media narrative (even among some conservative media outlets) that demonize the Hungarian populists. When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis oversaw the passage of a law designed to protect children from sex and gender propaganda in public schools, and then took on Woke Capitalism (Disney) to defend Florida families, TAC readers knew from our reporting that the man who might become the next US president was watching Fidesz, and taking moves from its playbook.
My colleagues and I could not do any of this without your help. Like all magazines of opinion, we have to fight to stay viable in a volatile marketplace. We need subscribers — but we can’t do it on subscriptions alone. TAC is published by the American Ideas Institute, a 501c3 non-profit. We enjoy a broad base of philanthropic support—individuals and foundations who believe in our mission of advancing a “Main Street” vision for conservatism. This model is how we can maintain our ideological independence, provide the best conservative journalism, and stay true to the mission that has guided us for twenty years.
TAC has been my home as a writer for 11 years. I am proud to be part of this team. TAC has given me the kind of independence that an opinion writer dreams of. I wrote two of the defining books of contemporary social and religious conservatism — The Benedict Option (2017) and Live Not By Lies (2020) — not only as a TAC writer, but because I am a TAC writer. My journalism here, especially my interaction with so many thoughtful readers, helped me develop these ideas. Every one of you who has given to TAC over the years has invested in these books — and, given the subject matter, in the future of a resilient religious conservatism in what looks like a new Dark Age. I cannot thank you enough.
It’s the end of the year, a time when a lot of folks are thinking about charitable and philanthropic donations. Won’t you be part of this twenty-year mission to speak truth to power? Please join us by making a gift to The American Conservative. It really matters. TAC is run on a shoestring budget. Your donations go to funding vital conservative journalism. Again, I thank you for making another year possible for my colleagues and me, and I thank you in advance for giving us another year to fight the good fight that Pat Buchanan and friends started two decades ago, when virtually alone among leading conservative thinkers, they took a brave and uncompromising stand. The neocons raised hell and hurled anathemas, but the verdict of history is clear: they were right from the beginning. We need your help to keep on keeping on.