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The Atlantic, but for the center-right
On internationalists, intellectual humility, and the missing media outlet badly needed in American public life
The American media landscape is crowded in many ways, but one glaring vacuum is a thoughtful, gently center-right counterpart to The Atlantic. Same long-form periodical style, just with a classical-liberal/right-neoliberal disposition. A big-picture, big-ideas home base with a proudly American slant.
■ Imagine an outlet to serve as a natural home for market-oriented greens, Republican internationalists, and Madisonian Federalists — people who often agree with their moderately left-of-center friends about the problems, but who may differ in good faith about the solutions. An editorial voice consistently skeptical of concentrated power in all its forms, but not focused on day-to-day politics.
■ There are really giant questions out there that need to be asked -- and answered with a healthy dose of humility about what can be done via mandate. Not reflexively anti-government, but thoroughly aware that nothing is sustainable without broad public buy-in.
■ To an extent, this isn't far from the editorial position of The Economist. But whereas The Economist is a decidedly global publication, there really isn't a widely-known voice of this nature with an unapologetically American focus, mission, and perspective.
■ And the best way for America to responsibly bear its special place in the world is to make sure we neither mistake our self-interest for the global interest (they aren't always the same), nor to ignore the global interest out of selfishness. We must be engaged with the world without succumbing to the conceit that we're the only place in the world.
■ The United States is both a vast continental nation and a place of enormous differences in local priorities and approaches, and our intellectual atmosphere should reflect that. What we share in common (like national defense priorities), we ought to do with a long-term perspective. What we can do differently at the state, county, and community levels, we ought to share among ourselves as peers and friends.
■ It isn't hard to find outlets with something to say about politics, but it can be very hard to find those with something to say about ideas. And ideas are what move the world. As Calvin Coolidge once remarked, "Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance." Those ideas ought to have an obvious landing place.