I first subscribed to COMMENTARY in 1973, as a recovering liberal who had invested four years of my young life in writing speeches for a constellation of McGovernite candidates and office-holders. Living in Berkeley at the time, I relished COMMENTARY as a guilty pleasure, feeling grateful that the magazine arrived each month discreetly disguised in a plain, brown wrapper that concealed its suspiciously neo-conservative content. In the militantly leftist community in which I functioned forty years ago, receiving regular monthly installments of the most degrading porn would have produced far less embarrassment than my growing devotion to the persuasive prose of Norman Podhoretz and Co.
Yes, my personal journey from left to right-center involved the usual biographical factors, including the three P’s: paychecks, parenthood, and prayer. Paychecks, because they arrived with shocking subtractions in the form of onerous and incomprehensible taxes; parenthood, because responsibility for a new generation forced a longer-term perspective; and prayer, because my own growing Jewish observance led to the conclusion that my “idealistic” ’60s generation, with all its narcissism and preening self-regard, might not provide life’s ultimate answers after all. Fortunately for me, reading COMMENTARY with near-religious regularity helped to organize my onrushing insights and experience into a more coherent world view. In a dark time in our nation’s history, while surviving (temporarily) in the most unhinged corner of the continent, this incomparable publication persuaded me that I wasn’t alone.
Help support COMMENTARY. Please click here to donate.