Like most other people, those of us who write for intellectual journals want to believe that what we do is important—even if the size of our readership is dwarfed by many outlets of popular culture. Much of contemporary exploration of ideas about the good, the just, and the practical occurs in the pages we fill. About this we are confident. But does it really matter? How, if at all, do our rarified debates affect the broader world? Occasionally, the evidence is obvious, as when Daniel Patrick Moynihan or Jeane Kirkpatrick is named to represent the United States before the United Nations on the strength of an essay in Commentary. But much of the time, we take it on faith that the space we inhabit is not a mere echo chamber.
Thus, it brings joy to our hearts when a scholar traces the connections between our scribblings and high acts of state. In this spirit we can welcome Paving the Way for Reagan: The Influence of Conservative Media on US Foreign Policy, by the historian Laurence Jurdem.