Friday, June 27, 2008


In today's column, David Brooks praises the kids -- a bold new generation of untethered, independent right-wing kids! -- whose writing is going to save conservatism:

Among the many dark tidings for American conservatism, there is one genuine bright spot. Over the past five years, a group of young and unpredictable rightward-leaning writers has emerged on the scene.

... most of these writers did not rise through the official channels of the conservative or libertarian establishments. By and large, they didn't do the internships or take part in the young leader programs that were designed to replenish "the movement."

...There are dozens of writers I could put in this group, but I'd certainly mention Yuval Levin, Daniel Larison, Will Wilkinson, Julian Sanchez, James Poulos, Megan McArdle, Matt Continetti and, though he's a tad older, Ramesh Ponnuru.

Ross Douthat and my former assistant, Reihan Salam, are two of the most promising....

Yup, that's right -- these kids aren't connected to the righty Establishment ... oh, except, I guess, for the one who was an assistant to David Brooks.

Oh, and one or two others.

Like Matt Continetti:

... Doubleday editor-at-large Adam Bellow came up with the idea [for Continetti's first book] shortly after the Presidential election in 2004. ... he needed to find someone to write it. So he did what any media-savvy individual in search of fresh, right-leaning blood would do: He telephoned The Weekly Standard's editor, Bill Kristol.

Mr. Kristol suggested one of his own reporters, Matthew Continetti, 25, for the gig....

Mr. Bellow, who in the past has edited such conservative writers as Dinesh D'Souza and Wendy Shalit, helped his lucky new scribe hammer out a proposal, which Mr. Kristol and others reviewed....

Before Mr. Continetti found himself completing his first book, he was treading a path through a system that connects such ideologically aligned dots as Mr. Bellow, Mr. Kristol and himself....

Mr. Continetti ...was awarded a 2002 summer internship at the
National Review through the Collegiate Network, a division of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute that was founded by Irving Kristol and William Simon Sr. in 1979, which directs money into American colleges to fight what it characterizes as liberal bias on campuses....

The network also funds yearlong fellowships, of which Mr. Continetti was a recipient upon graduation. He spent his year at
The Weekly Standard as a fellow under Fred Barnes and received a stipend of approximately $28,000 from the network; when it was over, the magazine hired him full time....

And now there’s the book deal. Mr. Bellow said that he was taught a "whole generational theory of publishing" by his mentor at the Free Press, Erwin Glikes, who had hired him based on a recommendation from Irving Kristol (who was an acquaintance of his father, Saul Bellow). The theory consisted of finding the best of the younger generation and giving them book contracts....

Ross Douthat? Former editor of the right-wing campus paper The Harvard Salient, which was also funded by the Collegiate Network.

Yuval Levin?

Yuval Levin is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. In 2005 and 2006, he was a member of the White House domestic policy staff.... Trained in political science at American University and the University of Chicago, he is considered by many a bioconservative and a Straussian, in the mold of his mentor, Leon Kass.

Will Wilkinson?

... Currently he is a research fellow at the Cato Institute... Previously, he was Academic Coordinator of the Social Change Project and the Global Prosperity Initiative at The Mercatus Center at George Mason University and before that he ran the Social Change Workshop for Graduate Students for The Institute for Humane Studies.

(The Mercatus Center "is a market-oriented research, education, and outreach think tank ... founded by Rich Fink, former president of the Koch Foundations, which funds a network of market-oriented think tanks and advocacy groups." The Institute for Humane Studies "acts as a libertarian talent scout, identifying, developing, and supporting the brightest young libertarians it can find who are intent on a leveraged scholarly, or intellectual, career path.... The Institute receives funding from a number of large libertarian and right-wing foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Carthage Foundation.")

Ramesh Ponnuru?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review.... He has been a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and a media fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

(For info on the Institute of Economic Affairs and Hoover Institution, go here and here.)

Yup -- real bootstrappers, these kids.


By the way, I'm amused that James Poulos is on Brooks's list. He's not as well connected -- but he's the guy who, a few years ago, told us that society is being irreparably harmed by "zany" typefaces and deliberate misspellings ("kidz") on items aimed at children. If he's the future of conservatism, conservatism is doomed.

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