/Your Declaration of Our Independence

Your Declaration of Our Independence

David French

Donate to NRI to keep us free to think, to write, and to preserve the liberties we all hold dear.

Let me say, right up front, that this is a request for you to donate to the National Review Institute, the non-profit journalism think tank – deeply committed to conservative values – founded by Bill Buckley in 1991. So, if you don’t need convincing, just click the link right now and give. It’s that easy.

But if you need some convincing, let me briefly tell you why donating to NRI is your patriotic duty.

We are blessed to live in interesting, contentious times. Why do I say blessed? Because when big ideas hang in the balance, when important movements are torn apart by internal conflict, good men and women want to fight for the ideas and values that have built our civilization.

And what are those ideas?

Essentially every single one of our unalienable rights is now under attack.

Consider for a moment the First Amendment. On college campuses  (where I and many other NRI fellows often find ourselves, thanks to NRI’s On Campus program) and beyond, free speech is often considered not just a relic of the past but an actual weapon of patriarchal oppressors. There is an increasing belief that free speech is a cultural and political liability, that people should be protected from the marketplace of ideas. Thus we face a legal and cultural attack on free expression, and we’re tasked not just with defending the law, but also with preserving a culture.

And what of religious liberty (the protection of which is another key objective of NRI’s Center for Unalienable Rights)? It’s so despised that mainstream-media outlets will use scare quotes when describing the conflict between religious freedom and the latest advance of the most radical branches of the sexual revolution. Religious liberty is no longer our first freedom. It’s “religious liberty” — the tool of alleged bigots, used for oppression and not as an expression of eternal truth.

The Second Amendment is also under unrelenting assault. The fights over ineffective gun-control measures are familiar enough, but our nation now faces an effort to stigmatize and shame gun ownership itself. There’s a desire to change our nation so much that gun owners are essentially pushed to the margins of society — treated as dangerous and strange rather than responsible and free.

Let’s also think about due process — the heart of of the Fifth and 14th Amendments. There is now an increasing belief (front and center in the fight over Brett Kavanaugh) that we must believe accusers even without cross-examination or the full disclosure of evidence. We can and should sympathize with the plight of those who have suffered unspeakable harms without discarding centuries of wisdom about how to discern truth in legal proceedings.

While I could go on, I won’t. After all, an essay that’s too long will distract from the central goal, which — again — is to persuade you to donate to the National Review Institute. But I will say this — the most effective defense of liberty requires intellectual independence.

To do its best work, NRI can’t be partisan. It cannot be beholden to any particular candidate or any political party. Its fellows have to be free to think and write without fear or favor. We face hard questions. We face important questions. And we can’t face those questions concerned that we’ll anger an owner or a big donor.

That’s where you come in. Your donations — large or small — represent your declaration of our independence. You are asking the NRI fellows you read, the people who don’t just make you think but also make congressmen, CEOs, senators, and even presidents think, to write and defend ideas without the concern that offending any person will drive us out of business.

Jonah Goldberg has brought millions of readers to National Review. He has brought his thoughts (and humor) to an entire generation of young conservatives. Shouldn’t he keep speaking fearlessly to a nation that needs to hear his voice?

Do you want Andy McCarthy to keep bringing his experience and intellect to bear to analyze some of the most important legal questions of our time? When he speaks, the highest levels of American government listen. Is his voice not worth supporting?

Already I’m getting too long. If you don’t think our nation needs Ramesh Ponnuru’s extraordinary knowledge of American public policy, don’t click on this link.

If you don’t think we need Jay Nordlinger’s insight into the people and ideas that have shaped America and the world, then don’t click on this link.

If you don’t think we need Victor Davis Hanson bringing deep historical perspective to the conflicts of our time, then don’t click on this link.

If you don’t think that we need one of the smartest people in America — Reihan Salam — debating immigration and assimilation, then don’t click on this link.

If you hate adoption, foster care, and the deep questions of meaning and faith that Kathryn Jean Lopez brings to the public square, then don’t click on this link.

But if you know that our nation needs the best minds debating the most important ideas in the most effective way, then by all means click on this link. Your donations make us free to think, to write, and to preserve the liberties we all hold dear.

David French

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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