I was concerned when I saw that First Things magazine hired Joseph Bottum as Editor. First Things is an invaluable source of serious writing on religion in public life. While it has been alleged that Monsignor Newhouse, First Things founder and guiding spirit is a Neo-con, I've always found him a responsible and generous spirit. Bottum on the other hand was last associated with the Weekly Standard, Rupert Murdock's failed attempt to buy the voice of American conservatism. What he got was the house organ of Likud in America. Bottum or his part is a sort of semi-serious Jonah Goldberg.
My worst fears for First Things materialized on the last issue's cover. There was William Kristol's rebuttal to Mearsheimer and Walt's book on the The Israel Lobby. No gentle reader, I didn't read it. Nor did I buy the magazine. The idea of paying to read Kristol's sub-sophistical defense of his fellow foreign agents was just too much. Since then, I note other neo-cons appearing between First Things covers.
Can this be the same journal that hosted a most serious debate on Iraq and Just War theory? Could they find no one to review the book who was not also the subject of the book? Given a desire to have a Zionist rebut the book, could they find no one more serious than Dan Quayle's former amanuensis?
I hope that the Neo-cons are not allowed to ruin this journal as they did the National Review. Perhaps the reverend will reverse course in time.