For some 73 years, since November 1914, The New Republic has been the self-constructed soapbox for the best ideas and insights proffered by the liberal intellectual community (which may explain why the magazine is always so thin). Some of the most important names in American liberalism have graced the magazine's pages as it has laid out its plan for a new America.
What exactly has been that plan? In his new book examining the first 25 years of TNR, David Seideman, who worked at TNR from 1979 to 1986 and edited the magazine's special 70th anniversary issue in 1984, explains in the Preface:
In the first half of the 20th century, the forward momentum of U.S. history seemed stalled. The previous century's scattered and diffused economic and political institutions proved ill-equipped to master the complexities of the modern industrial age. The traditional liberal principles of individual rights and natural freedom impeded national progress. During both active and dormant areas, TNR guided the United States away from self-reliance and laissez-faire and toward collective identity through the active intervention of the state.
So far from expressing any remorse for the abridgment of liberties, Seideman continues, "No cause was ever as tirelessly and faithfully championed as social justice, a keystone for reform and civilized societies in the...