The decline of This Magazine

Letters to the Editor reacting to my piece on declinism, originally published in THIS, later published in the OC and the National Post. It’s disappointing. As is usually the case when I write something for that (THIS) magazine, the objections focus not so much on what I’ve said, but the fact that I’ve said it in a place where you aren’t supposed to say these things:

He [Potter] already has the Ottawa Citizen and Maclean’s to reach his audience. I buy This to get another point of view, not the same one I get everywhere else. I’m sorry if he used to sit on the editorial board, but that should be no reason to keep publishing his run-of-the-mill opinions.

I take issue with Potter’s excessive optimism, i.e., that “over the past hundred years, life got steadily better by almost any conceivable measure.” It is true that in that time we seem to have conquered some diseases, and in the West, at least, we live under better hygienic conditions; however, new worldwide pandemics are on the rise…. I am very disappointed with This Magazine for publishing what amounts to such counterproductive drivel.

The major reason I broke my formal ties with that (THIS) magazine was that it was held hostage to its primary shareholders, i.e., the subscribers, who do not believe that the function of the magazine should be to challenge received views on the left, any more than a Catholic church should be in the business of giving sermons challenging the divinity of Jesus. To that extent, THIS Magazine is serving as the house organ for a religious cult, not a magazine of ideas. It is a serious problem for the magazine, because it is basically incapable of expanding its readerbase or influence, in the same way a church is held hostage by its membership.

But then again, if it weren’t for me, they wouldn’t get any letters at all.

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