After 6 or so years as Editor-in-Chief at FPR, Mark Mitchell has decided to take a well-deserved rest from his labors. He has been, in our short history, the indispensable person. Under Mark’s leadership FPR has emerged as a distinctive voice in American culture and politics. He has successfully brooked the partisan and ideological divides that define our contemporary politics and formed a website whose content is not easily pigeon-holed but is nonetheless coherent and, usually, interesting. He has brought together a coterie of diverse writers and given them the freedom to think and to grow, and provided them with opportunities to develop a unique kind of community, as was exemplified at last week’s conference. I’ve been enriched professionally by my association with FPR, but even more so personally, and I have Mark to thank.
Knowing Mark as I do, his gentle leadership and his work ethic, I accepted the post with trepidation, knowing, in Eliot’s words, that “one cannot hope to emulate – but there is no competition.” All of us who have been involved with FPR and, I think, the culture in general, are grateful to Mark for what he has done with this website. I am humbled by the confidence the board has shown in me and pledge to honor that confidence accordingly. I do so with no small amount of nervousness. I feel a little like Lorin Maazel taking over the Cleveland Orchestra from George Szell: It’s going to be really hard to make it better, but really easy to make it worse. I hope I will be judged more kindly when my tenure is done. (One writer referred to Maazel as having “tarnished Szell’s gleaming instrument.”) I suspect a few regular readers out there slapped their foreheads in dismay when they saw to whom Mark had passed the baton. I hope to win their confidence as well.
As a conservative, I’m not particularly inclined to innovation. I suspect that over time FPR may look slightly different, a variation on an original theme, but I hope to preserve the integrity and thoughtfulness always displayed here, as well as the bedrock commitments to place, limits, and liberty.
I do have a few ideas for changes in site content that I’ll be rolling out gradually. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you, the readers, concerning what you’d like to see at FPR. Please use the comments section below or send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can continue FPR’s maturation.