- Format: Print Magazine
- Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
- Publisher: Manhattan Institute
- ASIN: B00006K8YU
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
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City Journal Print Magazine
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City Journal offers a stimulating mix of hard-headed practicality and cutting edge theory, with articles on everything from school financing, policing strategy, and welfare policy to urban architecture, family policy, and the latest theorizing emanating from the law shcools.
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I have subscribed to City Journal in the past - and it is a fantastic magazine.
This service for magazines has horrible customer service. Ignored my initial requests for help, and then just blew me off.
Buy your City Journal somewhere else.
This is what it says about itself.
"City Journal offers a stimulating mix of hard-headed practicality and cutting-edge theory, with articles on everything from school financing, policing strategy, and welfare policy to urban architecture, family policy, and the latest theorizing emanating from the law schools, the charitable foundations, even the schools of public health. Since urban policy encompasses almost all domestic policy questions, as well as the largest issues of our culture and society, the magazine views its canvas as very broad indeed. The magazine holds itself to the highest intellectual, journalistic, and literary standards, aiming to produce intelligent and absorbing reading for intelligent and discerning readers."
I believe this particular 'advertisement for myself' is accurate.
Let's start with E.D. Hirsch's "Vocabulary: The Key to Upward Mobility". Some solid ideas, backed by bad reasoning with little human insight applied. Hirsch's ideas for overhauling the curriculum are fine--domain immersion for example. What's bothersome is Hirsch's Apserger's-like method of cherry picking study after study, citing correlations, making huge assumptions and never questioning the question in the first place: What is education and do we all need it? He starts with the very tired statistic that college grads make more money, tells us that SAT scores are a good predictor of graduation rates and income, that vocabulary size and "life chances" are related, and other such bare facts. True, as facts, but even a smart 6th grader could raise legitimate questions here. Once we ask those questions and see the falsehoods mere statistics generate, we can ask real questions. His heart MIGHT be in the right place, but his efforts go nowhere.
John Buntin's "The LAPD Remade" praises the work of new Commissioner Bill Bratton. The piece focuses on police-community relations, especially the Black community, said to be made better by Bratton's personal touch. But Buntin paints an overly bright picture here. He cites stats that show a decline in LA crime. First, there have been many accusations of falsification of crime statistics in LA. The same thing happened here in Philadelphia under Mayor Rendell, who never stopped patting himself on the back on the basis of those lies. Second, again, mere stats won't due. In a state of war, there are periodic states of peace, before the next storm, as when one group pushes the other out. To assess LA's crime, one needs to be down at the street level, to see the root causes. Citing official stats or getting quotes from government official on how good a job they are doing doesn't cut it.
If Buntin and Hirsch are well intentioned but off target, what of Paul Starobin's "Irrepressible Moscow"? Starobin, a former writer for the leftist New Republic and National Geographic, writes a piece that has both the fluffiness and dishonesty of a typical NG article. Beyond dishonesty even, is his mention of the "suppression of civil liberties" in Moscow because of the arrest of Pussy Riot! Starobin claims they were arrested for "chanting a novel prayer". This is such a distortion of the truth it should be upgraded to an OUTRIGHT LIE. There have been many Russian patriots jailed under Putin's leadership. Pussy Riot is not among them. It gets worse still, as Starobin, in his best attempt to downplay the demographic and social crisis caused by immigration, first forgets to tell us that these Caucasian immigrants are criminals and gangsters, protected by the corrupt Putin regime who make daily life for many Russians intolerable. Starobin goes on to cheerily tell us that these immigrants soon assimilate. No sign of that yet.
Another New Republic product, Adam Kirsch profiles Jewish leftist Peruvian writer and politician Mario Vargas Llosa. Kirsch's article has a sympathetic tone and we can see why as the former socialist and advocate of free trade and "liberty", is certainly no former leftist. Ilosa's idea of liberty is abortion, euthanasia, open borders, unrestricted immigration, and an end to all nationalisms. The common ground of rootless economic libertarians and rootless neo Marxists is laid bare. No wonder the Peruvians rejected him. Better a corrupt old style strongman than a leftist ideologue intent on destruction of a people.
But its time for some comedy: "The GOP and the City" by Edward L. Glaeser. Oh why do the big cities reject the GOP, asks Glaeser, when the Republicans have such good ideas? The question alone makes me chuckle. Cited as a good idea is No Child Left Behind! Now I'm rolling on the floor. If only the Republicans would get their message out, the urban dwellers might vote for them. Forget for a second whether the Republicans have good ideas--I think they do talk a good game--and forget whether they really back up their words once in power---they rarely do--but Glaeser is so clueless that he doesn't realize that the voters in big cities have heard the message. They rejected it Edward and continue to do so. Does Glaeser ever get down to street level and meet people? Does he know the cities at all. Again, a problem presents itself and City Journal finds itself without the insight to understand the issue.
And then there is Pierre Manent, whose incoherent attempt to trace the origins of the modern Nation-State may have caused me to cancel my subscription. He may have read Cicero but I can't see he understood his mind, method or intentions. His statement that the Middle Ages "...doesn't lend itself to our comprehension because it had no experience of an adequately coherent human order.", is a laughable product of narrow, ideologically oriented mind. I question if he even read Machiavelli beyond The Prince, and he completely ignores the real political, military and geographic factors that led to the rise of the state in the 17th century. Ideas do matter, but Manent got the wrong ideas. He actually is brighter than I give him credit for here, but in the end he is another neo-conservative. I charge clients $90. an hour for my work. I spent 30 minutes on this article. Since you can't refund time itself, I request that the publisher of City Journal refund me $45. for my time.
It isn't all bad. Like good social scientists, the writers at City Journal can turn out some good articles about economic policy and this issue has a view on the boom in Texas, the growth of Washington DC and the pension problem in California. Also, Heather MacDonald and Theodore Dalrymple are two bright spots. Dalrymple I am familiar with and always enjoy his writings. MacDonald I knew less about but I had come across some of her writings and was happy to read her here.
But the good is outnumbered at City Journal. Still, it is more palatable than the faux conservative American Conservative magazine, and not as left Republican as the once right wing National Review. I'll stick with the Rockford Institute's Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and Quarterly Review from the UK.
My analysis of City Journal ? A soft left establishment Republican ( ie neoconservative) publication that is fighting a lost cause with a losing stategy. Defensive, timid, shallow, sycophantic, positivist, City Journal is using the same tone, the same strategies and positions that led to the total defeat of the conservative movement. At best it is a losing rear guard action in a war already lost. In some cases, this may be intentional, as the neo cons intentionally destroyed the conservative movement. In others it is just naiveté in the extreme. CJ lacks soul. It lacks depth of thinking so it comes up empty. The perfect hand picked opponent for the left establishment.