Publisher and Editor, American Greatness
Key previous position: Author
Education: Claremont McKenna College
Notable fact: Serial entrepreneur
While most of his peers had their heads buried in comic books, a 13-year-old Chris Buskirk was devouring issues of National Review. It was the 1980s, and the conservative philosophies of Reagan ruled the day. As he became more curious about the writers he admired —postwar conservatives, intellectuals, and university professors—he began reading their works from 20 years prior. What he found animated him.
“This was stuff that was really thoughtful, Buskirk said. “If somebody came up with a policy idea, it was based on a very well developed worldview, based on years of learning.”
Buskirk went on to study political science and government at Claremont McKenna College, in the hopes of joining his heroes at the pinnacle of conservative thought. But as the thinkers he admired passed away, and the level of discourse was lowered, he left politics and went into business, spending the next two decades as an entrepreneur.
Fast forward to 2015, when a new strain of Republican thought was ascendant. “I got this idea,” Buskirk said. “I thought, ‘You know what? This is a unique political moment. A lot of things are up for grabs. I could go back to doing what I really love. There’s actually an opportunity here to move the needle in a positive direction.’” So in 2016, Buskirk created American Greatness.
“I actually started from the premise that most people actually are smarter than media generally gives them credit for. So if you pitch it a little higher, people will respond to that. We thought that legacy of conservative journalism had really descended to a low level … to a point where it was just sort of hyperbolic and outrage porn for the Right. We wanted to resurrect a more serious journalistic enterprise that represented something that was thoughtful.”
Today, Buskirk and his team have created a booming website, a podcast to boot, and a following of readers of all political stripes. Buskirk says that his journalistic endeavor is informed by the “Greatness Agenda,” which, simply put, holds a duty to citizenship before ideology or party.
“Every government policy has to be what’s best for the country. And that is a symbiotic relationship—citizens have to have a sense of fraternity among ourselves.”
—Mary Frances McGowan