Every few decades a magazine emerges that reinvigorates the North American public intellectual scene, and eventually reshapes the political and cultural landscape. In the 1930s it was the Partisan Review‘s amalgam of Trotsky’s politics and Eliot’s poetry. In the 1970s it was Commentary‘s cold warrior/supply sider/traditional values neoconservatism. Comment can do this job in the early 21st century—provided we become the journal of choice of tomorrow’s Christian leaders while they are still in college.
It is quite some time since Comment readers last were able to hold a paper issue of the magazine in the hand. We have tried for some time to publish Comment primarily online, and as of June 2005 we are publishing a new Comment article online every Friday, at http://www.wrf.ca/comment. But the insistence of our loyal readers that an online Comment is just not the same as a paper Comment has persuaded us again to publish a regular paper issue, as we had in the past.
This issue of Comment is also special in the sense that the scope of issues addressed and the points of view articulated in this issue of Comment have been selected to represent the mission and character of the Work Research Foundation. The mission of the WRF is to influence people toward a Christian view of work and public life. In this issue you will find a Christian view of work and public life articulated in a wide variety of ways, and by a rich array of voices. You will read about various situations in which these issues have been thrashed out—including among fishmongers and labour unions, student groups and city intellectuals. You will read the views of proponents of the WRF’s founding tradition, the neocalvinism of Abraham Kuyper and H. Evan Runner, as well as the views of people from other, very different traditions.
The Work Research Foundation has developed significantly since last we published a paper issue of Comment. We not only advocate the building of institutions as part of our Christian cultural responsibility (a topic that is being addressed in our weekly Comment updates online), we practice it. The WRF has expanded its activities in almost every area, and has added staff to be able to support this expansion.
With the help of this expanded community of WRF staff, Comment is now able to publish a weekly online update, and we hope to be able to print and widely distribute two further issues on paper during 2005: a Summer issue with the theme What is to be done?, and a Fall issue with the theme City and country—urbanism and agrarianism.
The Work Research Foundation is the beneficiary of the legacy of several generations of serious Christain cultural engagement, and it is our hope and dream to pass this legacy along to the next generation, and to pass it along enriched. It is our hope to be able to draw on this legacy as we engage with the issues of work and public life in our own generation, and to make a positive contribution in the public square here in Canada and America. We hope that this issue of Comment will provide you with nourishing food for thought. We cherish your good wishes, and your support.