This is the first all-online issue of Comment. It may take us a little while to sort out all the glitches and add on all the features we have in mind, but over the next months we hope to provide our readers with great reading eight times per year and provide the opportunity to engage in a dialogue over the issues our writers raise. One new feature of the all-online Comment will, appropriately, be a commenting system that will allow you to add your remarks to every essay or column we publish.
As regular readers know, our particular purpose with Comment is to deepen and broaden dialogue about work and economic life. We do this within the context of the mission of our publisher, the Work Research Foundation, which is to promote a Christian view of work and a Christian social vision in which the idea of sphere sovereignty figures significantly.
As of this issue, we will try and reach, in particular, college and university students and young working people. Many of our older readers still prefer a paper publication that they can hold in their hands, touch and weigh, and carry around to their favourite reading chair or perhaps take along on their travels. I can understand this: I still prefer reading Commentary and First Things, The New Criterion, and the Harvard Business Review in paper, even though their content is available online.
But we believe that we have a responsibility to make the ideas of our authors available with the greatest possible ease and to the widest possible readership. If we indeed want younger readers to pick up what our authors write, we have to make Comment available to them in the medium they use most of the time. I bought my first computer well into my university career, but most college and university students these days grew up with computer access from their youngest years.
I spend between 20 minutes to an hour every day surfing the web, reading my favourite columnists and bloggers online and getting a quick overview of the news of the day. While I spend most of the rest of my working day (when not running a workshop, teaching, or visiting a research site) in front of a computer, I am still not as wired as most of my university-age friends. If the choice is between expensive nostalgia and effective accessibility, I am afraid we must choose for the latter.
Comment is not a leader in this field. Slate and National Review Online are the real online pioneers among online magazines. Andrew Sullivan and Terry Teachout are proving the influence possible for online pundits, and Beliefnet and Boundless are proving the interest of students in online discussions that have to do with religion.
What Comment hopes to bring is a particular perspective. While we will be publishing opinions on work, economic life, and the public sphere from a number of perspectives, most of our contributors will write from the perspective of Christian social thought, drawing on the traditions exemplified by the nineteenth century Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper and the Catholic pope of the same time, Leo XIII.
We hope that you will not only enjoy the delights we dish up in our essays and columns but that you will join in the conversation.