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We care about principles, not about a tribe
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We care about principles, not about a tribe

I want to tell you why I joined The Dispatch.

Hello!

My name is Luis Parrales, and I recently joined The Dispatch as an assistant editor. The past few weeks have been fast-paced and fun, and I’m thrilled for what’s yet to come. For now, though, I want to tell you why I joined The Dispatch.

I started paying attention to politics in high school. During Obama’s second term, I was becoming more conservative as the majority of my classmates were becoming more progressive. Yet by the time I became an undergrad at a liberal arts college in Virginia, I didn’t gravitate toward the typical conservative organizations or campaigns.

Sure, part of the reason was that some of my peers on campus weren’t exactly friendly toward conservative ideas, but that wasn’t the main issue. What kept me on the sidelines was that the early Trump era was a time of reflexive jabs and knee-jerk animosity. As a conservative, I was especially averse to how many on the right abandoned what once seemed like deeply held opinions—not because of new circumstances (totally fine!) but because of convenience and a vicious desire to “win” (totally not fine!). That was bad for conservatism, and bad for the nation.

As I watched our already polarized country become even more polarized, I realized the importance of institutions, and particularly the media, in determining the temperature of our political discourse. Unfortunately, too many publications’ business model relies on them turning up the heat instead of cooling down the intensity of debate. Then there’s The Dispatch, which aimed from the beginning “to offer a community and forum for thoughtful discussion and civil disagreement.”

And as a paid member for years before joining the staff, I found that community for good-faith debate through The Dispatch’s premium in-house newsletters and podcasts, top-notch reporting, or insightful expert commentary. I got it through The Remnant, where Jonah Goldberg continues to be one of the few conservatives engaging with heterodox, left-of-center thinkers like Shadi Hamid and Thomas Chatterton Williams. I got it through standalone expert essays, like Yuval Levin’s 2022 reflections on the changing face of our social breakdown. And I got it through Andrew Egger and Audrey Fahlberg’s invaluable reporting on January 6.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve helped edit Sarah Isgur’s recent reflections on the decline of party centrists; Nick Catoggio on the Republican reluctance to endorse Ron DeSantis; and Jonah on how to thoughtfully navigate conversations about racism and crime. These aren’t easy topics to handle, and cool heads don’t often prevail. But that’s precisely why they matter: They push against the prevailing sentiment of our discourse, where ideological purity often supersedes clear thinking and principled commitments.

Which brings me to the final reason I joined: Steve and Jonah’s promise to provide “fact-based reporting and commentary on politics, policy and culture—informed by conservative principles.” I especially like the last part, because it’s important to be transparent about our priors. But language is important. We care about principles, not about a tribe.

Whether you’re on the left, right, or center of the political spectrum, I’m confident that The Dispatch can provide you with the serious news and analysis needed to navigate the murky waters of our political discourse. I hope you’ll join us too.

— Luis Parrales

Luis Parrales is an associate editor for arts and culture at The Dispatch and based in Virginia. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in campus outreach and as a research associate at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a contributing editor of American Purpose and a Graduate Institute student at St. John's College in Annapolis. When he is not editing for The Dispatch, he is probably planning ahead on his Oscar predictions and ranking his top ten movies of the year.