Goodbye Secondhand Smoke, Hello NRO

Original Article

This is the 5,728th–and last–edition of Secondhand Smoke.  When I next post, I will be at National Review Online, the master of a new blog called Human Exceptionalism.

I began SHS during the early days of blogging when Andrew Sullivan and a few others were blazing the trail.  In those days, most blogs had whimsical titles, and so I decided on Secondhand Smoke, a name I had always intended to call a newspaper opinion column if I were ever to have one.  My joke has always been–remember, there is often truth in humor–that I chose the title because I am full of hot air and emit particulate matter.

SHS used to primarily be about bioethics, and that field being a point of the spear for undermining the equality/sanctity of human life, it will remain an area of special emphasis in HE.  But, anti humanism–implicit and explicit–has been growing in other fields, and thus my concerns expanded over the years.  That thickening of portfolio (if you will) will accelerate further at NRO, and hence, we decided on the more descriptive title.

For example, I may from time-to-time include some cultural issues I haven’t touched on before–say, pornography–that I see as promoting societal decay by corroding exceptionalist standards.  And while personal commentary and maintaining real-time histories of controversies involving human dignity will continue to be the primary focuses, I also plan to do some interviews with the leading thinkers in these associated fields.  Maybe we’ll make some news.

A few housekeeping notes: All of the old SHS posts will be republished at NRO under the new name, so there will be continuity.  Indeed, my deep appreciation to the NRO tech people for cheerfully tackling the rigors of importing all of my previous posts–and boy, was that a job!  But the dark lining of that silver cloud; I believe we lost most of the comments in that process. Also, I will not be moderating the comments, so NRO will set those rules.  I hope y’all will maintain the decorum you’ve generally kept here. But I will be contributing to The Corner, from time to time, so I hope you will check those out too.  And please don’t forget my Twitter handle, @forcedexit.

Finally, thanks so much to the editors past and present at First Things for their confidence in hosting me here, and for their cooperation in the change.  I will continue to write for FT, with a biweekly column in On the Square on alternate Fridays, and with a greater presence in the magazine.  Thanks also to tech guru Joe Carter for his help and calming influence.

SHS has been a great run, and I appreciate my readers so much.  Thank you for the years of criticism, praise, and thoughtful analysis.  I hope you will all join me in the new adventure. The URL for Human Exceptionalism will be htttps://, if you want to bookmark it.  An automatic redirect will also be placed here.

As soon as the final tech issues are handled, we go live. Until we meet again…

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.