R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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Defending Ruth Wisse

From First Thoughts

I find it odd that Jody and David have missed Ruth Wisse’s rather obvious point about the philosophical importance of Yiddish. Yiddish was the language in which the logically complex, multi-voiced world of the Talmud made its way into Jewish folk wisdom. The ironic and indirect ways of . . . . Continue Reading »

Brain Food

From the February 2010 Print Edition

Intellectual Appetite: A Theological Grammar by Paul Griffiths Catholic University of America, 235 PAGES, $24.95 All men desire to know, said Aristotle at the beginning of his Metaphysics . Paul Griffiths, with his new book Intellectual Appetite , has set out to discipline and deepen that . . . . Continue Reading »

Obama and Role Playing

From First Thoughts

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a sharp op-ed piece by Shelby Steele. Without doubt, Steele has been one of the clearest and most forceful analysts of the tortured reality of race relations in the post-civil rights era. He has written with devastating persuasiveness about the the way in which . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservative and Liberal Habits of Mind

From First Thoughts

It’s a blessing to have smart readers, and I’ve profited from the string of comments about the differences between conservative and liberal mentalities. Some point out that the Bush administration had its share of ideological blindness, especially with regard to policies after the . . . . Continue Reading »

Service to the Communists

From First Thoughts

Monday’s Wall Street Journal ran an interesting review of a newly published biography of John S. Service by Jonathan Mirsky. Drummed out of the State Department during the McCarthy period, Service was long viewed as a victim of irrational anti-communism, and he was rewarded by the liberal . . . . Continue Reading »

Nelson Caves on Abortion Funding

From First Thoughts

I had hoped that my senator, Ben Nelson from Nebraska, would stand up for the sanctity of life.  His vote turned out to be decisive for moving the health care legislation forward in the Senate, and it looked as though he would hold out for something like the Stupak amendment to the Senate . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: When Heroes Wore Khakis

From First Thoughts

Whoa, wait a minute Joe . I think there’s a lot more going on in the Dockers ad that marketers trying to bring back trouser creases. I read this ad as a body blow to Baby-Boomer culture—casual Fridays, sloppily dressed professionals, sixty-year olds with sagging guts in blue jeans. And . . . . Continue Reading »

Stephen Toulmin, 1922-2009

From First Thoughts

Stephen Toulmin died earlier this month . He was a leader of the generation that come of age after World War II and made its way out of the wilderness of logical positivism. An enemy of arid rationalism and the foolish belief in the omni-competence of science, his work did a great deal to revive in . . . . Continue Reading »