Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Patrick Deneen is David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous “On the Square” articles can be found here.

RSS Feed

Replace the Elite

From the March 2020 Print Edition

Michael Lind’s The New Class War is sure to be one of the most important political books of the new decade. Like many recent publications, The New Class War explains the rise of populism and the decline of liberalism across the West. But it succeeds where others fail. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Corporate Progressivism

From the November 2018 Print Edition

From Tolerance to Equality:  How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage by darel e. paul baylor, 256 pages, $39.95 In 2013, the Supreme Court reversed a determination by the Internal Revenue Service that $363,053 in inheritance taxes were owed on an estate of $4.1 million. One side of the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Ignoble Lie

From the April 2018 Print Edition

During one of the more infamous moments in Plato’s Republic, Socrates suggests that the ideal city needs a founding myth—what he calls “a noble lie”—to ensure its success. The myth has two parts. The first relates that every person in the city comes from the same mother, and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Power Elite

From the June/July 2015 Print Edition

As the dust from the recent explosion over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act begins to settle, one thing is clear: Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won. Republican leaders initially ­supported the legislation for what was likely a combination of strategic . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Great Books

From the January 2013 Print Edition

For many years, traditionalist thinkers have promoted the teaching of a set of core texts—the “great books”—as a vital element of a liberal arts education during a time when demands for multiculturalism led to the dismantling of a number of traditional programs of study. In more . . . . Continue Reading »

It’s a Destructive Life

From Web Exclusives

Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life portrays the decent life of a small-town American, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), an everyman who saves his community from an evil Scrooge—Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore)—and who only comes to realize his accomplishments by witnessing what terrors might have occurred had he never lived. George Bailey represents all that is good and decent about America: a family man beloved by his community for his kindness and generosity… . Continue Reading »

President Obama’s Campaign for Leviathan

From Web Exclusives

Based on a report in yesterday’s Bloomberg, the decision by the Obama Administration to require many religious institutions to provide contraception through existing health care plans is bearing electoral fruit: President Obama leads Mitt Romney among women by a remarkable 18-point margin. Though the HHS mandate represents an expansion of government power into the heart of many religious institutions, efforts to resist this expansion were portrayed by HHS Secretary Sebelius as a “war against women,” … Continue Reading »

“Forward” Into a Sterile Future

From Web Exclusives

Stumping in Iowa on May 24, President Obama declared, “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away affordable birth control. We don’t need that. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same economic opportunities as my sons. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going back there.” … Continue Reading »