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Matthew Schmitz is senior editor of First Things. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. He holds an A.B. in English from Princeton University. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Anti-Romantic

From the October 2020 Print Edition

What Éric Rohmer said of one of his characters could be said of him as well: He was committed to “redoing all of ­Rousseau in reverse.” His films are anti-­romantic. They reject romantic notions of liberation and autonomy. They critique the cult of romantic love. They warn against a romantic . . . . Continue Reading »

Cheever's God

From the Aug/Sept 2020 Print Edition

Readers of John Cheever’s stories, most of which appeared in the New Yorker before being collected in a Pulitzer-winning book in 1978, regarded the author as “the Ovid of ­Ossining,” the artist who showed the riches and wonders of suburban life. Alert to the transcendent in the . . . . Continue Reading »

An Informal Establishment

From the May 2020 Print Edition

Unlike most other ­supporters of same-sex marriage, Douglas ­Laycock has spoken out in defense of Americans compelled to bake cakes or arrange flowers for same-sex weddings. This is cause to admire him, and to doubt his arguments. For he presents his own view of religious freedom as uncomplicated . . . . Continue Reading »

Confucian Integralism

From the May 2020 Print Edition

In May 1989, protestors in Tiananmen Square erected a plaster statue of the Goddess Democracy. For almost a week, it faced off against the giant portrait of Chairman Mao that hangs from the Gate of Heavenly Peace. The juxtaposition seemed to sum up the choice facing China: communist rule or liberal . . . . Continue Reading »

Limits of Religious Freedom

From the March 2020 Print Edition

In the face of determined assaults on religion, conservative activists and intellectuals have offered increasingly strident defenses of religious freedom. This “first freedom” is presented as an inviolable principle, an absolute “right to be wrong.” Such rhetoric oversells religious freedom . . . . Continue Reading »