R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.
What does it mean to be an intellectual? The word comes from the Latin word for understanding, intellego. Lego has dense, multifaceted meanings: to choose, select, collect, and gather. It also means to read. When inter gets added, which means “between,” we get a compound meaning, something like . . . . Continue Reading »
Between the World and Me has been received with great fanfare. It won the National Book Award in nonfiction for 2015, and its author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was recently awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Our liberal establishment is aflutter, hailing Coates as his generation’s spokesman for . . . . Continue Reading »
♦ It came in the context of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s refusal to throw his weight behind the push to OK gay-married clergy in the Church of England. Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn Percy isn’t happy. He makes the usual claim that history has spoken. “A theologically . . . . Continue Reading »
The Republican establishment has swung into DEFCON I, maximum force alert. Last month I contributed to a widely publicized symposium at National Review. Our hope was to stop his rise. The liberal establishment is, if anything, even more agitated. Trump transgresses the rules of political engagement, to say nothing of political correctness. A stream-of-consciousness, reality TV show insult machine leads the race for the Republican Party nomination. How did we come to this point?
Rod Dreher recently posted excerpts of a letter from one of his readers. It was an extended, largely negative assessment of my analysis of our political moment, “An Abandoned White Middle Class.” There I argued that the changing nature of our leadership class explains the populist rebellion, at . . . . Continue Reading »
Is First Things promoting its own form of identity politics? A friend wrote recently, wondering exactly that. In my writing about our populist moment, I’ve emphasized the role of middle class whites. The relative success of Trump and Sanders shows that they’re rebelling against both left-leaning . . . . Continue Reading »
You can always count on establishment liberals. On cue, the New York Times editors today commented on the Iowa caucus, speaking of Marco Rubio as trying “to put a younger and more charming face on the basic Republican message of anger, xenophobia, fear and hate.” The implication, of course, is . . . . Continue Reading »
♦ Katholisch.de is the website for the Catholic Church in Germany. In late November, it featured an ill-considered posting by Björn Odendahl that was critical of Pope Francis. I’m not shy about criticism, but when taking Francis to task for highlighting the achievements of the non-Western . . . . Continue Reading »
T he rise of populism in Europe—and here in the United States by way of Donald Trump—is a rebellion against postmodern weightlessness. Political commentators are right to point out voter concerns about immigration, economic distress caused by globalization, and the technocratic establishment . . . . Continue Reading »
What was Cathleen Kaveny smoking? Her recent column in Commonweal attacks First Things founder Richard John Neuhaus for “sowing division” among Catholics and reducing theological commitments to “mere instruments of political will.”I’m not interested in defending Neuhaus against the charge . . . . Continue Reading »