In the Bostock v. Clayton County majority opinion, Justice Gorsuch wrote of an individual who “presented as a male.” This showed us for the umpteenth time how deeply we have forgotten the first things—in this case, the truth that sex is grounded in human nature. That so radical an expression of social constructionism should infest a jurist heretofore celebrated as a man of tradition and prudence and common sense proves not only that the elimination of first things is a primary goal of the left in America. It also proves that this goal has penetrated the (supposedly) most principled and reliable sectors of the right.
But not First Things. The editors and contributors to the magazine have no shaky commitments to basic truths. We don't track our opinions by the tides of fashion. We have no interest, either, in securing the approval of our fellows on the left, save for their acknowledgment that we make strong points in elegant language. We don't worry about being shunned by colleagues down the hall or at the dinner party. Cancel culture doesn't influence us. All around we see people in business, academia, media, and politics under ferocious pressure to concede, conform, and comply, and we recognize that many of them are in untenable situations. Even the best-intentioned leaders are compromising.
We don't make those calculations. Which means we need the support of individuals who want an honest assessment of where things stand and why, and what we can do together to heal a divided culture guided by our shared resources of religious faith.
So, we ask once more: Support us, and we will remain true to the mission. Send us your donations and we promise to convert them into forthright statements of faith and family, religious thought and common goods. It is a crazy time, but not without precedents and premises. And emphatically not without hope. Our job is to clarify, to give readers the intellectual equipment to sense the currents flowing beneath the rush of current events. With your help, we shall continue.
Mark Bauerlein is contributing editor of First Things.
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