The woke revolution can seem unstoppable. I have friends who must self-censor in their workplaces, taking care not to run afoul of the inclusion agenda that excludes anyone expressing the slightest dissent, and the diversity agenda that requires everyone to parrot the same slogans.
The soft totalitarianism is real. But it does not govern our conversations at First Things. We’re a community in which saying “mankind” is not a hate crime. Please take consolation—and encouragement—from our shared freedom.
Take encouragement as well from our continued growth. As I write this, 937 readers have given $928,319, exceeding our $800,000 campaign goal by a healthy margin even as gifts continue to reach our mailbox.
Your financial support is a vote of confidence in what we’re doing online and in the magazine. But it’s more than that. The inflow of donations shows that lots of people are willing to take a position, to stand up and be counted.
And know that our community is not small. We saw a significant uptick in subscriptions in 2021, reaching more than 30,000 by year's end. Millions visit firstthings.com each year. Our ROFTERs groups, public lectures, and intellectual retreats promote face-to-face engagement.
Some think that coalitions are built on shared antipathies and common enemies. Perhaps that is true in the realm of politics. The old conservative coalition was an unlikely combination of social conservatives who wrote Gothic tales, free market economists who often dabbled in libertarian philosophy, and main street denizens eager to sustain the virtues of self-governance. Anti-communism kept them together.
But First Things is not a political enterprise. Our community is first and foremost religious. Aristotle recognized that true friendship arises among those who share a common view of our highest good. This does not require agreement on every jot and tittle of theology, philosophy, or politics. I can report that First Things readers are more than willing to argue. But we agree that our humanity is elevated and more fully realized in and through our faith in God.
We are united in shared affirmations, not shared antipathies. Yes, First Things enters the fray. I very much hope that readers find in our pages astute critiques and persuasive proposals for the practical affairs of our nations. But my greater hope is that in the coming year, as in years past, you will find nourishment and enjoyment.
Thank you for your firm and generous support.
R. R. Reno is editor of First Things.
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