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This article is part of our 2023 year-end campaign series, featuring reflections from prominent authors on why First Things matters. To make your year-end campaign gift now, visit

What core American institutions have not been captured in the left’s long march?

This might strike you as a rather pessimistic framing. But if you’re at all familiar with my work, you know that I am laser-focused on exposing how deep the ideological rot in our institutions truly goes. And to be abundantly clear: It goes very, very deep. 

The way forward is simple, if not easy: We need to retake, and we need to rebuild. 

To accomplish this, it’s imperative that we develop and fortify our own set of institutions. Institutions that recognize the depth of our present crisis. Institutions that we can unreservedly trust to hold the line. 

Institutions like First Things

First Things stands as an intellectual bulwark against the left’s long march. As progressivism continues to wage war on the deepest truths of human existence—belief in God, the embodied difference between men and women, the inherent dignity of the human person—First Things delivers sound, bracing arguments in their defense. More than that, First Things presents a compelling, time-tested alternative vision for society that is rooted in these eternal truths. 

Friends, we must not minimize the gravity of this crisis. We must expose and, where warranted, we must ridicule. But we also must not write the battle off as lost. Instead, we must buttress the institutions that will lead this project of retaking and rebuilding. 

Please buttress First Things for this fight by making a year-end gift today.

Christopher F. Rufo is a senior fellow and director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. 

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