R. R. Reno

R. R. Reno

R. R. Reno is the editor of First Things. He is the author of Return of the Strong Gods.

A Self-Isolating Elite Share This

Nov 05, 2020

As counting continues and lawyers gear up for courtroom battles, Election Day now looks to become Election Week, and maybe even Election Month. But while we do not yet know who will be president, November 3 allows us to see certain political realities more clearly. One notable reality: the ongoing ignorance of our leadership class. […]

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Notes Toward a Supreme Oligarchy Share This

Oct 28, 2020

Most of us are fixed on November 3. This is understandable. Elections are important, and this one seems more important than most. But I live in New York City. As I walk to work each day, my mind does not dwell on Trump or Biden. I go past closed hotels and empty office buildings. At […]

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Seven Deadly Political Sins Share This

Oct 18, 2020

Self-examination is a useful exercise. I’m grateful to Henry Olsen, Micah Meadowcroft, Josh Hammer, and Michael Lind (in a cognate posting) for their reflection on the sins of the American right. I’d like to add my voice to this collective mea culpa. As a sometime theology professor, I’ll key my observations to the classical list […]

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From Freedom to Solidarity on the American Right Share This

Sep 29, 2020

Campaign books are not written for the ages. But they can be telltales. A New Catholic Moment: Donald Trump and the Politics of the Common Good is a good example. It indicates a shift away from freedom as the leading motif on the American right and toward solidarity. The book was put together by CatholicVote.org, […]

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The Limits of Principle Share This

Sep 23, 2020

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s death roiled an already unsettled the political scene. A pitched battle is underway over who will succeed her and when. David French urges Republicans to stand on principle. He sketches a way forward that has Trump nominating a replacement before the election. The Senate will then hold hearing but refrain from […]

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Giganticism After COVID Share This

Aug 21, 2020

In March, I could see that our social response to the coronavirus would be more consequential than the virus itself. Natural disasters can do great damage, but they do not usually change societies. By contrast, mass mobilizations for wars in the modern era have been deeply consequential. The lockdowns and country-wide quarantines have been exercises […]

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American Nihilism Share This

Aug 13, 2020

Over the last two months protests and Twitter mobs have called for the cancellation of a great deal of America’s heritage, and in many instances civic leaders have cooperated. Daniel Mahoney describes it as a reckless and nihilistic “assault on the nation’s cultural and political patrimony.” Mahoney is not the only person of deep learning […]

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Law and Order in 2020 Share This

Jul 30, 2020

In the 1972 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon’s leading theme was “law and order.” Traumatized by urban riots, student protests, and the first wave of what would be a historic increase in crime, voters handed him a historic victory. Nixon won 49 states and 60 percent of the popular vote. In early June, not a few […]

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The Shy Trump Voter Share This

Jul 27, 2020

A new poll of Michigan voters by Robert Calahy’s Trafalgar Group indicates a tight race. What explains the other polls that show Biden ahead by a wide margin? Calahy points to “social desirability bias.” Put simply, people don’t want to admit to socially stigmatized views, and thus won’t admit they are willing to vote for […]

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The Homeless Society Share This

Jun 30, 2020

Analysts and commentators talk about today’s “precariate.” The term plays on the Marxist notion of the proletariat, recasting it to describe gig workers, college grads whose income is swallowed by student loan debt, and wage-earners who can’t stay ahead of heath costs, childcare costs, car repair bills, and credit card debt. The term is useful. […]

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Dignity Inequality Share This

Jun 16, 2020

A great deal of ink has been spilt over the issue of income inequality. This is not an undue concern. As Alexis de Tocqueville observed nearly two hundred years ago, the democratic spirit aspires to an equality of condition. But income should not be our only concern. A healthy society should also encourage an equality […]

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Addressing 21st Century Problems, Not 20th Century Problems Share This

May 11, 2020

Re: And Now a Word for Laissez-Faire (Wall Street Journal)

Before we were engulfed by coronavirus panic, Bill McGurn penned a column warning against the perils of American Compass and social engineering (“And Now a Word for Laissez-Faire,” Wall Street Journal, March 7). I found it too Manichean: Either laissez-faire dogmatism or the conceits of social engineering. Bill rightly warns against the hubris of policy […]

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