Jonathan Charles Rauch (//; born April 26, 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona) is an American author, journalist and activist. After graduating from Yale University, Rauch worked at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, for the National Journal magazine, and later for The Economist magazine and as a freelance writer. He is currently a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a contributing editor of The Atlantic.
He is the author of six books and many articles on public policy, culture, and economics. His books include Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (2004); Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working (2000); and Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (1993; revised second edition in 2013). In 2015, he published a short ebook, Political Realism, laying out tenets of what he called "political realism," the idea that overzealous efforts to clean up politics have hampered the ability of political parties and professionals to order politics and build governing coalitions.
Writings and beliefs
A critic of U.S. government public policy in general, and specifically in its relation to homosexuals, Rauch has pursued gay-related topics as an openly gay author since 1991 when he spoke out against hate crime laws in The New Republic. He is an avid proponent of same-sex marriage, which he believes will improve the quality of life of both LGBT people and married heterosexuals. He co-authored an op-ed article in The New York Times that proposed the compromise of nationally recognised civil unions for gay couples, which he did with the goal of "reconciliation" with religious opponents of same-sex marriage.
Rauch is also well known for an article he wrote in The Atlantic in March 2003, entitled "Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group". In this article, Rauch described his own experiences as an introvert, and how being an introvert has affected his own life. For many introverts, his piece became a long sought after explanation of their own personality traits. For a period of years, Rauch's original article drew more traffic to The Atlantic Monthly site than any other article.
In terms of political philosophy, Rauch has referred to himself as "an admirer of James Madison and Edmund Burke" and a "radical incrementalist," meaning one who favors "revolutionary change on a geological time scale." He has also summarized Burke's views, and his views, in that "utopianism and perfectionism, however well intended, should never displace reasonable caution in making social policy... It's much easier to damage society... than to repair it."
He has in the past described himself as "an unrepentantly atheistic Jewish homosexual". He defines his view as apatheism, in which he respects other people's choices of religiosity or absence of religion without making a big deal of them. He contrasts this with American atheists who seek to evangelize and convert people away from religion, actions that he is critical of.
In political science and economics, Rauch is known for coining and promoting the term "demosclerosis" as "government's progressive loss of the ability to adapt"—a process in which specific benefits, going to special interests, bill the common taxpayer, which uses the medical term sclerosis to apply to government drift.
- The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan (1992)
- Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (1993)
- Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government (1994)
- Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy (contributor, edited by Bruce Bawer) (1996)
- American Finance for the 21st Century (with Robert E. Litan) (1998)
- Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working (1999)
- Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (2003)
- Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul (2013), e-Book
- Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (Expanded Edition, 2014)
- Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy (2015)
- Contemporary Authors Online, s.v. "Jonathan Rauch" (accessed April 3, 2008).
- Jonathan Rauch. "Jonathan Rauch | Brookings Institution". Brookings.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America: Jonathan Rauch: 9780805076332: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Rauch, Jon (2008-08-01). Government's End. PublicAffairs.
- Rauch, Jonathan; Will, George F. (2014-01-23). Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition (Enlarged ed.). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226145938.
- Rauch, Jonathan (2015). Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy. Brookings Institution.
- Rauch, Jonathan (2005). Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good For Gays, Good For Straights, And Good For America. Owl Books. p. 3. ISBN 0-8050-7815-0. OCLC 57666009.
- David Blankenhorn; Jonathan Rauch (February 21, 2009). "A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- Wehner, Peter H. (August 11, 2010). "A Rauchian Take". Commentary. Retrieved August 11, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Rauch, Jonathan (March 2003). "Caring for Your Introvert". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- Stossel, Sage (February 14, 2006). "Introverts of the World, Unite!". The Atlantic.
- "The Radical Incrementalist". Reason.com. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Rauch, Jonathan (August 10, 2010). "The radical gay rights ruling: Leading supporter of same-sex marriage challenges Prop. 8 decision". Daily News. New York.
- Let it be, The Atlantic, "I have Christian friends who organize their lives around an intense and personal relationship with God, but who betray no sign of caring that I am an unrepentantly atheistic Jewish homosexual."
- Rauch, Jonathan. "How to Be an Apatheist". Beliefnet.com. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- Medved, Michael. "« Demosclerosis, by Jonathan Rauch Commentary Magazine". Commentarymagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- JonathanRauch.com His own web site, including archived articles.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Articles by Jonathan Rauch at Prospect Magazine
- Video of debate between Rauch and David Blankenhorn on the issue of gay marriage on Bloggingheads.tv
- Poynter.org "New York Times correction: Hell is not other people at breakfast". Craig Silverman. (March 28, 2012)
- Roberts, Russ (September 1, 2008). "Rauch on the Volt, Risk, and Corporate Culture". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty.