Jonathan Rauch

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Jonathan Rauch
Jonathan Rauch, 2013 (cropped).jpg
Rauch in 2013
Born (1960-04-26) April 26, 1960 (age 61)
Alma materYale University
OccupationAuthor, journalist, activist

Jonathan Charles Rauch (/r/; born April 26, 1960)[1] is an American author, journalist, and activist. After graduating from Yale University, Rauch worked at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, for National Journal, and later for The Economist 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 books and articles on public policy, culture, and economics.[2] His books include The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 (2018), Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (2004);[3] Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working (2000);[4] and Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (1993; revised second edition in 2013).[5] In 2015, he published a short ebook, Political Realism, arguing that overzealous efforts to clean up politics have hampered the ability of political parties and professionals to order politics and build governing coalitions.[6]

Writings and beliefs[edit]

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 (he did not realize he was gay until after he finished college)[7] 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.[8] He co-authored an op-ed article in The New York Times that proposed the compromise of nationally recognized civil unions for gay couples, which he did with the goal of "reconciliation" with religious opponents of same-sex marriage.[9]

Peter Wehner, conservative writer and director of the Bush-era Office of Strategic Initiatives, has called Rauch "the most formidable and persuasive voice for same-sex marriage."[10]

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".[11] 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.[12]

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."[13] 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."[14]

He has in the past described himself as "an unrepentantly atheistic Jewish homosexual".[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]


  • Rauch, Jonathan (1992). The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan. ISBN 0875843204.
  • Rauch, Jonathan (1993). Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226705765. OCLC 37628564.
  • 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)
  • Rauch, Jonathan (2013). Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul. Madison, North Carolina. ISBN 978-1-949450-01-9. OCLC 1127392669.
  • 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)
  • The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 Midlife (2018; published in the U.K. as The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After Midlife)
  • Rauch, Jonathan & Benjamin Wittes (Mar 2018). "Boycott the GOP". Dispatches. Politics. The Atlantic. pp. 13–16. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  • The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth (2021)


  1. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, s.v. "Jonathan Rauch" (accessed April 3, 2008).
  2. ^ Jonathan Rauch. "Jonathan Rauch | Brookings Institution". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  3. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (2004-04-07). Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America: Jonathan Rauch: 9780805076332: Books. ISBN 0805076336.
  4. ^ Rauch, Jon (2008-08-01). Government's End. PublicAffairs.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (2015). Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy. Brookings Institution.
  7. ^ Aaron, Jane. The Compact Reader. Macmillan Education. p. 63.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ David Blankenhorn; Jonathan Rauch (February 21, 2009). "A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
  10. ^ Wehner, Peter (2010-08-11). "A Rauchian Take". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  11. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (March 2003). "Caring for Your Introvert". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  12. ^ Stossel, Sage (February 14, 2006). "Introverts of the World, Unite!". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ "The Radical Incrementalist". 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  14. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (August 10, 2010). "The radical gay rights ruling: Leading supporter of same-sex marriage challenges Prop. 8 decision". Daily News. New York.
  15. ^ 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."
  16. ^ Rauch, Jonathan. "How to Be an Apatheist". Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  17. ^ Medved, Michael (October 1994). "Demosclerosis, by Jonathan Rauch". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-27.

External links[edit]