Jonathan Rauch

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For the baseball pitcher, see Jon Rauch. For the football coach, see John Rauch.

Jonathan Charles Rauch (born April 26, 1960 in Phoenix, Arizona)[1] 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 has in the past described himself as "an unrepentantly atheistic Jewish homosexual".[2]

Rauch is currently a contributing editor of National Journal and The Atlantic. He is the author of several books and many articles on public policy, culture, and economics.[3] He is also a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in Governance Studies and a vice president of the Independent Gay Forum.[3] Rauch is also the author of five books, including Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America (2004).[4]

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 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.[5] 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.[6]

Peter H. 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."[7]

Rauch is also well known for an article he wrote in The Atlantic Monthly in March 2003, entitled "Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group".[8] 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. Rauch's original article has drawn more traffic to The Atlantic Monthly site than any other article.[9]

In terms of political philosophy, Rauch has referred to himself as "an admirer of James Madison and Edmund Burke". 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."[10]

Rauch used to consider himself an atheist, but he has said that "it has been years since I really cared one way or another." He defines his view as apatheism, in which he respects other people's choices of religiosity or absence of religion. He contrasts this with American atheists who seek to evangelize and convert people away from religion, actions that he is critical of.[11]

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.[12]


  • 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)


  1. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, s.v. "Jonathan Rauch" (accessed April 3, 2008).
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Rauch. "Jonathan Rauch | Brookings Institution". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  4. ^ "Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America: Jonathan Rauch: 9780805076332: Books". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ David Blankenhorn; Jonathan Rauch (February 21, 2009). "A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2009. 
  7. ^ Wehner, Peter H. (August 11, 2010). "A Rauchian Take". Commentary. Retrieved August 11, 2010. 
  8. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (March 2003). "Caring for Your Introvert". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  9. ^ Stossel, Sage (February 14, 2006). "Introverts of the World, Unite!". The Atlantic. 
  10. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (August 10, 2010). "The radical gay rights ruling: Leading supporter of same-sex marriage challenges Prop. 8 decision". Daily News. New York. 
  11. ^ Rauch, Jonathan. "How to Be an Apatheist". Retrieved August 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ Medved, Michael. "« Demosclerosis, by Jonathan Rauch Commentary Magazine". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 

External links[edit]