Dr. R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, joins us today to discuss the thesis of his timely new book, Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. An interview we though would last for 20 minutes turned into a conversation that went the full hour and we invited Dr. Reno back on the show to continue it. It is truly one of the best hours we have had on the show.
I’ve been reading everything Dr. Reno writes at First Things with increasing appreciation. He is a deep thinker with a unique perspective on the challenges facing American society. His critique is that of a conservative and a Christian, but not the one you would expect. It hearkens back to an older ethos and is at once more American and more Christian than standard-fare Religious Rightism. And for that, we can all be thankful.
“I’m not a prophet, but I sense that we’re leaving behind the democratic era and heading toward a meritocratic one. A meritocracy justifies the wealth and power of its elite on the grounds of their competence and achievements rather than on popular assent.” And in that one sentence he sums up the freedom agenda of both Left and Right run amok. It is the Progressive agenda, replete with its historicist imperatives and managerial elite, aided and abetted by the unthinking Social Darwinist impulses of the post-Reagan Right. He continues, “When a culture of freedom becomes a cult of freedom, injustice, suffering, and social dysfunction get explained away as ‘choices.'”
Lest you think Reno is opening the door to bigger government and more spending programs and social experimentation, he writes, “We also need to recover solidarity, limited government, and a sense of the transcendent. These are natural goods that one finds in many cultures. Christian societies do not have a monopoly on them. But ours has been Christian history, and it is by a renewal of Christian influence that we are most likely to restore these humanizing qualities to our society.”
With that as an appetizer, you can hear the whole discussion with Dr. Reno below.
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