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First Things

The First Things School of History: Culture Wars to 2013

Over at First Things, editor-in-chief R.R. Reno (right) attempts to take stock of American Catholic conservatism (or orthodoxy) from the beginning of the Culture Wars to the Summer of 2013 and beyond. I found the piece more fascinating for its view of recent American history than its future speculations. Most prominently, I was struck by Reno’s acknowledgment of the importance of “second things” (my term) like context, change over time, contingency, complexity, etc.—historical thinking, in a word—even while exhibiting clear weaknesses in that latter category of thought. Here are some excerpts from, and my critical replies on, the “First Things Read more