In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 14, 2009 / 18 Teves 5769

A life in and beyond politics

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1937, when Whittaker Chambers left the party that had been his life — his robot existence — for so long, he told his wife and partner, Esther, "You know, we are leaving the winning world for the losing world."

Yet he felt an almost unutterable elation, like that of a man who with his last gasp somehow breaks free of the watery depths and emerges to breathe free again. The same impulse that leads some men to join a parade, or even head it, will lead them at some point to go their own way, no matter what, and take the road less traveled. Or even see the futility of all parades.

Such men are given a kind of double vision, for they are now able to see not just what led them to break with their old comrades, but the fault lines that separate them from their new ones. Such a man was Richard John Neuhaus, and his own journey through ideas would give almost everything he would write an uncommon interest and authority. Another word for it is wisdom.

The young Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, minister of the social gospel, had been a rising star of the liberal firmament, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. There was no conventional liberal piety of the time, sound or flawed, that he did not embody. But soon enough he would begin drifting away from the winning side, or what appeared to be at the time.

Why did he switch? Maybe it was the appearance of a whole new system of racial and ethnic discrimination called Affirmative Action. Behind all its euphemisms, he realized, it was just a mirror image of the racial discrimination he had once marched against. Or maybe what turned him was Roe v. Wade, which was delivered in 1973 like a seductive overture to the coming culture of death. Maybe it was just the whole mounting edifice of Babel erected to cover a host of no longer morally sustainable positions. Maybe it was a loss of faith — in social panaceas. Or just the American left's continuing offenses against both logic and language. For he preferred plain words — first things. And questions gnawed at him.

So he left the liberal ranks. But he remained the public intellectual he was fated to be. In 1984, his critique of the attempt to banish religious ideas from public discourse — indeed, from public view — was published. "The Naked Public Square" would become one of the more influential books of the time.

That same year, the Rev. Neuhaus found a home — started one, actually — called the Center for Religion and Society as part of the Rockford Institute, a once respected think tank. But his double vision persisted, and he could see where the organization's publication, Chronicles, was headed even then in its rightward drift over the ideological falls into the dark waters below. He was preparing to leave when he — and his whole staff — were unceremoniously thrown out. To their great jubilation.

So it came to pass that in 1990, he would start his own magazine, with his own bright young group of acolytes and wry older contributors just as dissatisfied with the same thin gruel of perfectly sanitized, anesthetized, secularized ideas. Naturally it would be called First Things. His own indispensable back-of-the-book section, "The Public Square," a monthly collection of and reflection on of the follies and insights of contemporary thought and the absence of same, would became indispensable reading.

Inevitably he would go from Lutheran minister to Catholic priest ordained by John Cardinal O'Connor in 1991. For him it was a natural development, a return to roots. Eventually he would become a public face of the church and compiler of a pope's ideas on a subject dear — indeed, essential — to him: reverence for life. But his major contribution to American intellectual life remains his small magazine with no small ideas, whose vision far exceeds its circulation. His death at 72 is a grievous blow, for the ideas and items in his monthly column of snippets had a way of percolating through the rest of American conservative thought. In a kind of church-and-state division, First Things would become the spiritual version of William F. Buckley's National Review. What a strange political arc he followed: What other leading American intellectual would be a Gene McCarthy delegate to the riotous Democratic Convention in 1968 and, 40 years later in 2008, an adviser to George W. Bush?

A friend was saying the other day that what American conservatism needs is another Buckley. Now it will need another Neuhaus, too. Yet both leave behind new voices. One thinks of Joseph Bottom, who took over as editor of First Things as the Rev. Neuhaus grew frail only physically. Richard John Neuhaus' influence and saving instinct, particularly for criticizing any kind of crowd mentality, even the one that celebrated him, remains strong, waiting to be strengthened again.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.