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The New Class War


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The New Class War

Chilton Williamson Jr. - MARCH 02, 2017





“When a culture of freedom becomes a cult of freedom, injustice, suffering,
and social dysfunction get explained
away as ‘choices.’”

—R.R. Reno


The burden of this important book by the editor of First Things is the need to restore genuine freedom to American society—and, by implication, Western society as a whole.


By my reckoning, a false view of freedom as unimpeded choice and self-definition has led to a deregulation of culture more consequential than market deregulation. This deregulation has benefited the strong and hurt the weak.

Indeed, as R.R. Reno understands America in the 21st century, deregulation is class warfare in contemporary form. Ending that warfare, he argues, is “the most important social justice issue of our time. . . . We also need,” he adds, “to recover solidarity, limited government, and a sense of the transcendent”—natural goods he thinks crucial to the project of rehumanizing American society today.



Readers of First Things will recognize themes previously introduced in the author’s contributions to his magazine, and elsewhere. Mr. Reno begins with a highly original consideration of the relative importance of freedom and equality as Americans understand these terms, and he concludes that Americans have always valued the second of them as a means to realizing the first. Freedom for them has always meant freedom from tyrannical government, but also from the people—the majority—and, more recently, from the peoples: from tribal groupings of classes, races, and religions. “We want a culture of the people, by the people, and for the people, not defined by white European traditions, male preferences, or any other form of group identity.” Scissors-32x32.png

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