Jonathan Rauch is one of the country’s most versatile and original writers on government, public policy, and gay marriage, among other subjects. A guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, he is the author of five books and many articles and has received the magazine industry’s two leading prizes—the National Magazine Award (the industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the National Headliner Award. Major topics of his writing and speeches include:
Same-sex marriage and gay rights, the subject of his 2004 book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America
Elder care and the “grey tsunami,” the subject of his 2010 Atlantic Monthly article, “Letting Go of My Father”
Why government does—and doesn’t—work, the subject of his book Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working
Freedom of speech and thought, the subject of his book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought
“Caring for Your Introvert,” his virally popular Atlantic article on America’s most misunderstood minority
Jonathan is also the author of books, published in the 1990s, on Japan and financial-system reform, and is the author of a recent Kauffman Foundation report on getting more value from the health care system. He has written many articles, on everything from government and public policy to introversion to animal rights, for publications including The Atlantic, National Journal, The New Republic, The Economist, Reason, Harper’s, Fortune, Reader’s Digest, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times newspaper and magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Slate, Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Public Interest, The Advocate, The Daily, and others. He has appeared as a guest on many radio and television shows, most recently (May 31, 2012) on National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More” (on gay marriage and polygamy).
Jon takes pride in being a thoughtful, dynamic, and well prepared speaker, focused on giving sponsors outstanding value for money and communicating important and often counterintuitive ideas to his audiences. His most recent major speech, the keynote address for the American Academy of Home Care Physicians, was rated as “phenomenal” by the sponsor. Other sponsor reactions:
“America is built on the willingness to explore, not ignore, our disagreements about crucially important issues. As a Christian ministry that strongly advocates traditional man/woman marriage, Summit Ministries desires to engage in fruitful dialogue with those who disagree. Jonathan Rauch agreed to meet with our staff, donors and assembled Christian activists to make the case for same-sex marriage. His presentation was clear, compelling, and honest. It helped our group move beyond a ‘agreeing to disagree’ mindset to dig into the key issues, underlying assumptions, and future implications of the civil unions and same-sex marriage debate.” (Jeff Myers, Ph.D., President, Summit Ministries)
"Jonathan Rauch created personal connections with a lecture hall full of students and prompted them to think and consider. I have never had so positive a reaction to a speaker from students, nor so much enjoyed the time I spent as host." (Nathan Griffith, Professor of Political Science, Belmont University)
“Jonathan Rauch served as our American Values guest speaker at NC State University in March 2012. Rauch was a terrific speaker who completely captured the audience weaving politics, history, social science, and personal narrative in a completely captivating way. His talk prompted many further discussions within our campus community throughout the semester. Additionally, he was a model of professionalism and courtesy. It was a great experience having him as our speaker.” (North Carolina State University)
“Jonathan has keynoted three of our annual economic conferences over the past twenty-one years. We’re always impressed by the quality of Jonathan’s presentations, his insight, and delivery. He is always interesting and informative, and holds the crowd’s attention with his cogent analysis of topical events. We look forward to having him back in the future.” (Northern Economic Consulting)
“Jonathan Rauch was a featured speaker on Caregiving at our conference on Alzheimers and Cargiving. He did an excellent job and the audience was fortunate to hear and discuss issues with him.” (Cleveland Clinic/Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health)
“Your talk at our retreat was great, I heard nothing but wonderful comments. Your bravery in sharing and commitment to advocacy for caregivers is inspiring.” (Dr. Steve Landers, VNA Health Group)
The Case for Gay—and Straight—Marriage
Pro-family conservatives are right to worry about the fracturing of marriage. But same-sex marriage is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Jonathan Rauch, the country’s leading exponent of the conservative, pro-family case for gay marriage—and the author of Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America—explains what’s really happening to the American family and how gay marriage can help clarify and strengthen the institution of marriage by reminding us why it really matters.
Governing in the Age of the Tea Party
First the Tea Party, then Occupy Wall Street. Control of Congress flips, then flips again. The parties deadlock as never before. Instability, polarization, and the rise of new populist movements may look like separate phenomena, but they are all linked to some key fundamental changes in the American way of politics. The author of Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working goes behind short-term politics to look at the deeper forces at work, and where we can go from here.
In Defense of Prejudice, or, If You Hate Me, Speak Up: Why Minorities Should Oppose Speech Codes
Across the country, colleges and universities have enacted well-meaning rules intended to protect minorities from harmful speech. But it’s the speech codes themselves that pose the greater threat, to minorities and majorities alike. The openly gay author of the classic book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought explains why the whole idea of stamping out prejudice is misguided, and why minorities especially should reject it as paternalistic and self-defeating.
Caring for Your Introvert: A Guide to the Person You Are Driving Insane
Do you know someone who avoids parties, dodges small talk, and needs hours alone every day? Do you tell this person he or she is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? If you answered yes, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and you are driving him nuts. Why are introverts so fed up and “coming out” in droves? How should extroverts respond? Jonathan Rauch, author of the viral Atlantic Monthly article “Caring for Your Introvert,” explains what you can do about humanity’s most basic personality clash.
Parents, or Patients? Coping with the Gray Tsunami
The aging and dying of the Baby Boom generation puts unprecedented pressure on kids and care givers. Too often, they encounter a society which isolates overstressed caregivers and a medical system which harms the people it intends to help. Drawing on his personal experience (as discussed in his well-received Atlantic Monthly article “Letting Go of My Father”) as well as conversations with cutting-edge doctors and reformers, Jonathan Rauch lays out what we care givers can expect to confront, and what kind of innovations can help.
The Emerging Gay Majority: The New Landscape of Gay (and Straight) Rights
For the first time ever, American is a majority gay-friendly country. It’s now those who disapprove of homosexuality who are out of the mainstream and on the defensive—and who increasingly insist that they, not gays and lesbians, are the oppressed minority and that their religious freedom is under siege. Meanwhile, the gay rights agenda has given way to a gay responsibility agenda. For gay Americans and their straight allies, learning to think and act like a majority poses some surprising new challenges, of which the toughest is choosing to tolerate some intolerance.
[FEB 2017] “We had wonderful reviews from those in attendance. I told Jonathan I thought he was the best speaker we’ve had in the eight years I’ve been with the Club – and I meant it. Thanks so much for everything.” – Laura Edwards, Assistant Director, The Economic Club of Memphis at the University of Memphis
[NOV 2016] "It is easy to cling to speech restrictions by choosing comfort and conformity over offense and diversity. It allows a society to fortify itself from outside perspectives and subjugate those that are different from the norm. However, this strategy ultimately leaves only space for those in the majority while pushing those in the minority to the fringe.
Jonathan Rauch challenged Princeton students to defy that easy path of 'safe' spaces and instead promote free speech of all types on campus.
Citing the importance of free speech in the gay rights movement and for those continually fighting for minority rights today, Rauch urged students to have a “thick skin,” start a dialogue with those they are offended by, and use offensive speech as a way to start a dialog and convince others that the speech was wrong or demeaning. He did not shrink away from the most persuasive arguments against free speech – including the serious harm they can cause to people (examples include the insistence on conversion therapy and increased hate crimes after the election due to campaign rhetoric). Instead, Rauch challenged students to argue against damaging speech, and not fall into the temptation of asking for speech codes, since those can – and have – been used to silence the same minorities that many want to protect today through safe spaces and speech codes. Overall, the event was very engaging, intellectually challenging, and even emotional for those who attended, as everyone discussed important issues of rights, the consequences of speech, and past discrimination." – Sofia Gallo and the Open Campus Coalition, Princeton University
[SEP 2016] “The event went incredibly well, and Jonathan was outstanding on the panel. His arguments are precise and impacting, yet he presents them in a conversational manner. I will highly recommend him to others who organize campus lectures.” – Todd Nesbit, Senior Lecturer for Department of Economics, Ohio State University
[APR 2016] “Jonathan Rauch is one of the leading thinkers of our time and brought it all to fully and deeply engage with our program and our audience. His stature helped us easily fill the room to capacity. Early audience reviews included descriptions like "brilliant," "one of the more courageous commentators out there," and "I don't think I've ever seen such an attentive crowd." If you want to offer up an immersion in cutting-edge thinking before the rest of the world catches on and follows behind - in a presentation that both entertains and challenges - Jon's your guy. That's only if we can't convince him to move to town and join us for everything we ever do.” – Liz Joyner, Executive Director, The Village Square
[APR 2016] “I have hosted 15 world class scholars and public intellectuals as speakers at CSU Chico over my 16 year career as a professor here. Jonathan Rauch’s visit and presentation were among the very best. He was extremely substantive and engaging, using his own life story to explore the controversial topic of the chilling of free speech on American campuses today. No less importantly, no speaker that I have hosted treated our students more generously or respectfully. Jonathan went out of his way to listen to their voice and engage their concerns.” - Alan Gibson, Professor of Political Science, CSU Chico