The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
Yuval Levin
An acclaimed portrait of Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the… Read more
The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America
Oren Cass
The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for… Read more
Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations
Amy Chua
The bestselling author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Yale… Read more
The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
Douglas Murray
A controversial and devastatingly honest depiction of the demise of… Read more
Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution
Tucker Carlson
The popular FOX News star of Tucker Carlson Tonight offers his signature… Read more

More Books »

Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West (2019)

R.R. Reno

After the staggering slaughter of back-to-back world wars, the West embraced the ideal of the “open society.” The promise: By liberating ourselves from the old attachments to nation, clan, and religion that had fueled centuries of violence, we could build a prosperous world without borders, freed from dogmas and managed by experts.

But the populism and nationalism that are upending politics in America and Europe are a sign that after three generations, the postwar consensus is breaking down. With compelling insight, R. R. Reno argues that we are witnessing the return of the “strong gods”—the powerful loyalties that bind men to their homeland and to one another.

Reacting to the calamitous first half of the twentieth century, our political, cultural, and financial elites promoted open borders, open markets, and open minds. But this never-ending project of openness has hardened into a set of anti-dogmatic dogmas which destroy the social solidarity rooted in family, faith, and nation. While they worry about the return of fascism, our societies are dissolving.

But man will not tolerate social dissolution indefinitely. He longs to be part of a “we”—the fruit of shared loves—which gives his life meaning. The strong gods will return, Reno warns, in one form or another. Our task is to attend to those that, appealing to our reason as well as our hearts, inspire the best of our traditions. Otherwise, we shall invite the darker gods whose return our open society was intended to forestall.

Purchase the Book