Jonathan Rauch is one of the country’s most versatile and original writers on government, public policy, and gay marriage, among other subjects. A senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington and contributing writer of The Atlantic, he is the author of eight 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:
How to fight back against trolling, disinformation, canceling, and other cutting-edge propaganda tactics that seek to unmoor our country from reality—the subject of his 2021 book The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth
Freedom of speech and why it’s especially important to LGBT people and other minorities, the subject of his classic book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought
Why midlife malaise hits so many people — and chimps! — and how we can all do more to help, the subject of his 2018 book The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50
Why America’s politics and government are in such trouble, the subject of his bestselling Atlantic cover article “How American Politics Went Insane” and his seminal book Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working
Gay and lesbian rights, the struggle for marriage equality, and the growing debate about religious liberty, the subject of many articles and his 2004 book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America
Jonathan is also the author of a memoir, Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul, and books on Japan and financial-system reform. 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, including NBC’s Meet the Press and NPR’s NewsHour.
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 in a direct, personal way. His keynote speech 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)
Staying Real: The War on Truth—and How to Win IT
50min keynote + up to 40min Q&A Trolls. Disinformation. Canceling. Conspiracy theories. If America's grasp on reality seems to be under attack, that's because it is. Epistemic warfare—the use of powerful psychological manipulations to divide, distract, and disorient our society—has come into its own in the 21st century as never before. In this dramatically illustrated talk, the author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth explains the goals and tactics of the war on truth. He shows who's behind it and how it works. Most important, he reveals the inner workings and hidden strengths of our precious Constitution of Knowledge—and how to capitalize on them to fight back.
HOW AMERICAN POLITICS WENT INSANE
Lots of Americans think politics has become a circus and our government has broken down. What they don't realize is that well-intentioned efforts to clean up politics are a major cause of the problem. In this sweeping, boldly revisionist talk, Jonathan Rauch — author of the breakthrough book Political Realism and the bestselling Atlantic magazine cover article "How American Politics Went Insane" — ranges from Tammany Hall to the halls of today's Congress to explain how we threw the baby out with the bathwater, and how to get the baby back by re-empowering politicians to do the hard work of politics.
WHY FREE SPEECH IS THE ONLY SAFE SPACE FOR MINORITIES
Hate speech is vile. But protecting hate speech empowers minorities, and censoring or suppressing it ultimately victimizes them. A lifelong gay-rights advocate and author of the classic book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Jonathan Rauch draws upon his own story and the life of legendary civil-rights leader Frank Kameny to explain why freedom of speech is minorities' best friend, and why efforts to eliminate hate speech so often backfire. Along the way, he tells an unforgettable tale about the power of marginalized voices and LGBT Americans' transformative struggle for equality.
THE HAPPINESS U-CURVE: WHY LIFE TURNS AROUND IN MIDDLE AGE, AND HOW TO SURVIVE THE TRANSITION
Midlife crisis, like the Seinfeld show, is often literally about nothing. Yet it seems unshakable for those experiencing it. Society treats it as a joke or a cliché, yet it is natural, normal, and lays groundwork for surprising happiness and wisdom in late adulthood. Drawing on cutting-edge psychology, neuroscience, and even economics, while also tapping his own experiences and those of dozens of interviewees, Jonathan Rauch — author of the major Atlantic magazine cover article "The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis" and a major new book on happiness and age — explains why even chimps get midlife malaise, and how humans can cope with it far better than we do.
Jonathan Rauch on The Happiness Curve – Courtesy PBS NewsHour
Jonathan was, in a word, terrific. I can't tell you how many comments I have received overnight from students and faculty who stressed how important the discussion was, how lucid Jonathan's presentation was and, not least, how gracious and warm he was to everybody he met. How great it was for students especially to see the combination of a tough-minded thinker and warm-hearted person modeling what free inquiry and intellectual generosity mean. My students are demanding that I assign his book again in the spring term, and want to know when he will return.
Daniel Cullen, Professor of Political Science, Rhodes College