I’d like to express my dissent from Rod Dreher’s most recent post about Rusty Reno. First Things is one of the most vital magazines in America, with a literary review section that regularly outdoes not just its conservative peers but the New Yorker and the NYRB. I’m proud to publish there.
Some religious magazines target a narrow audience; others strive for broader relevance. Rusty clearly thinks that our current moment calls for a religious magazine that engages vigorously in the debate over what America will look like in the coming century, not just in its churches but socially and politically. The fact that so many people are bothering to attack him is a sign of his success.
On the matter of masks, it may frustrate the right-thinking to hear it, but the idea that masks are more about imposing a symbol of fear and compliance on the wearer than any medical benefit is widely held. I mostly agree with it myself. Certainly the Los Angeles mandate that beachgoers must wear masks outdoors has no scientific basis, and I could not obey it without feeling that I was giving up something of my dignity.
Incidentally, when Rusty tweeted that “the WWII vets did not wear masks,” wasn’t he talking specifically about the seven nonagenarian veterans who attended President Trump’s VE Day ceremony on May 8, and not soldiers in general? Some of those expressing outrage over his point may not have understood it.