Rauch, Jonathan 1960–
Rauch, Jonathan 1960–
(Jonathan Charles Rauch)
PERSONAL: Born April 26, 1960, in Phoenix, AZ; son of Oscar (a lawyer) and Berna Rauch. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1982. Politics: Independent. Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Office—The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036. Agent—Raphael Sagalyn, The Sagalyn Agency, 7201 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 675, Bethesda, MD 20814. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem, NC, education reporter, 1983–84; National Journal, Washington, DC, budget and fiscal policy cor-respondent, 1984–87, economic policy correspondent, 1987–89, contributing editor, then senior writer and columnist ("Social Studies"), 1991–; Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, writer and scholar, 1998–. American Enterprise Institute, visiting fellow, 1989–90; Economist, London, England, visiting writer, 1995. Television appearances on Cable News Network (CNN), CNBC, Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), and Financial News Network.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Merit Scholarship, 1978; Japan Society Leadership Fellow, 1988; Premio Napoli alla Stampa Estera, 1996, for coverage of European Parliament in the Economist; National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary, 2005.
The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan, photographs by Joel Sackett, foreword by James Fallows, Harvard Business School Press (Boston, MA), 1992.
Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.
Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government, Times Books (New York, NY), 1994, revised edition, Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working, Public Affairs (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Robert E. Litan) American Finance for the 21st Century, Department of the Treasury (Washington, DC), 1997.
Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, Times Books/Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post Book World; work included in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Jonathan Rauch is known for his writings on politics and contemporary issues. In his first book, The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan, he provides—in a series of vignettes—an account of Japanese culture as he experienced it during his six months in Japan in 1988. Unlike many observers, Rauch finds substantial similarities between Japan and the United States, and he argues that the nations are especially alike in exerting considerable international influence.
Upon publication in 1992, The Outnation was received as a refreshing perspective on contemporary Japan. Fortune reviewer Alex Taylor III described the book as "informative and witty," and he declared that the various anecdotes are all "sharply and elegantly written." Another reviewer, Takashi Oka, wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that The Outnation should be read "for sheer enjoyment," and he hailed Rauch as an "acute critic."
Rauch followed The Outnation with Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, wherein he decries what he sees as conservative attacks on free speech. The New York Times's Michiko Kakutani noted that in Kindly Inquisitors Rauch endeavors to "situate recent developments in a long-range historical perspective and to defend the system of free intellectual inquiry as a socially productive method of channeling prejudice." Kakutani described Kindly Inquisitors as "fiercely argued."
Rauch's third book, Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government, describes a slow-acting syndrome that Rauch argues is damaging the U.S. economy and ravaging government's effectiveness. Rauch stresses that, contrary to popular wisdom, neither "gridlock" nor partisanship is the problem. Instead, he says, the electorate is organizing itself into a proliferating network of lobbies which, once formed, burrow into the economy and stifle the government's ability to adapt to change. "Jonathan Rauch has performed a necessary task," wrote Jonathan Dorfman in the Washington Post Book World. "With pith and vigor, he has written an incisive analysis of what ails our political culture, a dark critique of Washington which makes the Madisonian virtues of interest-group democracy seem like an antique charm of a bygone era." In the Washington Monthly, Phillip Longman called the book "important," adding that "Rauch's warning about the evils of hyperpluralism deserves a wide audience."
Rauch turned to government inefficiency in Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working. This time, the author delineates why he thinks government is ineffective and clogged with an overabundance of programs developed over the decades. More importantly to the author, the government seems unable to develop sound and rational reform programs because both old and new programs benefit certain groups and are thus kept functioning instead of being scraped, thus eliminating government's ability to work smart with a trial-and-error approach. Once again, the author refers to "demosclerosis," the term he coined in the book of the same title, to reflect these conditions. "Government's End is indeed an excellent lesson in public-choice economics, history, and civics," wrote Philip Murray in Ideas on Liberty. Washington Monthly contributor James Bennet commented that Rauch clearly describes the effects of interest groups on government, noting: "This is all well told in Government's End. Rauch profoundly understands the lobbying culture."
Rauch takes on a highly debated religious, social, and political issue in his book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. In his case for legalizing gay marriage, Rauch cautions against haste but nevertheless outlines the many benefits as he sees them. For example, he argues that it will not only improve the well-being of gay people, it also will strengthen communities and marriage itself. He also notes such issues as broadening the institution of marriage to include young gays who want to participate fully in society. "This respectful, hopeful book is persuasive literature at its best," wrote Ray Olson in Booklist. Vincent Phillip Munoz, writing in the American Enterprise, noted: "The book's great virtue is its straightforwardness."
Rauch told CA: "I guess I'm basically an all-purpose writer, with overtones of what they call in Japan a 'public intellectual.' I've done everything from a lyrical account of Japan to writing on agriculture programs, a cockfighting bust, music, and the philosophy of science. Since I'm intellectually restless and have more opinions than a person probably ought to, I'll consider myself a success if I can write clearly and freshly in a variety of fields."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Enterprise, September, 2004, Vincent Phillip Munoz, review of Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, p. 54.
American Prospect, May, 2005, Ann Crittenden, review of Gay Marriage, p. 38.
Booklist, March 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of Gay Marriage, p. 1099.
Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 1992, Takashi Oka, review of The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan, p. 13.
Commentary, June, 2004, Kay S. Hymowitz, review of Gay Marriage, p. 59.
Fortune, July 27, 1992, Alex Taylor III, review of The Outnation, pp. 163-164.
Governing, February, 1994.
Ideas on Liberty (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY), January, 2001, Philip Murray, review of Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working, p. 61.
Journal of Church and State, autumn, 2000, John Pisciotta, review of Government's End, p. 869.
Lambda Book Report, June-July, 2004, Edward Olivera, review of Gay Marriage, p. 16.
Nation, May 11, 1992, review of The Outnation, pp. 636-638.
National Review, June 28, 2004, Peter Augustine Lawler, review of Gay Marriage, p. 46.
Newsweek, April 26, 1993, David Gates, review of Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, p. 67.
New York Times, April 23, 1993, Michiko Kakutani, review of Kindly Inquisitors, p. C30.
New York Times Book Review, April 11, 1993, Linda Bradley Salamon, review of Kindly Inquisitors, pp. 1, 20-21.
Publishers Weekly, March 15, 2004, review of Gay Marriage, p. 65.
Washington Monthly, March, 1994, Phillip Longman, review of Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government, pp. 54-57; April, 2000, James Bennet, review of Government's End, p. 35.
Washington Post Book World, April 10, 1994, Jonathan Dorfman, review of Demosclerosis, p. 9.
Jonathan Rauch Home Page, http://www.jonathanrauch.com (February 8, 2006).