Episode #28: The Civility Trap with Rusty Reno

Peter Wood

What polices the boundaries of society and separates elites from the mob? What happens when cultural leaders become decadent? Can civility be co-opted to safeguard moral bankruptcy?

Rusty Reno, the editor of First Things magazine, discusses his article, “The Civility Trap.” Rusty argues that civility screens the “washed from the unwashed” in the marketplace of ideas. It helps elites recognize one another and kicks “deplorables” to the curb. Civility dictates political legitimacy.

Rusty goes into more detail on the subject of his article in this podcast. We also discuss our shared alma mater, Haverford College, and its fall from grace. Other topics mentioned include the college admissions scandal and, of course, my favorite topic of study — anthropology.

That’s it for me. May you have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Oh, and be sure to subscribe to First Things magazine, a monthly journal of religion, culture, and public life. (Some even call it America’s most influential journal on religion and culture!)

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