Nathan Glazier Obituary

Nathan Glazer (1923-2016) was an American sociologist and executive editor of The National Interest, New Republic, and The Public Interest. He was an author of many books including the popular We Are All Multiculturalists Now, Beyond the Melting Pot, and The Lonely Crowd.

            Throughout his life Nathan resisted fitting into any particular category. As soon as one thought they had him pegged he surprised them and forced them to reconstrue their understanding of how he fit a certain mold. As a young man after WWII Nathan was a Marxist, but soon became a patriotic neoconservative American.  Nathan originally believed that immigrants would assimilate into American society and that racism would pass away, but he later admitted that this theory “did not hold water.” Nathan resigned himself to the fact that our nation has embraced multiculturalism over the now dirty word “assimilation.”  

Nathan originally was for affirmative action, but he later came to see the negativities from it as well, “Against the view that to every problem there is a solution, I came to believe that we can have only partial and less than wholly satisfying answers to the social problems in question. Whereas the prevailing wisdom was that social policies would make steady progress in nibbling away at the agenda of problems set by the forces of industrialization and urbanization, I came to believe that although social policy had ameliorated some of the problems we had inherited, it had also given rise to other problems no less grave in their effect on human happiness.”

Always one for finding the middle ground, Nathan alienated himself from conservatives, liberals, and eventually neoconservatives as well. In his search to see all sides of an issue, Nathan was sometimes accused of being impractical and paralytic, nothing would get done with his failure to come to conclusions. However, this is exactly why Nathan was so unique and special in his ability to see all sides of an issue and refuse to concede to simple solutions that would not actually solve the problem.  Throughout his life Nathan was humble, honest, and always pursued the truth even at the expense of fitting into those who identified with him. Nathan’s views were sometimes highly controversial, but he was always a gentleman and quick to admit when he was in the wrong. Nathan was an excellent example of character, and he leaves a profound legacy that will benefit generations to come.

Submitted to World Magazine for the World Journalism Institute on 3/21/16

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