John Leo

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John Leo
John Leo.jpeg
Personal Details
Birth: June 16, 1935
Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.
Death: May 10, 2023
Bronx, New York, U.S.
Education: St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
Occupation: Journalist, Columnist, Social Critic
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John Patrick Leo (June 16, 1935 - May 10, 2023), known professionally as John Leo, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. Leo attended Regis High School, a prestigious Jesuit institution in Manhattan. He later graduated in 1957 from St. Michael's, a Catholic college affiliated with the University of Toronto. Despite his Catholic upbringing, he distanced himself from religious beliefs while still holding on to its social principles.

Career in Journalism

Throughout his career, Leo worked for various mainstream publications, including the New York Times and Time magazine. However, he gained widespread recognition for his biting and humorous opinion columns that challenged liberal orthodoxies and criticized the excesses of political correctness in education, culture, and social mores.

Social Critic and Moral Standpoint

Leo considered himself a moralist, approaching issues from a perspective of right and wrong. He was associated with libertarianism, although he did not consider himself an ideologue. He became known as the "founder of the anti-sensitivity movement" due to his criticism of political correctness and the so-called victimhood culture. Leo had a keen interest in safeguarding free speech and free ideas, relentlessly defending his principles through his writings and public commentary.

Notable Works and Contributions

Leo's columns in U.S. News & World Report, where he wrote from 1988 to 2006, were syndicated in over 100 newspapers, making his views widely known to the public. He also wrote several books, such as "Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police" (1994) and "How the Russians Invented Baseball and Other Essays of Enlightenment" (1989), which further cemented his reputation as a sharp social critic.

Connection to Libertarianism

Leo's views and writings often aligned with libertarian principles, although he did not identify as a strict ideologue. He advocated for individual freedom and expression, while also criticizing what he perceived as cultural and societal grievances propagated by the political left. His association with the Manhattan Institute, a leading conservative and libertarian think tank, further emphasized his connections to libertarian thought.

Legacy and Passing

Leo's work as a social critic, journalist, and defender of free speech left a lasting impact on American public discourse. He passed away on May 10, 2023, at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy of incisive analysis, biting wit, and a dedication to defending freedom of expression and intellectual pluralism in American culture.