Over the years, The Atlantic’s writers have argued the merits of things and ideas both silly and serious—and also made the case against things, like performance reviews, breastfeeding, and Modest Mouse.
A casual reader may be acquainted with some of the more recent works of the genre—say, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s June 2014 cover story, “The Case for Reparations”—but this framing device has been in use at the magazine for more than a century. In fact, our staff has argued for and against so many things that “The Case” headlines have become somewhat of an inside joke among staffers and subscribers. “How many ‘cases’ have the Atlantic staff argued against at this point?” wrote one Twitter user in reaction to The Case Against Cats in 2016.
The answer, in case you’re interested, is more than 250—about 200 cases for, and 50 cases against. And, thanks in no small part to my colleague and technical wizard Andrew McGill, you can now browse the full collection.
This is not, it should be noted, a comprehensive list of any time the words The Case have appeared in an Atlantic headline. We restricted this list to articles that feature a writer, well, doing just that—making an argument. Some of the shorter, blog-style posts from an earlier era of our website use the formulation, but consist of just a few sentences of musing and links to articles elsewhere. Those aren’t included. And anything referencing a legal case—for example, the “case” against embattled Democratic Senator Robert Menendez—was also tossed. Even after narrowing down the list, there is a long, diverse history of such arguments.