Police are investigating a sighting of an alligator in the Monongahela River
Archaeologists defy ISIS by finding new artifacts in Iraq
Earth Island Journal interviews Wendell Berry:
I’ve already explained my distrust of the term “organic.” So I can hardly be expected to know the ideal of “the organic movement,” let alone its idealism. If organic idealism should meet free market capitalism, I suppose that would be nice, but they would have to be introduced by somebody besides me.
New Oxford Review on Anglican patrimony
Roger Scruton on the end of the university:
I sometimes think that the greatest service to our culture was done by the person who set fire to the library at Alexandria, thereby ensuring that nothing survived of that mass of literature, other than those works considered so precious that each educated person would have a copy of his own. The communists had performed a similar service to intellectual life in Czechoslovakia, by preventing the publication of anything save those works deemed so precious that people were prepared to produce them in laborious samizdat editions. These would be passed from hand to hand and read with eager interest by people for whom knowledge, rather than career advancement, was the goal. How refreshing this was, after the life among academic journals and footling footnotes!
Of course, the circumstances of the underground seminars were unusual and nobody would want to reproduce them. Nevertheless, during the ten years that I worked with others to turn these private reading groups into a structured (if clandestine) university, I learned two very important truths. The first is that a cultural inheritance really is a body of knowledge and not a collection of opinions—knowledge of the human heart, and of the long-term vision of a human community. The second is that this knowledge can be taught, and that it does not require a vast investment of money to do this, certainly not the $50,000 per student per year that is demanded by an Ivy League university.
The Nakamoto consensus:
For over 350 years Westphalian sovereignty has rooted its authority and expressed its power along territorial borders, lines demarcating a state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Space and time are its key coordinates. Any x and y for longitude and latitude determine which laws apply. Citizens have by and large remained stationary, hemmed in or locked out, albeit with some in and out flow. But over time those in power have changed. Government actors vary after some duration, either by coup, by annexation, by succession of the throne, or by — the current best case — the preferences of voters in elections.
We are entering an era when governance and citizenship will decouple from location. And because of that, the purveyors of bad laws will fade away and good laws will surface to dominate the law market in the century ahead.
Republicans: The cocaine monkeys of defense spending
Baron Maurice Glasman spoke in Melbourne on March 21, on some themes that will be of interest to readers:
Jared Diamond against the barbarians within
Pittsford Perennialist on Ely S. Parker at Appamattox. Kevin Levin pushes back on that Brian Beutler article about making the anniversary of Appamattox a national holiday. More hand-wringing about resurgent neoconfederacy in Politico Magazine, in another one of those pieces that neatly elides anti-government sentiment as implicitly racist.
New York Times and MSNBC out-and-out lie that people can’t bring functioning guns to the NRA convention.
Jonathan Franzen on conservation:
From a global perspective, it can seem that the future holds not only my own death but a second, larger death of the familiar world.
I’m basically on board with the Christian and Stoic doctrine that moral worth is universal across humanity and around the globe, so commensurability isn’t really so big an issue there. But wellbeing is definitely incommensurable. It has many facets and most of them are controversial when it comes time to make choices about the most effective use of resources.
First update from Scott Beyer of Market Urbanism’s cross-country trip. He’s in Miami. He links a speech by M. Stanton Evans on cities that I hadn’t seen before and is well worth a read.
Turning Portland into San Francisco
In praise of hipsters
Grayson and Whittier’s rendition of a great anti-war song:
From Anais Mitchell’s album interpreting the Child Ballads:
And some Jacobite bluegrass:
Took a drive through the Northern Neck yesterday to see some colonial churches — Vauter’s and Christ Church — and eat dinner at the Tides Inn, on the way back we stopped in Fredericksburg and walked around downtown. One of the nicer buildings is St. George’s Church, in whose yard the brother of John Paul Jones and the father of Martha Washington are buried. Here’s a performance by my friend Daniel Bachman inside:
If you have suggestions for these weekly round-ups, tweet me at @j_arthur_bloom or send me an email at bloom.jordan[at]gmail[dot]com. Have a wonderful week.