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Jawboning: A Tale of Two Hardware Stores

Hamilton, Ontario. The other day I was standing in a cavernous mega-chain hardware store looking for gardening supplies. This was not an easy task...

The Stories We Tell…

Philadelphia, PA. If you have read just one of Wendell Berry’s novels or short stories, then you have glimpsed this Kentucky farmer’s love for family,...

Waiting for the Americans…

In the late 1970s, my grandfather’s older brother, already in his nineties, was pressing his almost deaf ears to a little portable radio still...

Thoughts on the Return of College Football

Holland, MI. The beginning of the college football season is the closest thing to a state holiday in Michigan. The release of the new auto...

The Reluctant Southerner: Reflections on Home and History

Moorpark, CA.  In October of 1997 I attended the Southern Historical Association’s convention in Atlanta because I wanted to hear Paul Conkin’s presidential address,...

Tocqueville on the Shores of Titicaca

Amid Alexis de Tocqueville’s writings on revolution in France, there is a passage that rings true for those of us who have spent time...

Advice For Up-And-Comers

Claremont, CA. I spoke last week at the New Jersey Governor’s School for Public Issues, a (mostly) state-funded summer program for civic-minded students about...

“On the Grid”: When Electricity (and Other Things) Came to the...

“Come in and look,” Quintín urged me, as he disappeared with a shuffle through the low doorway in his adobe house.  I got up...

Descartes, Algebra, and Alienation

Democratizing eighth-grade algebra promotes social justice. (Brookings Institution) Money, mechanization, algebra. The three monsters of contemporary civilization. Complete analogy. (Simone Weil) Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. ...

Brave New World Reconsidered: A Tale of Two Gnosticisms

Many who are alarmed at the prospect of the “abolition of man” have found in Huxley’s Brave New World a dark and salutary warning...