Each week, I’ll try to post links to recent essays and stories that might interest Porchers. If you have additional essays to recommend, please link to them in the comments.
- “When Localism Works.” Gracy Olmstead reviews The New Localism, by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak, and gives a shout-out to Front Porch Republic: “It may be that fresh answers can be found among the “localists”—intellectual and wonkish conservatives and liberals who have found, at least when it comes to problems, some common ground. Inspired by such writers as Wendell Berry, Jane Jacobs, and Wilhelm Röpke, localism generally asserts that federal oversight is usually too heavy-handed, uniform, and cronyist to serve local communities well. Organizations like Smart Growth America, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and Strong Towns have advocated for a small-scale renewal of urban communities and the built environment. In books like Why Place Matters, on websites like Front Porch Republic and CityLab, and in magazines like Yes! and the American Conservative, journalists and academics have explored how localism can help solve social ills and empower citizens.”
- “America’s Real Digital Divide.” Naomi Schaefer Riley argues access to technology doesn’t magically help children. “Make no mistake: The real digital divide in this country is not between children who have access to the internet and those who don’t. It’s between children whose parents know that they have to restrict screen time and those whose parents have been sold a bill of goods by schools and politicians that more screens are a key to success. It’s time to let everyone in on the secret.”
- “Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World.” It turns out powerful tools designed to monetize human relationships can spread misinformation and confusion. This is a long essay, but it tells an important story that reveals some of the ways our news ecosystem is badly warped: “The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they’ve learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill.”
- “Patiently Learning to Belong.” I reviewed the new collection of Wendell Berry’s fiction published by the Library of America. Berry’s stories remind us that “before we can learn how to think, we need to learn how to belong.”
- “How Liberalism Failed: A Conversation with Patrick J. Deneen.” If you want an introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of Porcherism, listen to Albert Mohler interview Patrick Deneen about his new book. I’ll be posting a review of Deneen’s book next week.