“Staying Human: The Tech Issue.” Plough Quarterly has a new issue on technology with several thoughtful essays. My favorite is Susannah Black’s profile of Jack and Amy Baumgartner, “The Perfect Tool”: “The axe is the perfect tool, as a woodworker. It is the tool. It is tool. Every woodworking tool is resting there in the axe, waiting to be born.”
“The Woman Beside Wendell: At Home with Tanya Berry.” Robert Jensen’s in-depth profile of Tanya Berry was republished with new photos this week. If you missed it when it came out in YES! Magazine last winter, read it now.
“The Outsider.” Amy Olberding describes her experience as an academic philosopher who hails from a rural place. She doesn’t always have the proper cultural knowledge to fit in elite academic circles, but she’s not too bothered by that lack:
‘Impostor syndrome’ describes a problem I don’t especially wish to solve. Its remedy is to recognise that one does in fact belong. Yet I can’t convince myself I want to fully belong – indeed, I would experience belonging as a loss. The reasons for this are several, though all converge on a conviction that being ill-adapted has a value I would not forfeit.
“The Ignoble Lie: How the New Aristocracy Masks its Privilege.” Patrick Deneen has a new essay in First Things:
The uprising among the working classes across the developed West arises from a perception of illegitimacy—of a gap between claims of the ruling class and reality as experienced by those who are ruled. It is no coincidence that these rebellions come from the socialist left and authoritarian right, two positions that now share opposition to state capitalism, a managerial ruling class, the financialization of the economy, and globalization. These populist rebellions are a challenge to the liberal order itself.
“This Is What Happens When Bitcoin Miners Take Over Your Town.” For decades, the Wenatchee Valley has had a thriving orchard economy, but changing economics mean more apple and cherry orchards are being torn out and replaced by vineyards and wineries. And now its cheap hydropower is attracting a new, even more decadent industry: bitcoin mining.
“The Rooted Faith in Wendell Berry’s Fiction.” Jack Baker and I write about how Berry’s exemplary characters root themselves in order to bring healing to damaged places:
Berry describes himself as a “marginal” Christian, and his position on the outskirts of our dominant, consumerist culture makes his a voice from the wilderness—one many evangelicals with more orthodox theology might do well to consider. Perhaps the greatest threat to the church today isn’t falling for doctrinal heresy but implicitly adopting the consumerist, self-centered assumptions of our Western culture. It’s all too easy for American Christians to assent to the right doctrines on Sunday while inhabiting a counter-Christian economy the rest of the week, loving ourselves more than God and neighbor.