Parenting, Geoengineering, and Picking up Trash

Photo by George W. Ackerman

Corporate Progressivism.” Patrick Deneen reviews Darel Paul’s From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage. Here’s a taste:

There is a striking alignment between this progressive valorization of self-creation and especially sexual autonomy, on the one hand, and free-market fundamentalists who seek the breakdown of all limitations to the freedom of individual consumers to barter and trade anywhere and everywhere in the world. Paul’s book helps us understand this close alignment between progressive cosmopolitans and “conservative” corporations. . . . World-straddling corporations have a strong interest in fostering atomized, de-normed subjects. Because their “identities” arise primarily from appetites that can be altered through both marketing and technology, they are the ideal consumers.

Dear Massachusetts.” Pete Candler writes a beautiful reflection on two cities’ relationships to the past:

Boston’s Americanness is historical, genetic, architectonic, memorial. Atlanta’s, by contrast, is second-hand, accidental, conceptual, amnesic. Atlanta is the embodiment of the American urge for re-invention, the lust for the new. It’s the epicenter of the idea that steady commerce can cover over a multitude of sins of the historical past, that if you just stay busy enough you won’t come to hate your neighbor who, frankly, is a bit of a jackass. Atlanta — “the city too busy to hate” — has thrived on a kind of deliberate amnesia, and built its reputation in the image of the mythological phoenix, who supposedly burst into flames and then rose from its own ashes. Boston, for good or ill, is marked by monuments to its own history — living spaces like Boston Common that remain sites for the continued enactment of the American experiment. In Atlanta, one is presented with a blank slate of history: be whoever the hell you want to be, we don’t care. Just don’t go stirring up old ghosts.

The Public Square Is about Parenting.” Samuel James reviews The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, a new book by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, and he argues it’s actually “a book about parenting.”

Against Geoengineering.” In case you weren’t already convinced, Silvia Ribeiro explains why geoengineering is a terrible idea.

5 questions with Wendell Berry.” Joe Waters sent a letter to Wendell Berry with five questions about raising children, and Berry replied with some brief but helpful recommendations.

The Blood On Our Hands: Revisited.” Brian Miller reflects on how we might put death in its proper place.

A Community Environmental Project.” Andrew Spencer recounts a Saturday morning he spent with other residents of his town picking trash out of their local river: “Several hours into picking up other people’s trash, one begins to wonder what sort of person throws a Styrofoam cup out their car window. This is the first step in teaching our children that the world is not simply a giant landfill ready to receive their waste. . . . It alone won’t solve the larger problems of climate destabilization or world hunger, but it points us in the right direction and helps to strengthen the fabric of community needed for authentic human flourishing.”

Tribal Passions, Totalitarian Parties.” Scott Beauchamp argues that Simone Weil’s “political disappointments caused her to hunger for wisdom.”

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself—And Bring Your Kids Along.” D.L. Mayfield considers how parents can raise children who love their neighbors.

A 14-year-long Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico Verges on Becoming One of the Worst in U.S. History.” Darryl Fears describes the ongoing oil spill. It turns out that it’s a lot easier to build an oil well than to cap one destroyed by a hurricane.

The Saint John’s Bible and Its Tradition: Illuminating Beauty in the Twenty-First Century.” Jack Baker, Dan Train, and I edited a collection of essays exploring the significance of a contemporary handwritten, illuminated manuscript of the Bible. Among other things, it encourages slow, communal reading rather than isolated skimming.

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