“The Evolution of René Girard.” In this excerpt from her new intellectual biography of Girard, Cynthia L. Haven synthesizes the key aspects of his one great insight.
“Deneen Among the Librals.” Peter Leithart reviews Why Liberalism Failed and has some questions for Deneen: ”Can anti-liberals consistently advocate a politics of virtue without questioning the absolute right of religious freedom? Can anti-liberals jettison liberal anthropology while retaining liberal ecclesiology and the religious policies that go with it? Can anti-liberals, in short, avoid questioning the First Amendment?”
“The Unbearable Weight of Emptiness.” A veteran is tired of the shallow displays of patriotism that happen during college football games: “Honoring the troops with this sterilized, prepackaged, hot-dogs-and-apple-pie brand of reverence allows everyone involved to feel as though something meaningful has occurred.” (Recommended by Jason Peters.)
One more highlight from the 2018 Prarie Festival: “Land, Rights and Justice: Why the Government is Losing the Trust of Rural America.” Jason Peters summarizes the question that Loka Ashwood addresses: ”What happens when rural people lose what they treasure most, their land, to corporations and the Fed?” As one of her interviewees told her, rural people feel as if “we don’t count.” Ashwood’s book, For-Profit Democracy, explores these issues further.
“How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet.” Bill McKibben surveys that grim signs that we are making our earth, our home, increasingly uninhabitable.
“What the Popularity of DNA Tests Really Tells Us.” Philip Bunn tries to understand the current fascination with DNA testing, warning that “for all it might tell you about where your ancestors lived, a DNA test will not give your life meaning.”
“Do Proteins Hold the Key to the Past?” Sam Knight follows an unusual set of researchers around as they use chemistry to discover the past lives of archived manuscripts and books.
“What 2018 Can Learn from 1943.” Jake Meador reviews Alan Jacobs’s new book and writes about how we might live as hopeful hobbits in an inhuman world.
“Tossing a Bird That Does Not Fly Out of a Plane.” Annie Lowrey visits Yellville, Arkansas to considers which is a worse form of animal cruelty: factory farming or dropping live turkeys out of an airplane? “If you want cheap burgers, you need a degree of animal cruelty that most Americans would consider horrifying if confronted with it.”