“Sealed in Blood: Aristopopulism and the City of Man.” Susannah Black wrote a small book in response to Patrick Deneen’s recent talk on aristopopulism. It’s quite rich and merits slow, thoughtful reading. And such reading will give hope. Susannah discerns amid the wreckage of American liberalism “the possibility of a political eucatastrophe.”
“Can This Radical Approach to Dairies Save US Farms?” Lela Nargi writes for Civil Eats about what it might look like to implement supply management or parity pricing for US dairies. Of course, this is exactly what the Burley Tobacco Growers Co-Op did for tobacco farmers, and Wendell Berry has previously suggested dairy farmers would benefit from following that model.
“W. S. Merwin, The Art of Poetry.” W. S. Merwin died last week. This interview with him from 1987 is worth reading today. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:
When I wrote The Lice, I thought that things were so black, that what we as a species had done was so terrible that there was very little hope, and certainly not much point in writing. The arts really were over; the culture, the salutary role of the arts in our lives—that was finished. There was nothing left but decoration. I’d become more interested in raising vegetables. In some ways, I think it’s even worse now. But I don’t think you can get stuck with just plain anger. It’s a dead end in the long run. If the anger is to mean anything, it has to lead you back to caring about what is being destroyed. It’s more important to pay attention to what it is that you care about.
“11-foot Wall of Water: One Dam Breaks, Three Counties Suffer.” Peter Salter reports for the Lincoln Journal Star on the severe flooding in Nebraska. My grandfather lost a herd of pigs in a bad flood in the 1940s, and that loss precipitated their decision to sell the family farm in Ewing, Nebraska.
“The Hidden Catastrophe of the Midwest’s Floods.” Tom Philpott warns that these severe floods exacerbate an ongoing disaster: the loss of topsoil.
“America’s Farming Crisis, Laid Bare by Midwest Floods.” Jake Meador sees these floods as exposing the neglect that Midwest farmers have long faced.
“The Only Metric of Success that Really Matters is the One We Ignore.” Watching her brother die surrounded by friends and family taught Jenny Anderson the importance of putting down roots and investing in others. Parts of this essay make it seem like community-building is just one more self-improvement technique, but others go beyond this utilitarian calculation. As a whole, the essay reminds me of Rod Dreher’s moving The Little Way of Ruthie Lemming.
“China’s Uyghur Detention Camps May Be the Largest Mass Incarceration Since the Holocaust.” Peter Apps chronicles what we know about China’s ongoing oppression of Uyghurs.
“The Fraud of Higher Education.” Benjamin Myers, writing in First Things, responds to the recent college admissions scandal by considering what gets lost when colleges become credentialling machines:
Private colleges that want to survive and even thrive must rediscover the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Few “consultants” understand this, but devotion to the summum bonum, to a deeper understanding of human thriving, is the path to healthy academic institutions. It is also good business.
“Elizabeth Warren Thinks Getting Rid of the Electoral College Would Be an Easy Win for the Democrats. I Wouldn’t Be So Sure.” It’s popular these days to bash the Electoral College, but Justin Lee reminds us why it’s an important part of American politics: “When in the American imagination, every place bleeds into every other place, is it any wonder that we despise or ignore political diversity?”
“Evangelical Populists And Their Discontents.” Kevin R. den Dulk introduces an issue of Public Justice Review titled “Populists or Internationalists? Evangelical Tribes and Globalization” and raises a helpful set of questions derived from the competing strands within Evangelical history and culture.
“Brexit shows Britain is no Longer Able to Imagine a ‘Common Good’.” Rowan Williams warns that “to find ourselves – as we now regularly do – in a situation where opposing groups each regard the other’s agenda as the worst outcome imaginable is a dire situation for democracy.”
“Against the Dead Consensus.” Several conservatives have signed this statement at First Things sketching out a post-Trump conservatism.
“Children of Light in an Age of Darkness.” Randy Boyagoda reviews Alan Jacobs’s The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis.
“Now Enrolling: The Wendell Berry Farm School.” Latria Graham covers Sterling College’s collaboration with the Berry Center.