“The Center Holds.” Nicole M. King reviews The Midwestern Moment: The Forgotten World of Early Twentieth-Century Midwestern Regionalism, 1880-1940, edited by Jon K. Lauck, for the University Bookman. The table of contents includes several Porchers, and King argues that it’s a compelling, readable collection.
“That Old-Time Civil Religion.” Richard M. Gamble reviews Walter A. McDougall’s The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy: How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest for the University Bookman: “Every one of America’s wars has churned out an abundance of civil religion to meet the demands of U.S. policy objectives. But what exactly are those demands, and who is making them, and to what purposes? These are the critical questions McDougall forces readers to confront.”
“Who is Paying for Monsanto’s Crimes? We Are.” Carey Gillam, writing in The Guardian, reports on the ongoing legal findings that Roundup causes cancer and that Monsanto hid the dangers of its herbicide from customers.
“Desire, Duty, and Dynamite.” Matthew Loftus links ecological destruction and sexual immorality; both of these issues require us to discipline our desires.
“No Democratic Candidate Has Been Able to Figure Out How to Help Farm Country.” Art Cullen reports on a recent forum in Storm Lake, Iowa where Democratic presidential candidates discussed policies that might help rural America. Julia Poska also wrote an in-depth analysis of the Heartland Forum for Civil Eats.
“The Uprooting of American Order.” Jeff Polet draws on Russell Kirk’s The Roots of American Order to consider the distinctions between cities that promote human civilization and cities that would destroy human orders.
“Let’s Get ‘Creaturely’: A New Worldview Can Help Us Face Ecological Crises.” Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen offer a warning against techno-utopianism and urge us to adopt a creaturely mindset: “Do not expect any truly sustainable fixes to emerge from the industrial mind.” This is a good essay, but I’m not sure we can have a “creaturely” life without acknowledging a “creator.”
“The Creeping Capitalist Takeover of Higher Education.” Kevin Carey writes for Highline about how various waves of for-profit companies have managed to milk the cash cow of education as online degree programs have grown. Students lose. Professors lose. But technology companies profit. (Recommended by Robbie Bolton.)
“They Had it Coming.” The best essay on the recent college admissions scandal is this one by Caitlin Flanagan.
“The House and the Garden: The Emergence of a Dream.” This is another essay by W. S. Merwin that is worth reflecting on. Here, he writes about the slow work of restoring a former pineapple plantation. (Recommended by R. M. Stangler.)
Finally, here are a couple of events coming up later this month that Porchers may be interested in. James Matthew Wilson will be giving a poetry reading at La Roche University on April 25. And Aubrey Streit Krug, from the Land Institute, will join Jack Baker and myself for a panel discussion titled “Virtues of Place: Wendell Berry and Rural Kansas” on April 29 at Sterling College in Kansas. Jack and I will also give a lecture later that evening.