“What Lies Beneath: Robert Macfarlane Travels ‘Underland.’” Robert Macfarlane writes about his new book and the subterranean journeys it traces.
“Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and David Kline.” Listen to the wide-ranging discussion these three farmers had at the Organic Association of Kentucky Annual Conference.
“How America Almost Banned Chain Grocery Stores.” In a must-read feature essay, H. Claire Brown chronicles an antitrust battle in the 1930s that has important implications for today’s centralizing economy: “The demise of the anti-chain movement represented a turning point in American thinking about the economy. As Schragger wrote in 2005, ‘it was arguably the last time that there was a serious effort to offer an account of the relationship between economic decentralization and liberty.’”
“Liberalism: The Great Anti-Tradition.” Gerald J. Russello reviews Mark Mitchell’s The Limits of Liberalismand argues that “one of its main themes is how we can think about tradition, because one of the things that has become clear from the body of conservative thought is that we are tradition-making animals.” And Russello concludes by commending the work of FPR: “this book needs to be read alongside the work he and others have done with the website Front Porch Republic, where more concrete examples of lived tradition are discussed.”
“What Does the Word “Liberal” Mean?” Nathan W. Schlueter reviews Helena Rosenblatt’s The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century. While she seeks “to oppose a liberalism that affirms individualism, self-interest, and rights, and to promote a liberalism that affirms ‘duties, patriotism, self-sacrifice, [and] generosity to others,’” Schlueter argues her neglect of Anglo-American liberals and her failure to grapple adequately with the tensions between Christianity and liberalism mar her project.
“Are Christians Privileged or Persecuted?” Ross Douthat reflects on recent events that reveal the fraught relation between liberalism and Christianity: “The old faith of don’t-call-it-Western-civilization is at once too residually influential and politically threatening to escape the passive-aggressive frenmity of liberalism, and yet too weak and compromised and frankly self-sabotaging to fully shape a conservative alternative.”
“Storm Clouds Over Tulsa: Inside the Academic Destruction of a Proud Private University.” Jacob Howland narrates the depressing tale of the University of Tulsa’s decline from a liberal arts university to a corporate bureaucracy. (Recommended by Jeff Polet.)
“How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer.” Gregory Travis analyzes what went wrong with the 737 design process. The result is an instructive lesson on engineering, economics, and giving software power over humans: “The 737 Max saga teaches us not only about the limits of technology and the risks of complexity, it teaches us about our real priorities. Today, safety doesn’t come first—money comes first, and safety’s only utility in that regard is in helping to keep the money coming. The problem is getting worse because our devices are increasingly dominated by something that’s all too easy to manipulate: software.”
“Earth Day: The Christian Case for Embracing a Hippie Holiday.” Matthew Sleeth outlines the importance of trees in the biblical narrative.
“Earth Day and Easter.” John Murdock also ponders the theological significance of Earth Day, particularly this year when it falls the day after Easter: “Is it just by chance that Mary Magdalene mistakes Jesus for a gardener, or does the re-creation demonstrated in Jesus’s triumph over death serve as a sign of things to come for everything that was created and called good?”
Father James V. Schall, S.J, author and professor at Georgetown, recently passed away. Thomas M. Johnson, Jr. reflects on what kind of a teacher he was, and Marc D. Guerra recommends three of his books as entry points into his thinking and writing.
“When Tech Elites Lose Their Religion.” James P. Pinkerton, writing for The American Conservative, discusses what might happen as digital designers eschew their own technologies: “Lately we’ve seen the emergence of a second kind of digital divide, the exact opposite of the first. Whereas the old divide was concerned with digital underconsumption, this new kind is premised on digital overconsumption. As such, this second divide speaks to a remarkable loss of faith among the digerati in their own handiwork. And come to think of it, maybe that shift in thinking should serve as a clue, and a cue, to the rest of us.”
“The Ineffable Weight of Being.” Emina Melonic writes about James Matthew Wilson’s latest collection The Hanging God, showing how it “explores the good, the beautiful, and the true but also the odd.”
“Seeds, the Gateway Drug to Gardening.” Charlotte Mendelson praises the temptations of seeds.