“Our Unsexy Future.” Joseph Bottum reviews Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl, drawing attention to “an underappreciated principle of any new technology as it starts to sail in from the horizon—and that principle runs: The flagship is not the fleet.”
“Back Row America.” Chris Arnade left his job in Wall Street and began walking the streets of left behind places, talking with and photographing those he met. Keep an eye out for our review of his book next month.
“Pushing Back Against Marilynne Robinson’s Theology.” Jessica Hooten Wilson critiques Robinson’s theology of grace, situating her within the Emersonian tradition.
“Is Poverty Necessary? An Idea that Won’t Go Away.” And Marilynne Robinson has a new essay in Harper’s where she praises the work of economist Henry George in his nineteenth-century classic Progress and Poverty.
“Big Agriculture Is Breeding a Worldwide Health Crisis.” Mark Buchanan warns that the “indiscriminate use of fungicides in agriculture” may be responsible for the development of fungal infections in people that are resistent to treatment.
“The Reinvention of Tradition.” Ross Douthat praises the “creative traditionalism” of Michael Brendan Dougherty’s My Father Left Me Ireland: “the American son frames his book as a series of letters to his father, carrying on a meditative argument for the importance of inheritance, of a healthy nationalism as a ‘spiritual ecology’ that links ‘the living, the unborn and the dead.’”
“Your Roots Shall Make Ye Free.” Leah Libresco Sargeant’s review of the same book argues that Dougherty’s ”rage is directed at the eunuchizing modern mindset that sees us as most free when we can be stripped of all the ties we have to others.”
“Fear and the Benedict Option.” Over at First Things, Leah Libresco Sargeant reflects on the implications of Christ’s command to his disciples to both “cast” their nets and “mend” their nets.
“When the Way of Improvement Can’t Lead Home: A Brief Review of Tara Westover’s Educated.” John Fea identifies the tensions between education and homecoming that run through Tara Westover’s recent memoir.
“Monsanto Must Pay Couple $2bn in Largest Verdict Yet Over Cancer Claims.” The bad news keeps coming for Monsanto, as Sam Levin reports for The Guardian.
“Q&A: Michael Foley, A Modern Advocate for Traditional Farming.” Joan Bailey of Modern Farmer talks with Michael Foley about his book Farming for the Long Haul: Resilience and the Lost Art of Agricultural Inventiveness.
“A Widow’s Pathbreaking Election Bid Highlights a Deep Crisis in Rural India.” Joanna Slater writes about the ongoing challenges that Indian farmers face and the political frustrations that are resulting.
“Peter Maurin’s Farm-Rooted Vision Gains Ground among Catholic Workers.” Maria Benevento discusses the ongoing influence that Maurin’s agricultural and ecological ideas are having. For more on Maurin’s work, see Myles Werntz’s essay for FPR about his influence on Dorothy Day.
“Resisting a Throwaway Culture: What Does it Mean to Be Prolife in the Age of Trump?” Jake Meador considers the nature of freedom in a given world: “there is a givenness to the world which is not activated by human choice and yet does oblige human beings to act in certain ways. When we act in ways that agree with this natural order, we find that our possibilities are not diminished but expanded—sometimes quantitatively but always qualitatively.”