“James Matthew Wilson on What Poetry Is, and Isn’t.” Mary Spencer interviews James Matthew Wilson for National Review about his work as a poet.
“Are Robots Really Coming for Your Job?” Bill Snyder corrects some common myths about automation. Elon Musk summarizes the situation well: “‘Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.’”
“Jean Vanier Made Us All More Human.” Bethany McKinney Fox remembers the powerful life and witness of Jean Vanier. It’s also worth revisiting Stanley Haurwas’s essay on Vanier and the “politics of gentleness.”
“Overcoming Our Greatest Afflication.” Andy Crouch talks about the need to recognize and value the personhood of others. This talk shares the vices of TED talks—when you try to make ideas “fun and interesting,” nuance and accuracy tend to lose out—but it’s still worth watching, and I’m looking forward to the book Andy is writing about this topic.
“No Mere Textbook.” Bruce P. Frohnen reviews Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story by Wilfred M. McClay for The University Bookman: “McClay works to help make citizens in the important sense that to be a member of our self-governing society requires understanding its culture, its good as well as its bad actions, and how they made us what we are as a people.”
“Brain Drain and the Polarization of America.” In The American Conservative, Rachel Sheffield and Scott Winship chart the growing cultural and economic divides caused by highly educated people clustering in particular urban areas.
“Most of America’s Rural Areas are Doomed to Decline.” David Swenson analyzes the job-creation data and points out that urban areas are seeing all the job gains and rural areas are missing out on economic growth. I’m not sure this means they are “doomed to decline,” but it does mean people in rural places will increasingly need to be creative in finding ways to thrive on the margins of an exploitative economy. In a piece that can be profitably read as a companion to Swenson’s, Addison Del Mastro argues that some urban areas, particularly those that were built around once thriving industries, are inexorably declining.
“Catholic Poet Dana Gioia: Is Poetry Still a Spiritual Vocation?.” Sean Salai interviews Dana Gioia for America Magazine about his faith and his recent term as California’s Poet Laureate.
“How Big Tech Threatens Economic Liberty.” Hal Singer argues that technology platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are coercive and should be more strictly regulated. Facebook’s co-founder agrees, arguing Facebook should be broken up.
“The Ruin of the Digital Town Square.” The New Atlantis has published its symposium on social media and public discourse. I’ve not read all the contributions yet, but what I have read is quite good.
“Parents Need Villages, Not Just Public Policies.” Gracy Olmstead responds to the challenges of raising children today by calling “for us to reestablish robust local villages.”