“The Politics of Dystopia.” Ross Douthat seems to be thinking about Deneen’s book these days: “On right and left, it has become easier to imagine ways the liberal order might deserve to fall, because of evils generated from within itself.”
“Conservative Women and the Intra-Conservatism Debate.” Luma Simms reflects on why it might be that the Ahmari-French debate has largely involved men.
“The Age of Pelagius.” Senator Joshua Hawley writes about the connections between an ancient heresy and American understandings of freedom: “The Pelagian view says the individual is most free when he is most alone, able to choose his own way without interference. Family and tradition, neighborhood and church—these things get in the way of uninhibited free choice. And this Pelagian idea of freedom is one our cultural leaders have embraced for decades now.” Insights like these are why Matthew Walther calls Hawley “far and away the most interesting Republican elected official in the United States”
“Roundup’s Risks Could Go Well Beyond Cancer.” Mark Buchanan warns that “Glyphosate is clearly not a benign herbicide warranting no concern, its link to cancer aside. It may be causing many other serious disruptions to human biology, and to organisms and plants in the environment, currently invisible to today’s outdated regulatory systems.”
“The Anti-College Is on the Rise.” Increasingly, large institutions of higher education fail “to ask, and answer, serious questions about life’s ultimate purpose.” Molly Worthen reports on several academic ventures that “seek to push back against the materialism and individualism that have saturated the secular left and right, all at an affordable price.” (Recommended by Jeff Polet.)
“Wendell Berry Takes a Stand on Stewardship of the Earth.” Elizabeth Lund reviews Library of America’s collection of Berry’s essays: “What I Stand On is essential reading for those who want to understand how we arrived at this point in time, and how we can begin to shift our standards, priorities, and habits.”
“Saving the Planet With Electric Cars Means Strangling This Desert.” Laura Millan Lombrana descibes how increased lithium mining is damaging ecosystems and communities in Chile.
“Forgiveness at Mother Emanuel.” John Murdock reviews a documentary about the Emanuel shooting and reflects on what this tragedy can teach us about forgiveness and memory: “Emanuel is the story of an extreme conversation between Roof, a white man radicalized with the help of Confederate symbolism, and a black community that responded with faith despite great pain.”
“The Rise of Progressive Occultism.” Tara Isabella Burton examines some surprising links between spirituality and politics: “As an aesthetic, as a spiritual practice, and as a communal ideology, contemporary millennial ‘witch culture’ defines itself as the cosmic counterbalance to Trumpian evangelicalism.”
“The Unseen Worlds Beneath Us: Places of Beauty, Danger and Wisdom.” Terry Tempest Williams reviews Robert Macfarlane’s haunting Underland.
“A Nature Writer for the Anthropocene.” Jedediah Purdy discusses Robert Macfarlane’s other books and suggests that his latest aims “to do for the broken, fouled, and remnant landscapes of the Anthropocene what his Romantic predecessors did for the high mountains.”
“Preserving the Pleasures of the Bookshop.” Alexander McCall Smith argues that “local bookshops, intimate in scale in an age of the big and the characterless, are little fortresses dedicated to defending an artefact that survives because we love it so much – the book.”