“Academia’s Holy Warriors.” Jon Baskin has a long, thoughtful essay considering the ongoing conversations sparked by Why Liberalism Failed. It’s well-worth reading in full, but here’s a taste from the opening:
Every summer in his compost, Deneen said, he made something new out of something old. This was the essence of his ideal of “culture.” Culture was not, as many in liberal America assumed, about liberating ourselves from nature and convention. It consisted, rather, in “responsible stewardship.” Culture was “thick, inherited, and connected to a place,” Deneen said. “It renews itself like soil.”
(Recommended by Jon Schaff.)
“Conservatism and Its Discontents.” Justin Lee discusses the most recent encounter between Ahmari and French. I appreciate the broader context he provides for their debate, and I certainly agree with his conclusion: “If anything, this latest event demonstrates that the future of conservatism should not be decided by polemicists alone. The movement must maintain a scholarly center of gravity, regardless of how heated things may become on the margins.”
“Front Porch and Empire: The Blessings, and Limits, of Limits.” An expanded version of Susannah Black’s talk from the Front Porch Republic conference last week is available here. I disagree at points, but reading about her family’s affinity for throwing knives at each other is pretty interesting.
“Mary Berry: Extending Wendell Berry’s Legacy is ‘the most hopeful work I can think of.’” The Library of America interviews Mary Berry about the work of the Berry Center.
“The Work of Local Culture.” Richard Gamble reviews and commends Coming Home: Reclaiming America’s Conservative Soul by Ted V. McAllister and Bruce P. Frohnen. Once you’ve read his review, turn to the interview the University Bookmen did with Ted and Bruce about their book. (Recommended by Jason Peters.)
“The Price of Ascending America’s Class Ladder.” What are the costs of upward mobility? Jennifer Morton, the author of Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility, talks about some of these with the Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker.
“Something Special Is Happening in Rural America.” Sarah Smarsh thinks there’s a “brain gain” underway as more rural Americans are returning home or choosing not to leave.
“Listening for the Mystery: Poet Maurice Manning on the Wonder of Language, the Value of Form, & the Legacy He Hopes to Leave.” David Kern interviews Kentucky poet Maurice Manning for Forma. They discuss the genesis and craft of poetry and the art of belonging to one’s place.
“Your Kids Could Save Our Warming World.” Gracy Olmstead argues in the New York Times that having children might teach us how to be creators rather than consumers.
“The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer.” Samo Burja wonders if YouTube can transform the transmission of tacit knowledge. It’s a complex question, but I’ve built a boat, poured concrete chimney caps, tackled appliance repairs and plumbing jobs, and learned several other skills thanks to YouTube.
“Progressive Seminary Students Offered a Confession to Plants. What are We to Make of It?” Union Seminary students apparently confessed their sins to some plants. Rather odd. But Veery Huleatt took the occasion to consider the nature of communal, ecological sin, concluding that “refusing to admit our ecological guilt is arguably a worse sin than taking our succulents to church.”
“Trump Is About to Make the Pork Industry Responsible for Inspecting Itself.” Tom Philpot reports on what sounds like a bad idea. But then, these pork processing factories are themselves a terrible idea.