“The Case Against GMOs: Cautionary Tales From Uganda.” With biting wit, Mary Serumaga argues that legislation to introduce GMOs to Uganda is being driven by foreign investors rather than local needs: “Biodiversity is an asset that is vulnerable to commodification. Abandonment of or damage to biodiversity will lead to dependency on GMOs. Dependency on imported seeds that have to be bought every season with a currency that is weaker each year is not a viable solution to hunger.”
“Trump Farm Secretary: No Guarantee Small Farms Will Survive.” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue isn’t too concerned about small family farms: “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out.” Todd Richmond provides the context for these disturbing remarks.
“So Much for Localism.” Joel Kotkin rues the failure of either political party to actually empower local authorities: “Leaders of both parties have sat by while the forces of capital and government have centralized power and authority in ever fewer hands.” Nevertheless he continues to hope that “over time localism could still prevail, because it works.”
“It’s Time to Rediscover the Power of Poetry.” Ellen Condict defends her requirement that students memorize poetry. Lots of it. Would that more teachers followed her example!
“The Corruption Before Trump.” Ross Douthat considers the opportunities the American empire provides for public “servants” to line their pockets. Perhaps this empire is too big—and too corrupt—not to fail.
“Going Home.” Brian Miller muses over three over-ripe pears and stories from the past.
“‘Out here, it’s just me’: In the Medical Desert of Rural America, One Doctor for 11,000 Square Miles.” Eli Saslow reports on the challenges that rural inhabitants face in trying to get medical care.
“The Delusion and Danger of Infinite Economic Growth.” Christopher F. Jones traces the history of “the fairytale of infinite growth” and suggests we would do well to once again account for natural limits.
“Marilynne Robinson’s Postmodern Humanism.” J. L. Wall compares Robinson’s new essays to Peter Lawler’s work and suggests both aim to respond to the modern condition of exile: “Taken to hypermodern extremes, the modern project moves away from the truly human, leaving us, in Robinson’s view, ‘shadowed by gloom, nostalgia, anomie, deracination, loss of faith, dehumanization, atomization, secularization, and assorted other afflictions of the same general kind.’ Lawler preferred a more concise description: homelessness.”
“‘Living Together Shouldn’t Put Us at War With One Another or With the Earth’.” Alyssa Battistoni interviews Jedediah Purdy about his new book and ecological politics: “I want a Wendell Berry reader to start out with me and see that caring for the world means being political at a global scale. I want a Greta-curious liberal or a well-meaning progressive to see that distribution and the built environment are at the heart of twenty-first-century environmental politics and that we have to fight over the conception of value in our economy. And I want to make the case to socialists that egalitarian politics is necessarily a radicalism about the planet itself and the ground on it.”
“Pro-Blood, Pro-Soil, Pro-Nation, Pro-Christianity.” The ties of blood and soil have been abused, but Matthew Loftus reminds us they are inescapable bonds that make us who we are, and we ought to respect them:
The fact that any man should be forced to travel halfway across the world to [feed his family], disrupting his relationship with blood and soil, is a travesty of the natural order. The reality that Western nations fear men doing so only demonstrates that we have built our political order on a house of cards. We quake at the possibility that the conditions we have sown in other places through our economic practices and warmongering might come to us through migration. We are hysterical at the possibility of reaping what we have sown.