“The Distance from Our Food.” Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft makes a nuanced case for moving eating withing a circle of moral regard. In other words, eating animals and plants we know personally changes our relation to the places and creatures on which our lives depend: “Distance does not necessarily make us cruel; nor does proximity automatically make us kind. But their respective aid to cruelty and kindness is amply attested.”
“Among the Post-Liberals.” Writing in Dissent, Daniel Luban reviews Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed and two other books. It’s a snarky essay, and his tone grates at points, but his conclusion merits consideration:
None of liberalism’s current critics have pointed to an alternative that is both normatively attractive and entirely non-liberal, and I doubt that we should hold our breath for the emergence of one. The starkest alternative to liberalism currently on offer is not democracy, or socialism, or communitarianism—all of whose tensions with liberalism, however real, are likely not irreconcilable—but an authoritarian capitalism that is equally opposed to all of these possibilities. The pressing task is to figure out what resources any of them might offer for avoiding such a future.
“Charles Portis, Elusive Author of ‘True Grit,’ Dies at 86.” Roy Reed describes the life and work of the Arkansas author.
“How Political Parties Kill Our Commitment to the Good.” Gracy Olmstead considers how we might maintain our loyalty to the good rather than to a particular political party or group.
“The Return of Conservative Economics.” Oren Cass is launching American Compass, an organization that will advocate for policies that would reduce economic inequality and support workers.
“Common Good Capitalism: An Interview with Marco Rubio.” The new issue of American Affairs is out, and it’s headlined by a long, interesting interview with Marco Rubio.
“Would Chesterton Be a Bernie Bro?” Grayson Quay writes about the surprising parallels between G.K. Chesterton and Bernie Sanders, though he also outlines the areas in which they remain at odds.
“Faith and Works and the Novel.” Trevor C. Merrill reviews Joseph Bottum’s The Decline of the Novel. Perhaps the novel is no longer an essential art form because faith—particularly a Protestant, individualized faith—no longer animates public discourse.
“Greatness, Marginalization, and an Endangered Species: Dana Gioia’s The Catholic Writer Today and Other Essays.” Jane Greer considers Gioia’s recent collection of critical essays and the shape of a Catholic imagination.
“Beauty.” Dana Gioia reflects on the meaning and experience of beauty. This well-produced video not only offers an accessible introduction to beauty, it draws on Gioia’s definition of beauty to address questions such as, Why is our democracy faltering? Does it matter if our public buildings and spaces are utilitarian and ugly?
“Love Which May Curse.” Jane Zwart reviews Christian Wiman’s new collection of poems, Survival Is a Style: “his attention, even at its most cutting, is a species of love.”
“Flannery O’Connor’s Good Things.” James Matthew Wilson reviews a new collection of O’Connor’s letters that sheds light on the community of Catholic writers in mid-century America.
“Farming Isn’t an Information Age Skill.” Gracy Olmstead wasn’t impressed by Michael Bloomberg’s dismissive comments about farming. As she argues, good farming is an art, a craft; as such, we replace it with technologies only at great cost to land, people, and animals.
“The Philosopher’s Mind at its End.” Mark Dooley reflects on Roger Scruton’s death and his life-long devotion to defining and defending the sacred.
“Failures in Moderation.” Titus Techera reviews Yuval Levin’s A Time to Build and commends his call for moderating institutions. (Recommended by Jason Peters.)