“Rewilding Food, Rewilding Farming.” Vandana Shiva argues that we need to improve farming, not get rid of it: “The notion that high-tech ‘farm free’ lab food will save the planet is simply a continuation of the same mechanistic mindset which has brought us to where we are today—the idea that we are separate from and outside of nature.”
“Why Protecting Rivers is a Conservative Cause.” Gracy Olmstead defends the Clean Water Act on conservative principles. You can tell what we value “by what we maintain: by the health, life, and goodness that remain in place.”
“The Many Polarizations of America.” Ross Douthat synthesizes the narratives told by three recent books about the last 60 years in American political and cultural life.
“‘Gates Ag One’: One More Push to Get Farmers into High Tech.” Grain reports on Bill Gates continued efforts to get new agricultural technologies into Africa: “Why is it that small farmers in Africa don’t readily jump on what Gates is offering them? Perhaps it’s because the ‘solutions’ Gates is offering isn’t really helping them. Perhaps it doesn’t fit into their farming systems, or just doesn’t meet their needs.”
“‘Impossible Whopper’ Shouldn’t Replace Your Hamburger.” Americans’ enormous appetite for meat and our unhealthy system of raising animals has led some to go vegan or turn to meat substitutes. Gracy Olmstead critiques CAFOs but reminds us that livestock play a vital role in any healthy ecosystem.
“On the Hatred of Literature.” Jon Baskin diagnosis the ills that beset contemporary teachers of literature (and, indeed, many humanities professors): they hate literature. “But when we read something that moves us to tears or laughter, pity or terror, conviction or bewilderment, it is because it reminds us that the “real” is not always disenchanted, our lives not always reducible to the conditions of their possibility.”
“Dana Gioia: A Poet Who Combines Sarcasm and Song.” Matthew Brennan surveys the work and words of one of America’s best living poets.
“Jeremy Beer’s ‘Oscar Charleston’ wins 2020 SABR Seymour Medal.” Apparently all the baseball games that Jeremy Beer watches helped him to write a pretty good book.
“Speaking Power to Truth.” Patrick Porter reviews Samantha Power’s memoir and is not impressed by her failure to question her interventionist ideals, regardless of their consequences. No matter what happens, her “faith that the US should remain a globe-straddling colossus, using its military might to rescue others and spread liberal light, is undimmed.”
“Brexit Is a Disaster. I Found the Silver Lining.” When property is an investment, it’s not a home. Henry Wismayer writes that as housing prices around London have fallen in the wake of Brexit, mobility has also declined: “The city’s cosmopolitans, liberated from the cold gospel of market maximalization, are learning what it is to put down roots.”
“Brexit Is Discrediting the EU.” Speaking of Brexit, Michael Brendan Dougherty doesn’t think it’s shaping up to be a disaster at all.
“The Cancer Chair.” Christian Wiman challenges us not to evade suffering, but to confront it: “There is no (true) joy without suffering and there is no (meaningful) suffering without joy.”