“Working Together.” Gracy Olmstead’s March newsletter relates the myriad benefits of working—and feasting—alongside friends.
“Uyghurs for Sale.” Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Danielle Cave, James Leibold, Kelsey Munro, and Nathan Ruser report on evidence that China is using Uyghurs, held against their will, to work in factories that manufacture many American commodities:
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has identified 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that are using Uyghur labour transferred from Xinjiang since 2017. Those factories claim to be part of the supply chain of 83 well-known global brands. Between 2017 and 2019, we estimate that at least 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang and assigned to factories through labour transfer programs under a central government policy known as ‘Xinjiang Aid’ (援疆).
“Coronavirus Lockdown Is A ‘Living Hell.’” A Wuhan resident writes a personal account of what it’s like in that town: “A secure life is not an option with a political system that does not give us freedom to speak out and that does not communicate with us truthfully.”
“How Bad Is the Coronavirus? Let’s Run the Numbers.” There are bazillions of takes on the coronavirus, but Justin Fox’s seems level-headed. He also highlights the political and communal dimensions of our response to risk: “Weighing whether the costs of a particular intervention are worth the benefits is at heart a political decision.”
“Champagne Flute with an Iron Spine.” Eve Tushnet considers a set of reactionary novels published between the 1930s and the 1960s: “If there is a lineage of reactionary novels, it tells the transition from premodern to modern not as the triumph of humanism, but as the loss of the human.”
“Classical Education is Countercultural. It’s Time to Bring it Back.” Matthew Walz praises classical education, which is not mere information delivery or skill transmission, but an invitation to contemplate and embody beauty.
“How ‘Historic’ Are We? Or Going Off-Script in the Age of Trump.” Andrew Bacevich draws on Daniel Boorstin’s classic analysis to argue that “rarely has the gap between hype and actual historical substance been so vast.” Yet when pseudo-events go wrong, when the hype is exposed as empty, we are reminded that so many of the affairs we are told are historic and news-worthy are not worth our attention at all.
“The Two Middle Classes.” Joel Kotkin claims that the concentration of wealth is squeezing out the traditional middle class—the “property-owning yeomanry”—in favor of the clersy, comprised of “the media, the entertainment industry, academia.” Kotkin warns that “we may be heading towards a technocratic future, that as one Silicon Valley wag put it, resembles ‘feudalism with better marketing.’”
“Must Growth Doom the Planet?” Ted Nordhaus reviews Vaclav Smil’s Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities and makes a nuanced critique of certain kinds of Malthusian thinking: “Practically, the limits to growth that human societies are likely to face, and in places like Japan are already facing, will be social and economic, not biophysical.”
“‘Britain Doesn’t Need Farmers’, Leaked Emails Claim.” Glen Owen reports on emails written by one of Boris Johnson’s advisers who believes that Britain can, like Singapore, just import its food. What could go wrong?
“Inside the Rural Resistance to CAFOs.” Lisa Held talks with neighbors of CAFOs who are doing what they can to stop the growth of these inhumane, destructive facilities.
“Embers for the Blaze of Wonder.” Ragan Sutterfield reviews Brian Doyle’s One Long River of Song. Doyle was a master, wondrously-baroque essayist, and while I’ve read many of his essays, I’m sure this collection includes ones I’ve missed. (His novel Mink River is also a delight.)
“Nations and Nation-States: A Question for National Conservatives.” Jake Meador asks some important questions about how well Yoram Hazony’s work on nationalism applies outside of a European context.