“Regeneration.” Plough Quarterly is publishing a special digital issue over the next several weeks with responses from a very promising lineup of authors. One excellent place to start is with Bill McKibben’s contribution. But don’t miss Deanna Briody on the goods—and limits—of digitally-mediated relationships, which she compares to “tinned fruit.”
“As Amazon Rises, So Does the Opposition.” In the New York Times, David Streitfeld profiles Stacy Mitchell and her work with the Institute of Local Self-Reliance in critiquing Amazon’s monopolistic abuses.
“End the Globalization Gravy Train.” J.D. Vance mounts a blistering critique of globalization and the “Conservative Inc.” donor class that has reaped its benefits. He goes on to make several helpful policy proposals.
“The Pandemic Isn’t a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System.” Bernard Avishai interviews Nassim Nicholas Taleb about COVID-19 and risk. Taleb advocates for an “antifragile country [that] would encourage the distribution of power among smaller, more local, experimental, and self-sufficient entities—in short, build a system that could survive random stresses, rather than break under any particular one.”
“Lockdowns Don’t Work.” Lyman Stone compares death rates in regions with and without lockdowns and concludes that while many policies do limit the spread of the coronavirus—things like “masks, central quarantines, travel restrictions, school cancellations, large-assembly limits”—total lockdowns don’t appear to offer slow its spread any more than these less-restrictive policies.
“Coronavirus at Meatpacking Plants Worse than First Thought, USA TODAY Investigation Finds.” In a chilling report, Kyle Bagenstose, Sky Chadde and Matt Wynn write about the inhumane and unsafe conditions in meat processing plants: “experts say there’s little risk of a dwindling protein supply because, given the choice between worker safety and keeping meat on grocery shelves, the nation’s slaughterhouses will choose to produce food.” In other news, the local farmers we buy eggs and grass-fed beef from haven’t had any coronavirus-related interruptions.
“Multinational Meat Companies Could Be Making Us Sick.” Austin Frerick and Charlie Mitchell concur that COVID-19 gives us just one more reason why CAFOs need to be banned.
“Reframing American History.” Andrew Bacevich finds an interesting and important insight in the midst of the rather predictable debate over the 1619 project. While he agrees with most historians that its history is flawed, he notes that its revisionist narrative exposes the weakness of the standard liberal American story: “The 1619 Project represents a first step toward disenthralling ourselves from an imagined past of America as history’s designated instrument of liberation.”
“Where Will You Live in the Post Covid-19 Future?” James Howard Kunstler suggests small towns and cities will be increasingly attractive in the wake of this pandemic.
“Lockdown Interview with Patrick Deneen in Indiana USA.” Jack Aldane discusses COVID-19 with Patrick, and they consider what it reveals about our culture and economy and what long-term effects it might have.
“Joy Clarkson Interviews Gracy Olmstead.” Joy and Gracy discuss Wendell Berry, attending to your place during the coronavirus, and the problem of plant blindness.
“How to Identify Today’s Conservative Thinkers.” Gracy Olmstead also recommends the work of several living—as well as some from previous generations—conservative writers. If you’re looking for reading recommendations, this list is a great place to begin.
“Earth Day 2020: Toward a Humane Environmentalism.” Andrew Spencer traces the unfortunately polarized history of Earth Day and critiques the misanthropic bent of much environmentalist rhetoric: “The problem is not that there are too many humans, it is that humans are using too much of the wrong resources in the wrong ways.”
“An Impresario of the Landscape.” In this excerpt from his new book, Stephen Heyman recounts the remarkable achievements of novelist and farmer Louis Bromfield. (Recommended by Jason Peters.)
“Romantic Subversion: The Forgotten Life and Work of Novelist Sigrid Undset.” Lars Walker describes the life and work of this Nobel-Prize winning Norwegian novelist: “Sigrid Undset possessed courage of a rare and exalted sort: the courage to admit when one has been wrong and to convert, literally to ‘turn around.’”