As I try to do each year, I’ll be taking a break from the internet for a couple of weeks. FPR will continue publishing under the able guidance of Matt Stewart while I’m offline, but these weekly Water Dipper posts will be on hiatus until the beginning of August. In the meantime, feel free to email me any worthy essays that are published while I’m away.

Why Some State Universities are Seeing an Influx.” Anemona Hartocollis reports that more students are choosing to forego an elite institution and study closer to home: “As the pandemic erodes the economy and civil unrest sweeps the country, colleges are seeing renewed success in their efforts to reverse years of brain drain, with students responding to a new focus on basics, like family and community, over prestige.”

The Rebirth of the Left-Conservative Tradition.” Eric Kaufmann narrates the history of the left-conservative tradition and suggests its time may have come again. (Recommended by Russell Fox.)

Riding the Protest Wave: How Elites Will Co-opt BLM.” Chris Arnade continues his excellent work at American Compass: “These elites are going to turn down the volume and rewrite the lyrics, to make this moment about them, turning it corporate, eventually watering it down into a plastic wrist band they can wear, or a book they can write. A diversity day at a company that evicts poor blacks.”

Time’s Up: Chinese-Owned TikTok Has Some Explaining to Do.” Ashkhen Kazaryan cautions that users of the newly-popular social media platform TikTok should be aware of how their data may be used.

The End of Equality.” Jeffrey Polet warns that “the substitution of ‘equity’ for ‘equality’ has serious consequences.”

The New Truth.” Jacob Siegel addresses the challenges that our political moment poses to weighing the evidence carefully and engaging in nuanced dialogue: “Moral revolutions cannot tolerate ambiguity, but there is so much that I’m not sure of. How does one argue with this new form of truth?”

Our Cities Need Artists Now More than Ever. Here’s Why.” Sunia Gibbs and Steve MacDouell describe the benefits that local, public art can bring to their communities.

In Public Lands Is the Preservation of the Republic.” Jason Mark reflects on the unifying possibilities of America’s public lands. (Recommended by John de Graaf.)

Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Other Billionaires Invest in Environmentally-Friendly Artificial Breast Milk Cultured From Human Mammary.” Apparently, as Carla Simmons reports, investing in artificially produced breast milk is a way to fight climate change—and maybe make a lot of money.

How Flannery O’Connor Fought Racism.” Jessica Hooten Wilson examines O’Connor’s work and life and argues that “through her fiction, [she] exorcised the demons that possessed her.” Amy Alznauer offers a similar perspective on O’Connor and criticizes Paul Elie’s essay in the New Yorker for ignoring the long, ongoing discussion of race among O’Connor scholars and readers.

Yes, the Freedmen’s Memorial Uses Racist Imagery. But Don’t Tear it Down.” David W. Blight, who wrote a superb biography of Frederick Douglass, recounts the moving history of this monument and suggests alternatives to its destruction.

Our Politics Will Improve When We Turn Off Our Phones.” Casey Chalk draws on Alexis de Tocqueville to suggest some activities that would improve our civic health.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. There is no such thing as left-conservatism unless like Humpty Dumpty you believe that you can use words to mean whatever you want rather than what they actually are agreed to mean.
    (Also, the notion that in America there is any meaningful “leftist economics” power base is rather undercut by the fact that the Democrats have pinned a huge fraction of their growth hopes the last few years on the repeal of the SALT deduction that only impacts a tiny amount of very wealthy (and VERY white) people in a few states.)

    • “There is no such thing as left-conservatism”

      What then would you call people who lean left economically but are more conservative socially and/or nationally — i.e., what they call in England and Canada “Red Tories”?

      • It depends what you mean by “lean left economically”–do you just mean higher taxes? Because that doesn’t make someone left.
        Plenty of conservatives want to upend the current economic system through things like distributism, agrarianism, etc., but that doesn’t make them left.

        • I think that if you’re to any degree critical of capitalism at a fundamental level you are to that degree more or less “left,” at least economically. I grant the inexactness of the term, but that’s no less true for “right.”

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