“Jason Peters Writes to Entertain his Friends and Exasperate his Enemies.” Bill Kauffman is the perfect reviewer for Jason’s new book. Read the review, then read the book: “Peters, the beloved Bar Jester of the localist website Front Porch Republic, has had the charmingly poor timing to publish the funniest book you’ll read — or ought to read — all year, just at a time when wit, ever distrusted, is on its way to being outlawed.”
“Podcast from the Prairie—Episode 1: ‘Intellectual Grounding.’” Robert Jensen interviews Wes Jackson about his life and work.
“I Have Seen the Toxic Horror of American Farming.” James Rebanks argues Britain shouldn’t join American in the race to maximize agricultural “efficiency” and pollution.
“Today’s Mob Mentality Politics: Just Deny It, and Keep Moving.” Justin E. Giboney writes about why so much partisan discourse lacks nuance and doesn’t even try to articulate the truth: “In this truth-deficient dialogue, facts and principles are inconveniences — unless they can be weaponized. Only the narrative seems to matter. Our pride and prejudices compel us to take sides and defend them, come hell or high water. If one thing is clear about the American public discourse today, it’s that we’re totally ill-equipped or unwilling to engage in honest debate.”
“What it Takes to Preserve Friendship Amid Deep Divisions over Politics and COVID-19.” Brandon McGinley praises the virtue of affability: “when friendship can only withstand the barest of differences, like favorite colors and pizza toppings, then something is wrong. Community isn’t possible when we only tolerate unanimity, when we only want to be friends with slightly altered versions of ourselves.”
“Portland: On the Ground.” Patrick Tomassi talks to protesters in Portland (and Denver) to try to discern whether these nightly protests help actual Black people or whether they just cause destruction and amplify partisan grievances.
“Conservatives Should Ensure Workers a Seat at the Table.” The American Compass lays out a conservative case for ensuring workers have real power in negotiating with owners: “In a well-functioning and competitive market, participants meet as equals able to advance their interests through mutually beneficial relationships.”
“Labor Day Celebrates Earning a Living, but Remember what Work Really Means.” Richard Gunderman commends Simone Weil’s holistic view of work: “Weil looked at work as more than an exchange of money for labor. She argued that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of labor itself. From her perspective, money does not solve the core problems of joblessness. Instead, work provides vital opportunities to live more fully by helping others.”
“The Cassiodorus Necessity.” Richard Gibson praises the obscure but vital work of transmitting the past to the next generation. We need a living memory of what has gone before and what has been tried in order to discern how we should act now; this view of education is starkly different from the career-oriented view that prevails now. Gibson commends Cassiodorus as a model of such work.
“Percy and Pence and the American Sense of Scripture.” Jessica Hooten Wilson draws on Walker Percy to critique Mike Pence’s recent “failed attempt at civic religion.”
“Joe Biden Should Pledge to Create a National Office of Rural Prosperity.” Matt Hildreth argues that “politicians from both parties have largely ignored the true concerns of many rural voters. And that’s more true now, under the Trump Administration, than ever before.”
“‘I Heard Popping And Houses Blowing Up’: Unprecedented Wildfires Rage On West Coast.” Bill Chappell reports on the fires raging across the western states.
“How to Read Fewer Books.” Alain de Botton critiques the “maximalist philosophy of reading” and recommends slow, deep reading.
“Nature Matrix.” On September 16, Elliot Bay Books is hosting (digitally) a conversation between Robert Michael Pyle and Scott Russell Sanders about their new books. (Recommended by Jason Peters.)