“Arguing with Success.” Rory Groves writes about how his dissatisfaction with the business model of the tech industry led him on a quest for more meaningful work: “Weary (and wary) of the technology industry’s addiction to obsolescence, I began to research more durable ways to work. Historically, professions lasted hundreds of years and were passed down in the same family from one generation to the next. Today, the average worker will change careers every five years. Was it possible, in our day, for families to work together and build something that would last?” Rory also talked about his book with the Townsends.
“Atlanta Has Created the Largest Free Food Forest in the Country.” Lindsay Campbell reports on a seven-acre patch of land in Atlanta that has been turned into a “food forest,” also called a “forest garden,” which is a “low-maintenance, sustainable arrangement … of edible plants … designed to mimic natural ecosystems.”
“Wall Street’s Rental Gambit.” In this essay, adapted from his new book Underwater: How Our American Dream of Home Ownership Became a Nightmare, Ryan Dezember explores the consequences of large investors snapping up more and more single family homes.
“5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating.” Zeynep Tufekci has an important essay exploring why our society struggles to weigh risks wisely and why experts have a difficult time communicating needed information:
The pandemic has given us an unwelcome societal stress test, revealing the cracks and weaknesses in our institutions and our systems. Some of these are common to many contemporary problems, including political dysfunction and the way our public sphere operates. Others are more particular, though not exclusive, to the current challenge—including a gap between how academic research operates and how the public understands that research, and the ways in which the psychology of coping with the pandemic have distorted our response to it.
“Forming Redemptive Communities Outside the Digital Public Sphere.” This essay, adapted from my forthcoming book, kicks off a Theopolis Conversation on the topic of the news. In the coming weeks, others will be responding to this piece, and in a month or so I’ll write a response to the responses. I’m looking forward to learning from some wise people about a very fraught topic.
“Is Substack the Panacea Local News is Looking For?” Elizabeth Djinis considers how Substack might reshape the local news industry.
“An Interview with James Rebanks.” Pippa Marland interviews James Rebanks about his vision for farming literature and his ambitions as a writer.
“Why the Farmers Are Angry.” Jo McGowan delves into the ongoing protests against new laws passed by the Indian government: “Overall, these three laws invite large players into a fragmented and deregulated market, leaving farmers to fend for themselves against predatory agribusiness.”
“Wes Jackson: How to Respect One’s Tools.” Robert Jensen interviews Wes Jackson about his long and winding “career” and the motivations that have guided his work with the Land Institute.
“We Need to Get Food Industry Dollars Out of Politics to Save Our Democracy.” Lucy Martinez Sullivan charts the massive sums of money Big Food spends on US politics: “Putting America’s food policy in the hands of the world’s largest food corporations and their trade associations ensures that corporate profits are prioritized over public health and well-being.”
“Five Steps for Revitalizing Conservatism.” Mark Mitchell offers five suggestions for a renewed conservatism, and he begins with an important question: “Why do self-identified conservatives seem so uninterested in conserving? To ask the question is to probe the heart of the problem.”
“Expanding the Canon of Conservatism.” Michael Kimmage reviews Andrew Bacevich’s new Library of American anthology, American Conservatism: Reclaiming an Intellectual Tradition.
“Granola.” This month’s installment of Gracy Olmstead’s newsletter includes her reflections on telling regional stories and an excerpt from her forthcoming book. Over the next couple of weeks, FPR will publish two reviews of her book; suffice it to say, it’s well-worth reading.
“Look Back for the Future of Conservative Environmentalism.” In his cover story for The American Conservative, Micah Meadowcroft outlines a possible conservative agenda for the environment: “Conservatives, it turns out, are bad at talking about the environment. It has mostly been ceded territory, hic sunt dracones, its mapping abandoned to the left. Which is a shame, because there should not be a tension between human flourishing and the ecosystems of which we are a part. We should be able to, as the EPA is tasked with doing, ‘protect human health and the environment.’”
“Jeff Polet, Localism, Kirk, and the ‘Founding.’” Johnny Burtka and James Davenport talk with Jeff Polet about FPR, the tensions between localism and nationalism, and the question of whether America had a founding.
“The Russell Kirk Center at 25.” George H. Nash reflects on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal: “In some, ineffable way the environment at Piety Hill and the seminars that occur there convey and cultivate a sense of community, which most visitors find very appealing. Here one can read without distraction and converse without ideological polemics. It is a place conducive to the pursuit of cultural renewal.”
“Don’t Immanentize the Eschaton: Against Right-Wing Gnosticism.” Joshua Pauling draws on Eric Voegelin to warn against investing ultimate hopes in earthly politics.
“Single Mothers’ Attitudes About Work and Motherhood.” Amber Lapp talks with several working mothers and reflects on how we think about the goods of work: “There’s also something strange about a conversation that sometimes fixates on increasing the labor force participation of a group of mothers that, when compared with their married and cohabiting peers, is already disproportionately attached to the workforce.”
“A New Progressive Era?: A Conversation with Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett.” Gregor Baszak interviews Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett about their new book. A taste from Putnam: “ If our analysis in The Upswing is right, where we ought to see change first is not in the White House or for that matter in the cabinets; we ought to see the change occurring first at the level of the grassroots. It ought to be occurring in who shows up to demonstrate. It ought to be showing up in local groups of citizens, probably bipartisan or nonpartisan folks, who get together in Duluth or in Mobile, Alabama, or in New Hampshire or in Springfield, Missouri, or wherever. That’s where local leaders ought to get together.”