“America’s Hidden Crisis of Power and Place.” In a long and important essay, David Fontana delves into “one of the most disconcerting, least-discussed aspects of our national political life: America is experiencing a political crisis rooted partly in the concept of place. Our political elite in both parties are disproportionately connected to a few neighborhoods in a few metropolitan areas that are distant and different from the places they are supposed to understand and govern. For too many of these people, the road to political influence involves effectively defecting from the places they know to the places where there are people it is important to know. That leaves many places in our country governed by strangers rather than neighbors — with disastrous consequences for American democracy.”
“In This House that I Call Home.” Bill Kauffman pens an ode to his house.
“Sustainable Infrastructure.” Wrath Of Gnon considers the traits of truly sustainable infrastructure: “Like the stone lined canals in Kyoto, the terraced rice fields of Java allowing for millennia of continuous rice growing, the sandstone aqueducts of Italy still able to transport water after two millennia, the ancient Greek amphitheater still in use for plays and concerts, the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen that haven’t been resurfaced in five hundred years, we need to go back to thinking about our infrastructure not in terms of five year plans and technical efficiency, but in long term sustainability. If a bridge cannot be built that will last a thousand years, why build it? Why not build one that will last, even if it will be a less efficient or more expensive in the short run?”
“American Agriculture Almost Ruined My Little English Farm. Now I’m Trying to Save It.” James Rebanks describes how his youthful impression of American industrial farming techniques gave way to disillusionment, but how regenerative agriculture sustains his hope today.
“On the Need for Regional American Cultures.” Anthony Hennen considers why regional awareness is so lacking in America: “Are people in Appalachia better off when they’re angry about something that happened in Florida? Are New Yorkers better for getting worked up over something in Nebraska?”
“Embodiment.” The summer issue of Comment Magazine is a good one. My print copy has arrived, and I’ve been enjoying the range of essays.
“How Washing Dishes Restored my Intellectual Life.” Zena Hitz praises leisure, an activity that can take many forms but is an endangered mode of life today: “The standard for success of an activity was enjoying oneself in fellowship with others; such endeavors included the arts and crafts projects that no one would ever buy, and musical performances whose value would evaporate at too great a distance from the campfire.”
“A Slug, a Spider, a Cave Cricket.” Brian Miller describes his experience with some recent WWOOFers.
“A Star of Hope in the Night of Tyranny.” Adam Seagrave writes in defense of the Greater Idaho Movement: “the more people govern themselves locally, the less they can be governed by distant rulers.”
“Michael Pollan Chickened Out on Opium Article.” Bill Lueders, editor of The Progressive, details a history of publications wrangling with the government over free speech. (Recommended by Jason Peters.)
“Hybrid Rye is Helping Farmers Fight ‘Superweeds’ Without Herbicide.” Brian Devore reports on how hybrid rye is turning out to be an effective partner in combating the ills caused by endless corn-and-soy production.
“The Grammar of Creation.” J. L. Wall draws on Jewish interpretive traditions to ponder God’s ongoing acts of creation and our participation in those acts.
“The Sinai Revolution and American Ordered Liberty.” Casey Chalk reviews Os Guinness’s The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom and finds his account of that conservative revolution to be helpful.
“Does Junior Know Best?” Esther O’Reilly praises Matthew Mehan’s new children’s book: “As a team, Mehan and Folley set a high bar of craftsmanship, refusing to talk down to their target audience and weaving layers of detail into each stroke of pen and brush.”
“Coffee With Colleen.” Bill Kauffman relates the wonders of a local restaurateur. May her tribe flourish.