Ending America’s Antisocial Contract.” Ron Ivey and Tim Shirk warn that American policies which incentivize hoarding capital contribute to social and economic instability: “If our antisocial contract has led to wealth hoarding, lower productivity growth, and precarious financial situations for America’s working families—but also to political risk for even the wealthy—how do we fix it together? How do we turn the policy dials so that the average American can find the dignity of work, financial stability for their family, and pathways to flourish in their communities?” They offer several policy recommendations in response.

They’re Spawning! Researchers Celebrate the Return of Native Lake Trout to Lake Erie.” John Hayes reports on some good news about conservation efforts in the Great Lakes.

The Nation’s First Regenerative Dairy Works with Nature to Heal the Soil—at Scale.” Gosia Wozniacka shows how some dairy farmers are changing their methods to lower costs, improve their soil, and provide healthier milk.

All Agree: Better Voting Access and Security Are Needed.” Tony Woodlief cuts through the partisan posturing regarding election reform: “while our two major parties have positioned the battle over election laws as a contest between ballot access and ballot security, Americans want both, and do not consider strides toward one to come at the expense of the other. Thus do three-quarters say both that voting should be made easier and that people should be required to show a photo ID before voting.”

How the Pandemic Is Changing the Norms of Science.” John P.A. Ioannidis assesses how science has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune during COVID-tide.

History’s Undying Penalty.” Richard M. Gamble reviews Alan Taylor’s American Republics and warns against simplistic modes of doing history: “Academic historians busy constructing the new grand narrative of racism bear all the marks of the old Whigs. They keep one eye on the present, they search for origins rather than mediation points, they choose evidence that fits their assumptions, they moralize relentlessly, and believe they are on the right side of history. While Whigs a century ago looked for who to praise for the blessings of the present, today’s Whigs look for who to blame for the horrors of our time. They act as prosecuting attorneys addressing a jury of readers, summing up the evidence for their side, and pushing for a guilty verdict. No balance. No measure. No proportion.”

Sounds of My Father.” Brian Miller recalls three memories to honor the life of his father.

Why Playing Pokémon GO is a Bit like Being a Subject of an Authoritarian Government.” The title of Addison Del Mastro’s essay might seem like a stretch, but his analysis of different modes of communication and control is pretty convincing: “The ‘social credit’ model of behavioral engineering and policymaking, then, represents not necessarily authoritarianism per se, but technocracy: a mechanism by which experts and policymakers are given free reign to engage directly in social engineering. It would be foolish to think that this is somehow a foreign or a “Chinese” concept. There are plenty of American policymakers and institutions for whom it would be right at home. (Ever heard of Cass Sunstein’s Nudge?) As much as it may be tyrannical, this is, admittedly, preferable to iron-fisted authoritarianism. It might even be fun. It represents, however, the gamification of citizenship and civic life itself.”

Risk and Duty: A Conservative Argument for Getting Vaccinated.” Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate seems like a bad idea politically, rhetorically, and legally, but Tim Carney makes a duty-based case for getting vaccinated: “That doesn’t mean that your choices can’t be judged and questioned by others, or that it’s nobody else’s business whether you get vaccinated. ‘My body, my choice’ is a juvenile and oversimplistic argument in the abortion debate, and it’s also too simplistic for the COVID vaccine debate.”

The Rise of At-Home Hydroponic Gardens.” I don’t love the consumerist vibes of these products; how many will still be in use five years from now? But Bridget Shirvell makes a good case that they can involve more people in the process of growing their own food.

Why Working-Class Parents Don’t Buy What D.C. Is Selling.” Patrick Brown reports the findings from a set of Institute for Family Studies focus groups: “My ideal form of child benefit would look like the one proposed by Senator Mitt Romney this year, which would streamline the tangle of tax code provisions for families into one monthly benefit. But it’s clear from talking to working-class parents that they want something more from family policy than just a check. They want to feel that their benefits were earned. If politicians want expanded child benefits to stick, they need to listen to the families that will benefit most.”

What American Conservatives See in Hungary’s Leader.” Benjamin Wallace-Wells talks with Rod Dreher and others about Viktor Orbán and what lessons Americans might learn from European political and religious debates.

‘It’s just wrong’: Internal Fight over Sierra Club Founder’s Racial Legacy Roils Organization.” Zack Colman tries to make sense of the debates around John Muir’s legacy that have erupted in the Sierra Club.

Arriving Today: How Global Logistics are Building the Modern World and Explain Amazon and McMansions.” John W. Miller reviews a new book by Christopher Mims and reflects on the varied impacts that our global supply chains have on particular places.

How the Bible Means.” Doug Sikkema wrestles with the right relationship between head and heart, right thinking and right feeling, in our reading of literature and scripture.

Agrarian Literary League.” Virginia Berry Aguilar talks about the importance of communal reading in this Berry Center lecture. She also announces the next book that the Agrarian Literary League will be reading together: Berry’s Fidelity.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. On hydroponics: get yourself a few pots and put them near a window that gets sun, fill them with dirt, plant lettuce seed. Consumerist vibe indeed!
    But, Dear J. B, do tell us you are not reading Modern Farmer, that printed shill for our techno-overlords, influencers, and those who wish their spouse and children looked better?

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