The Trees at the Heart of Creation.” Andrew Peterson and Tim Mackie (from the Bible Project) talk about the role of trees in the biblical narrative and the implications we should draw from this for how we interact with and care for trees.

The Reactionary Trap.” Seth Moskowitz offers some reasons that thoughtful people fall into simplistic, reactionary thinking. In particular, he identifies two intellectual mistakes:

  • Becoming so preoccupied with who or what they are against that the foundation of their politics is reflexive opposition rather than first principles or reason.
  • Vastly inflating the threat of whatever it is that they oppose, driving responses disproportionate to the scale of the harms they critique.

The Tranquility and Wisdom of Old Books.” Joy Clarkson talks with Alan Jacobs about reading old books: “As things get more and more intense politically, there is a greater and greater need for stepping back and immersing yourself in something that is more likely to give you tranquility rather than an ulcer.”

Restless Hearts in America.” Nathaniel Peters reviews Benjamin and Jenna Storey’s Why We Are Restless, which offers ways of cultivating the moral imagination that can “shape the political prudence we need for navigating our restless age, both personally and as a society.”

Faith Leads Doctor Back to Zimbabwe.” It’s not always easy to return home after getting an education. Ryan Truscott reports on one doctor from Zimbabwe who did so despite very challenging circumstances.

The U.S. Government is Boycotting the Beijing Olympics over Human Rights. Coke and Airbnb are Still on Board.” Jeanne Whalen reports on the selective nature of corporate moral activism. When Chinese money is at stake, few companies are willing to take an ethical stand. Josh Rogin offers further evidence that money apparently overrides any worries about being complicit in genocide.

School Closures Were a Catastrophe. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It.” Jonathan Chait doesn’t mince words: “It is now indisputable, and almost undisputed, that the year and a quarter of virtual school imposed devastating consequences on the students who endured it. Studies have found that virtual school left students nearly half a year behind pace, on average, with the learning loss falling disproportionately on low-income, Latino, and Black students. Perhaps a million students functionally dropped out of school altogether. . . . The damage to a generation of children’s social development and educational attainment, and particularly to the social mobility prospects of its most marginalized members, will be irrecoverable. It is nearly as clear that these measures did little to contain the pandemic.” (Recommended by Matt Stewart.)

New Life In New York’s Stead.” Despite being a decidedly agrarian outfit, FPR is not anti-city. We all benefit from healthy, vibrant cities. But two recent reports paint pictures of ill health. Sarah Soltis reflects on a recent visit to New York City, considers the effects of its COVID-induced deflation, and turns to Wendell Berry for the possibility of a renewal of local cultures: “Love of the good and of home—not love of the loud nor of the culturally relevant, not love of a dead and distant city—will resurrect our cultural and communal imagination.”

Rolling On.” And Joseph Keegin mourns the way in which living in Chicago has become a lonely, antisocial experience.

When Masking and Vaxxing Threaten a Friendship.” In a beautiful essay, Jamie Santa Cruz narrates the lessons she’s learned from friendships strained by COVID politics.

The Texas Electric Grid Failure Was a Warm-up.” Russell Gold takes stock of what went wrong last year when Texas’s power grid shut down during a cold snap. Apparently, it was almost much, much worse. And very little has been done to prevent such a failure from happening again.

How a Powerful Company Persuaded Georgia to Let it Bury Toxic Waste in Groundwater.” Max Blau reports on ways that Georgia Power has stored coal ash in unlined ponds, leaving nearby residents vulnerable to contaminated well water.

The Rise of the Interloping Radicals.” Tony Woodlief has some sage words regarding outside agitators: “So much rides on the ability of American communities to resist being sucked into tribal battles originating within our nation’s political class.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture