Public Writing, Fences, and Neighbors

Photo by George W. Ackerman

Democrats are Kicking Rural America to the Curb. Again.” Art Cullen gives Democrats a tongue-lashing for their plans to change the primary schedule and give less influence to rural voters in Iowa and elsewhere: “Iowa, like Ohio, used to be purple. Now both are ruby red, in part because Democrats have been kicking rural America to the curb over the past 30 years. The DNC sees its future in the cities; that helps explain why voters in both states have paid them back in kind. Farm bills written by Democrats and Republicans leave fewer farmers on despoiled land. Rural Iowa withers.”

The Perils of Public Writing.” In a thoughtful, soul-searching essay, Elizabeth Corey probes why writers want to write and why scholarly publishing is being shunned for more public venues: “Today’s writers might also do well to remember that those parts of life that are published are often but small affairs compared to the more meaningful events that take place outside of the limelight, with no audience, no reader engagement, and no need of reporting.”

Why I’m Staying in Kyiv.” Veronika Melkozerova pens a moving ode to her beloved home: “I felt, almost physically, how deep my roots have grown into my native city. That is why I can’t leave it. Because if Vladimir Putin uproots us all, he will win. Every other Russian attack that strikes a residential building or a kindergarten or a maternity hospital is aimed to scare us, to cut our roots, to force us to leave or die if we don’t submit to the Kremlin’s dictator.”

Young Republicans Embrace Climate Care.” Esther Eaton writes about some conservatives, including FPR contributor and the host of the Brass Spittoon podcast John Murdock, who advocate for policies and lifestyles that aim to restore ecological health.

Holding It All Together: How Faith and Literature Respond to a Fragmented World.” Gregory Wolfe interviews Rowan Williams about his recent plays, what the genre of drama can accomplish, and the imagination of David Jones.

How to Build a Fence.” Jonathan Kirk Brooks narrates his experience in learning the art of fence building—and the arts of neighborliness, handwork, and thrift.

A New Approach to Keep Former Foster Youth from Facing Food Insecurity.” Lela Nargi reports on the challenges that foster children face when they age out of the program without learning the arts of growing or shopping for or preparing their own food.

America’s Approach to Energy Security Is Broken.” Robinson Meyer details how the war in Ukraine foregrounds America’s failure to act on a prudent strategy to achieve energy independence.

Consent is Not Enough. We Need a New Sexual Ethic.” Christine Emba draws on Aquinas and others to argue that, when it comes to our sexual ethics, “consent was always the floor — it never should have been the ceiling.” Stay tuned for FPR’s review of her new book.

Live Closer to Home.” Scott Hubbard challenges us to focus our attention near at hand, and he provides some suggestions for doing so: “If we live within our limits, prioritizing the near over the far, we may need to die some small deaths. But if we prioritize the far over the near, the people around us will need to. How, then, might we devote our far-flung focus closer to home?”

We Live in a Nation of Strangers. That Needs to Change.” Daniel Cox challenges Americans to get out from behind their screens and meet their neighbors: “while social networking sites may be a great way to interact with strangers, they are a poor way to get to know someone.”

Invasion of the Fact-Checkers.” Jacob Siegel’s in-depth essay on the dangers of the fact-checking industry is rather bombastic at times, but the problem he identifies is real and is serious: “the same internet platforms that have turned journalism into a hollow shell while incentivizing the hyperpolarized clickbait that cratered public trust in the media, and which happen to be major donors to the Democratic Party with an existential interest in pleasing the government, are also the benefactors of a new meta-journalism that places itself above mere reporting as the final arbiter of what is true, while benefiting from labor costs that are a fraction of what was spent in traditional newsrooms.”

Sustaining Conversations.” Lucy Sablan and John White lead a conversation between Norman Wirzba and Mark Clavier about their new books, agrarianism, walking, and much more.

The Myth of our Coming National Divorce.” In an essay that dovetails with Robert Elder’s essay on secession, Tony Woodlief points to data indicating fears of a national breakup are mostly manufactured: “And why have Americans come to fear one another? Because pundits on left and right tell us we should. Because pollsters tell us half the country hates us because of how we vote. Americans are starting to believe those who tell us we’re a bitterly divided nation of extremists, and it makes us willing to give up on a United States.”

“‘Mega Emergency’ Unfolds For World’s Top Coffee Growers As Fertilizer Costs Spike.” Tyler Durden reports on just one of the many ripple effects caused by the war in Ukraine: less fertilizer and less coffee.

Unlearning Machines.” Brad East commends Audrey Watters for calling out the numerous shortcomings of Ed Tech.

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