Syria’s Seed Planters.” Plough’s Summer 2022 issue on “Hope in Apocalypse” has many essays on this important virtue. One of the most moving, I think, is Mindy Belz’s account of Assyrians who seek to restore homes and communities in the midst of unimaginable devastation and hardship. As Belz writes of her travels here, “always I would meet singular people like Elias Antar and Samir Khanoun, who might serve as fools at the end of a parade but simply couldn’t give up. To be at home in Khabur valley, to start over, for all its risks, might be the dream.”

Faith, Fiction, and Christian Nationalism.” Russell Moore draws on Jayber Crow and some of Berry’s other writings to parse the differences between nationalism and authentic Christian patriotism.

Truly Humbled to Be the Author of This Article.” David Brooks has some important guidelines on how to perform humility effectively and get the maximum benefits from your virtue.

How the Left Fell for Capitalism.” In a lengthy and important essay, Paul Kingsnorth describes the surprising trajectory of localism over the past several decades: “in the 2020s, the Left anti-globalism that I once thought was the movement of the future is barely in evidence anywhere. The most incisive opponents of corporate globalisation today are often to be found on the Right; or at least, not from any identifiable sector of the Left. Conservative, traditionalist and “post-liberal” critiques of the impact of globalisation on local communities, nation states, social cohesion, family formation, working class prospects, culture and even (though not often enough) the natural world are pouring out daily. The post-working class Left, meanwhile, has veered into an identity politics cul-de-sac, dictated largely by its commitment to an elite class war and an obsessive pursuit of cultural inversion.” To make sense of this state of affairs, Kingsnorth asks a provocative question: “What if the Left and global capitalism are, at base, the same thing: engines for destroying customary ways of living and replacing them with the globalised, universalist, technological matrix that is currently rising around us?”

The New Productivism Paradigm?” Dani Rodrik sees signs that a bipartisan economic vision is emerging around what he terms “productivism,” “which emphasizes the dissemination of productive economic opportunities throughout all regions and all segments of the labor force. Unlike neoliberalism, productivism gives governments and civil society a significant role in achieving that goal. It puts less faith in markets, is suspicious of large corporations, and emphasizes production and investment over finance, and revitalizing local communities over globalization.”

Reality Is Just a Game Now.” Jon Askonas has a brilliant, inventive essay up at the New Atlantis charting the way the Internet is pushing us all toward being players in an alternate reality game: “Digital discourse creates a game-like structure in our perception of reality. For everything that happens, every fact we gather, every interpretation of it we provide, we have an ongoing ledger of the ‘points’ we could garner by posting about it online.”

The January 6 Hearings Changed My Mind.” Batya Ungar-Sargon reflects on the January 6 hearings: “Most people making that argument point to the violence of January 6 as Exhibit A. But the picture that’s emerging from these hearings is quite the opposite: Institutions, staffed by patriotic Americans, held against a massive onslaught from without and perhaps a greater one from within.”

Market Solutions to Ancient Sins.” Jason E. Jewell reviews and recommends Black Liberation Through the Marketplace by Rachel S. Ferguson and Marcus M. Witcher, a book that argues “a classically liberal policy approach, combined with efforts at ‘transitional justice,’ offer the most constructive way forward for race relations in America.” (Rachel will be one of the speakers at our Front Porch Republic conference this September.)

How to be a Patriot When you Believe in God.” J. Heinrich Arnold, senior pastor for the Bruderhof, reflects on his immigrant heritage and the way faith shapes his family’s understanding of patriotism: “it’s by staying true to our ultimate allegiance that we can best show our love of our country and honor its founding ideals. That is American patriotism, and it is good.”

Do We Need a New Theory of Evolution?” Stephen Buranyi sorts through the scientific, political, and cultural conflicts that are riling the community of evolutionary scientists: “the basic story of evolution, as recounted in countless textbooks and pop-science bestsellers [is], according to a growing number of scientists, … absurdly crude and misleading.” (Recommended by Steven Petersheim.)

Waiting for Eucatastrophe: On Katy Carl’s As Earth Without Water and Joshua Hren’s Infinite Regress.” John-Paul Heil reads two recent novels and praises their portrayal of Tolkienian eucatastrophe: “Separated from a love beyond self that orders all things, a cosmology that makes mercy and human dignity intelligible, and a history that allows for the possibility of a eucatastrophic ending, the Western canon will regress into meaninglessness and violence. As poet Dunstan Thompson writes, in a poem Dylan gives to Angele at a critical juncture in Carl’s novel:

This ordered life is not for everyone
Never, to their surprise, for those who run
Away from love.

In a Post-Roe World, We Can Avoid Pitting Mothers Against Babies.” Leah Libresco Sargeant continues to be a charitable, wise voice in public conversations about how we should imagine and treat the least of these in our society. This essay in the New York Times about her ectopic pregnancy is no exception.

Changing the Political Conversation.” Karen Swallow Prior interviews Allen Mickle about the American Solidarity Party, America’s fastest growing third party.

Dutch Farmers and Fishermen Block Roads to Protest New Emissions Rules.” Jill Pole reports on the ongoing protests in the Netherlands over the government’s proposals to reduce nitrogen and ammonia emissions by curtailing the number of livestock and farms.

The Power of Place: Educator Helps Literature Teachers Connect Students to Their Rural Roots.” Lane Wendell Fischer describes Chea Parton’s work on “Literacy in Place,” a program aimed to offer rural students different narratives about their homes than the ones they generally hear: “The stories that the students read and heard as children told them that rural folk were backward and ignorant. That the land they were raised on was just flyover country. And that to find success, they must leave their hometowns and move to larger cities.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture