We Must Become Barbarians.” Paul Kingsnorth sketches out possible strategies of resistance to the Machine that evade its systems rather than confronting them directly: “What Scott’s book shows me above all is that the tension between expanding power centres and free peoples is eternal and never-ending. … The shatter zones that rise in response are sometimes geographical, sometimes psychological and spiritual, and often all of these at once. Today, some of those shatter zones are at least partly online; and despite my own instinctive Luddism, I have to accept that such spaces are meeting points for state-repelling people who might never meet in real life. I have to accept, too, that using technology to resist technocracy can be of benefit, even though it can also be a trap.” (Recommended by Bernie Franceschi.)

Is Liberalism Worth Saving?” Chris Beha guides a fascinating—and rollicking!—conversation between Patrick Deneen, Francis Fukuyama, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, and Cornel West about the meaning, value, and future of liberalism. The discussion of blue laws and imperialism is particularly valuable, I think.

The Unfortunate Ubiquity of Smartphones.” Bill Kauffman finds it increasingly difficult to navigate the world without a smartphone. Such “deplorable developments are all part of the flight from the human that marks the twenty-first century. The theme of the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago bears down on us: “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms.”

USDA Report Highlights Harms of Seed Consolidation.” Claire Kelloway provides a discouraging account of how large companies monopolize seed breeding: “Just four massive corporations sell more than half of all seeds on a global basis, and for many staple commodity crops, like corn, soy, canola, and cotton, just two giants sell the lion’s share of seeds in the U.S. Along with seed sales, these giants control seed breeding programs and use patents and onerous licensing agreements to lock up their genetics and popular patented traits.”

Utah’s New Social Media Law Means Children will Need Approval from Parents.” I don’t know if this will work, but Utah is at least trying to rescue children from the maw of social media: “The two bills Cox signed into law also prohibit kids under 18 from using social media between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., require age verification for anyone who wants to use social media in the state and seek to prevent tech companies from luring kids to their apps using addictive features.”

Calling the Lab-Leak Theory ‘Disinformation’ Created Disinformation.” In a sober assessment for the New York Times, Megan Stack talks with Anthony Fauci and considers how well-meaning “experts” can inadvertently fuel disinformation. Telling the truth, even if it’s complicated and includes uncertainty, is wiser than spinning a narrative: “we are left to wonder how a straightforward hypothesis got labeled first as a conspiracy and later as a reflection of racism. Retracing coverage and public comments, I found a cautionary tale: Those who seek to suppress disinformation may be destined, themselves, to sow it.”

Millions Lack Access to Running Water. Is the Solution Hiding in Plain Sight?” Even while expensive desalination plants or water pipelines continue to receive funding, Nick Aspinwall describes the more elegant approach that some in the desert southwest, and elsewhere, are using to meet their water needs: “Lancaster, who said rain fulfills nearly all the water needs in his Tucson home, said the same can be true for the city: If collected, he said, the 11 inches of average annual rainfall in Tucson could supply all of its municipal water needs. Studies elsewhere have shown capturing even a fraction of rainwater could eliminate drinking water shortages and recharge groundwater basins.”

How to Understand the Well-Being Gap between Liberals and Conservatives.” Musa al-Gharbi tackles tough questions raised by recent studies linking political beliefs to mental health: “Why is it that liberal teens are more consistently depressed than conservatives? Why might familial education correlate with heightened depression for liberal youth? Why was there a spike in depression (and a growing ideological divergence in depressive affect) after 2011, corresponding with the onset of the ‘Great Awokening’?”

Why Kids Aren’t Falling in Love With Reading.” Katherine Marsh describes the way that assessment and critical analysis have sucked the joy from reading: “Young people should experience the intrinsic pleasure of taking a narrative journey, making an emotional connection with a character (including ones different from themselves), and wondering what will happen next—then finding out. This is the spell that reading casts.”

The Shredding of Midwestern Newspapers.” Jon K. Lauck’s introduction to the new issue of the Middle West Review charts some disheartening trends in small town newspapers and reflects on what the consequences of this loss will be: “The erosion of the influence of midwestern newspapers is accompanied by the loss of local input and regional identity.”

Talking about the Inmate Saddam with the Inmates at San Quentin.” Will Bardenwerper describes an unusual, yet very meaningful, stop on his book tour: “Who would have thought that the most stimulating discussion I would have on my book tour wouldn’t take place in a think tank or big city bookstore, but inside these walls ringed with razor wire and topped with guard towers?”

Lessons From My Father.” Brian Miller remembers his father and recounts some of his virtues.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


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