Fresh Cliché.” In a wise essay that puts David Foster Wallace in conversation with Wallace Stegner, Matt Stewart gives two cheers for clichés: “Surely there are phrases that are lazy shortcuts; we can often choose complacency when courage is what is really demanded. But even if that is true, we should not be too proud to submit to truths that are simple and ordinary. We should not be embarrassed when we find ourselves giving advice in the exact way that our parents gave it.”

The Works of Brian Doyle Remind Us of the Unique Holiness of Children and Childhood.” Lindsay Schlegel meditates on Doyle’s lyrical wisdom: “Once [he and his wife] had a daughter and twin sons, again he found himself crying every couple of weeks ‘for what seems like no reason at all; and I know it is because we were blessed with children, three of them, three long wild prayers; and they are the greatest gifts a profligate Mercy ever granted shuffling muddled me.’ Doyle’s fatherly love and joy shine throughout his work in every form. Here is a man who understood the beauty, the irreplaceability, the gift of even the shortest life, and who stood in awe and humility before this grace without ceasing.”

Christopher Lasch’s Forgotten Utopia.” Ashley Colby turns to Lasch and Morris Berman to contextualize today’s diverse homesteaders: “Berman suggests that as societal functioning breaks down — as it did in Ancient Rome — people find other ways to meet their basic needs. It is in this process of meeting those needs that individuals, usually unconsciously, develop parallel institutions that could end up developing into the society that succeeds the collapsing empire. Homesteading is, in many ways, borne out of this sense of alienation.”

Albert Borgmann (1937-2023).” Justin Weinberg notes Borgmann’s death earlier this week and publishes a kind note about Borgmann’s life and intellectual work from one of his colleagues, Armond Duwell, who concludes, “Albert Borgmann was simply the finest human being I’ve ever had the pleasure and honor of knowing.”

Conservationists See Rare Nature Sanctuaries. Black Farmers See a Legacy Bought Out From Under Them.” Tony Briscoe investigates a fraught story about the tensions between locals who want access to land while others want to buy it up and set it aside. I’m reminded of similar dynamics—sans the racial dimension—in a community I’m familiar with. North Cascades National Park has long bought up private property, making it increasingly difficult for the community of Stehekin to remain viable: “Across the region, the acquisition of land by both the federal government and private conservationists occurred — and planning for more continues — in the face of persistent objections from local communities, including residents of this longtime Black farming community.”

Discerning Vocation: Walking Away from Academia.” Nadya Williams traces the discernment process that led her to leaving from her tenured position: “A God-honoring calling should be rooted in relationships, not in our career. We are called to these relationships, and they challenge us in this individualistic society of ours by not allowing us to wallow in selfishness or self-pity when things at work don’t go well.”

Are Local Family Ties Worth the Sacrifice of a Career Dream? Maybe So.” Daniel Williams reflects on the costs of leaving home to pursue educational or career opportunities: “I’ve begun to realize that perhaps we need to change our thinking about success. Ever since the 1940s (if not earlier), we as a nation have internalized the equation between geographic and social mobility and have assumed that people who are pursuing the career of their dreams may have to cut a few family ties in order to achieve it.”

On Both Sides of the Aisle, Congress Is Stepping Up to Confront Digital Harms.” The age-restriction mechanisms described in this story by Clare Morell and Michael Toscano at least seem promising, but while the methods should be up for debate, the general principle is just commonsense: “The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act is a strong bill. It goes even further than KOSA and COPPA 2.0 in empowering parents and meaningfully age-guarding social media, and we commend its four sponsors for their boldness. All three bills would significantly move the ball forward on this pressing issue, and are noteworthy models of bipartisanship. These three federal pieces of legislation, as well as the recent state laws, show that nationwide momentum is growing to take back our children from Big Tech.”

Populism, Federalism, and the American System.” Joshua McCabe draws on James Buchanan to sketch out policies that might promote regional economies: “Buchanan is most famous for influencing a generation of conservative economists on the growth of Leviathan, the seductive power of deficits, and the benefits of constitutional constraints. This view neglects Buchanan’s pathbreaking work on fiscal federalism and the problem of regional fairness. Rediscovering the value of this work can provide us with new insights into how to craft a truly national economic system that leaves no regions behind.” (Recommended by Rob Grano.)

Fukuyama v. Fukuyama.” Nathan Pinkoski draws on C.S. Lewis and Leo Strauss in tracing the contradictions between a young Francis Fukuyama and his more recent books: “Fukuyama appears to be studiously averting his eyes from the catastrophic consequences of redefining man as a self-creating being. The liberalism the young Fukuyama hoped to check has become all-­powerful. It is now far too risky to invoke classical human nature or stress the normative implications of biological permanencies. To do so would be to challenge the authority of the ‘inner self,’ and the revolutionary machine of technological change that runs in service of it.”

The Justice Mothers Are Due.” Erika Bachiochi argues that justice demands social and economic support for mothers: “Though paeans to ‘mother-love’ and ‘mother-thought’ are unlikely to provide the compelling political narrative needed to mobilize the grassroots today, renewing national honor and material support of mothers and fathers – in much the same way we honor and support our veterans and for the same reasons – must become a top priority.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture