Taking the High Road.” Nadya Williams issues a stirring call to root liberal education in a transcendent vision of what it means to be human: “what if the future of the humanities lies in Christian colleges—and colleges I would term Christian-adjacent in their mission, like St. John’s College? And what if this means recognizing something distinctly premodern and, most importantly, transcendent about the value of the humanities—their role in shaping human souls and character to produce people and citizens who are not only more ethical and devoted citizens in a democracy, but are also more fulfilled, joyful, and loving?”

The State of the Culture, 2024.” Ted Gioia offers a sobering analysis of culture in our age of TikTok and media addiction: “The fastest growing sector of the culture economy is distraction. Or call it scrolling or swiping or wasting time or whatever you want. But it’s not art or entertainment, just ceaseless activity.”

Bob Moore, Founder of Bob’s Red Mill, Remembered for Business Savvy and Compassion, ‘Zest for Life.’” Kristine de Leon remembers the life of an unusual businessman: “Over the years, during the company’s expansive growth, Moore turned down numerous offers from prospective buyers, saying his hesitation largely stemmed from concern for his employees. . . . Today, more than 700 employees own the company in non-trading retirement account shares.”

Bears in the Villa.” John Last describes the shifts occurring in Italy and other European countries as rural landscapes become depopulated and wild predators proliferate: “Italy stands at a cultural crossroad. In renewed proximity to the dangers posed by wild animals, Italians are being forced to reevaluate their relationship to nature, to confront a deep fear of wilderness and learn to live among it. Yet their country is perhaps the only place in the world that has been entirely cultivated for millennia, with little in the way of conserved spaces or cultural memory of how to live next to them. Of all places in the world, Italy may be uniquely unprepared for the return of the wild.”

Consolations of Middle Age.” Elizabeth C. Corey acknowledges the many ways in which our culture celebrates youth, but she doesn’t think middle and old age are only marked by diminishment: “I don’t think this vision of life is quite right. Having arrived at the supposed plateau of middle age, I have been surprised and delighted to discover certain ‘consolations’ that attend its arrival.” (Recommended by Matt Stewart.)

Opioids Decimated a Kentucky Town. Recovering Addicts Are Saving It.” Sam Quinones tells a remarkable story of resilience and hope that begins with his visit to Hazard, KY: “I had heard about the town, and had formed an image of it as the buckle on eastern Kentucky’s opioid belt. From Fugate Sheffel, though, I heard another story—one that I heard elsewhere in eastern Kentucky, and in West Virginia and southwest Virginia and the southern tier of Ohio. ‘When you don’t have industry, you’re having ecological disaster and a drug epidemic—you would think all those things would get us to a place where the town would be uninhabitable,’ Fugate Sheffel told me. ‘But that’s not what I’m seeing at all. I’m seeing a lot of people rally.’” The motto guiding these efforts? “Small is good; local is good; people are good.” (Recommended by John Shelton Reed.)

Something’s Fishy About the ‘Migrant Crisis.’” Jerusalem Demsas details some of the reasons the U.S. immigration system remains so broken. Politicians from both parties would rather use the issue for political gain than actually try to remedy it: “For political reasons, the Biden administration has abdicated its responsibility to coordinate where asylees from the southwestern border end up. Reuters has reported that in 2021 and 2022 Biden officials ‘rejected a proposal to transport some migrants to other U.S. cities because the White House did not want ‘full ownership’ of the issue.’ Unsurprisingly, Joe Biden is still being blamed for the crisis. . . . The core cause of political backlash to immigration is a chaotic process that gives voters the impression that no one is in charge.”

How Corporations Rule.” Hamilton Craig reviews Kyle Edward Williams’ Taming the Octopus and finds it a compelling account corporate history: “It seems that, unfortunately for the Henry Mannes of the world, we are heading back toward some sort of a planned economy. I suspect this is an inescapable condition. Competition is a temporary interlude through which one set of dominant elites is replaced with another. Once a new elite is in place, its members become rulers.”

What the Latest Farm Census Says About the Changing Ag Landscape.” Lisa Held makes some initial observations about the new USDA report on the state of American farms: “For decades, American farms have been disappearing while those that remain have been growing in size. And between 2017 and 2022, that trend picked up steam. The overall number of farms decreased by about 142,000. That 7 percent decline ‘is a larger percentage decrease than what has been seen in the last 20 years,’ said NASS’s Bryan Combs. Farm numbers decreased in every size category except one: Those operating 5,000 acres or more.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


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