Russell Arben Fox grew up milking cows and bailing hay in Spokane Valley, WA, but now lives in Wichita, KS, where he runs the History & Politics and the Honors programs at Friends University, a small Christian liberal arts college. He aspires to write a book about the theory and practice of democracy, community, and environmental sustainability in small to mid-sized cities, like the one he has made his and his family's home; his scribblings pertaining to that and related subjects are collected at the Substack "Wichita and the Mittelpolitan." He also blogs--irregularly and usually at too-great a length--more broadly about politics, philosophy, religion, socialism, bicycling, books, farming, pop music, and whatever else strikes his fancy, at "In Medias Res."
Why Liberalism Failed was a good book, but Regime Change is a better one, and I think will be recognized as such—as well as one that will gain notoriety in a way that the earlier, more academic book mostly did not.
If you’ve ever visited Canyonlands National Park, or hiked the Appalachian Trail, or spent time at over a hundred other similar locations across America’s beautiful and diverse ecosystems and geography, it’s likely that you have Stewart Udall at least partly to thank.
Wendell Berry has written endlessly about the goodness of local work; if, for Berry, the goodness of such work is connected to agrarian virtue, while for Jackson it is connected to ecological necessity, does that make much practical difference?
We academics unfortunately often fall into the trap of pride (particularly of the self-involved, self-satisfying, institutional kind), and hence a humbling such as this conference delivered was probably much needed. I have a Christian duty, as an educator and as a member of a Christian community, to think systematically about how I can live up, as a teacher and scholar, to the values of inclusion and equality
If you're looking intentionally at your locality, wanting to make it more just and more civil and more communal--with, say, better food practices, more responsible energy usage, and social arrangements premised upon love and respect rather than financial and racial advantage--well, that doesn't make you into a communard, fully engaged in the struggle to build a comprehensively new world. But it does mean, I think, that you share more with those inspired folk than you may think.
Holding up a sign, sitting at a lunch counter, sticking a flower in a gun, setting up a tent, and occupying a space in the face state and corporate power is an act of utopian belief and faith. A belief, to go back to Berry's insight above, that something may not be--and should not be accepted as being--an economic, and therefore social, inevitability.