For Quinones, the twin opioid and meth epidemics have their origins in the destruction of community. The decline of local institutions creates a vacuum of isolation and hopelessness in which drugs can gain a foothold, despite all efforts to keep them out. Reading The Least of Us, one is struck again and again by the seeming futility of efforts to solve the drug problem by limiting the available supply of illicit substances.
While in my current brief stint in D.C., I am often given a puzzled look when I tell someone that I am going back to the farm: “You’ve made it to D.C., haven’t you? Why would you go back?” I’m going back because the farm and all it means are more important than anything I can do or want to do here. It is more meaningful to go to a place that has claims on you, for that is where you can best serve and live the good life.
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.
Emily Wenneborg reviews You are Not Your Own, by Alan Noble. Noble confronts the lie of autonomy that shapes Western society and counsels radical dependence on God’s grace.
Andrew Figueiredo describes his family connection to Minderico, a language belonging to the Portuguese town of Minde. Localists must join the fight to save endangered languages, if only because they present us with a way to practice stewardship, rebel against the abstractions of technique and global commerce, and save our world’s cultural heritage.