Weekly Digest: Let the Boom Times Roll
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Let the Boom Times Roll
In my latest column for Governing magazine, I look at the difference in development being a genuine boomtown makes, looking at it through the lens of Nashville.
In 1990, Nashville barely qualified as a major city at all. The metro area had just over a million people. The city seemed large at 488,000, but this was mostly due to a city-county merger. The freeway system attested to its sub-major league status. It never even got an interstate beltway. Nashville was in essence a smaller city or overgrown small town. It also had a lot of poverty. Its historic built environment is reflective of these things. Nashville had lots of small, single-family, worker-cottage type housing, for example, with little in the way of higher density or urban-style development outside of downtown. A generation ago, few people wanted to move there, and local businesses struggled to recruit out-of-town talent in the same way Rust Belt cities do today.
What a difference 30 years makes. Nashville is now one of America’s hottest destinations, with people streaming into it from all over the country, including large flows from coastal elite cities. The business recruiting challenge has reversed, with businesses having to vet whether or not perspective employees actually want a job, or are just using it as a way to get to Nashville. The regional population has almost doubled. Nashville is now far more than a music city. Hot chicken and other cultural products have become national sensations.
This column got a lot of circulation locally in Nashville, and even prompted a response from the city councilor who represents the district containing a trailer park I mention in my column. My content continues to move markets.
Latest Content and Media
My three worlds piece for First Things continues to generate responses. Writers at the Federalist and Juicy Ecumenism both wrote about it, a writer for Ad Fontes used it as a launching point, and I was interviewed about it by a couple of podcasts I’ll link to when they come out.
My latest monthly newsletter on moral doublespeak in the pro-life movement prompted a reply from Doug Wilson and an op-ed in National Review.
New postings this week:
Welcome to the Descending World. Rather than First World vs. Third World, or developed world vs. developing world, and ascending vs. the descending world view provides interesting insights to help explain why we have a feeling of malaise about America. I explore this and how to respond to it.
Bari Weiss Is Not Your Friend (Subscriber Only). I saw conservatives online tweeting and touting Bari Weiss’ segment on Bill Maher where she said she was “done with Covid.” This piece explains why Bari Weiss and the Intellectual Dark Web crowd are not your friends, don’t share your values, and why should think twice about signal boosting them.
My podcast this week is about why you can’t beat something with nothing. Conservatives love to oppose things (like Obamacare) but too often don’t actually offer any alternative (such as their own health care plan) to deal with problems most Americans view as legitimate.
At American Reformer, Colin Redemer writes about The American Founding, Protestantism, and the Law of Nations and Ben Dunson about Catechizing the Resistance.
This Thursday, February 3rd at 9pm ET I’ll be doing a live interview with my friend and noted public intellectual Joel Kotkin on our feudal future. Watch live or on replay on Youtube.
You can listen to my podcast on Apple, Google, or YouTube.
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Best of the Web
Vanity Fair has an incredible exposé on Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife. It must be read to be believed. It’s incredibly damning of him and the Christian world that embraced him even if you discount that this piece was written from his perspective. Falwell directly states, “Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not. My goal was to make them realize I was not my dad.”
Falwell is an example of the failed Christian leadership we so often see. But let’s not let the followers off the hook. One reason so many of them fall prey to people like Falwell is because at some level that’s what they want. Just as some people prefer the darkness to the light, some prefer to follow hucksters than a responsible elite.
Here’s one little tidbit to note about the piece, courtesy of a Member in our Slack group. The Vanity Fair journalist writes, “Two days after George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, Falwell tweeted a picture of a COVID mask that showed a man in blackface posing with a man in a KKK hood.” He does not mention that was a replica of a photograph of the then Democratic governor of Virginia as a younger man personally dressed in either blackface or a Klan hood. Shady.
Vanity Fair also has a major piece on about Porn Hub, noting that the site does have child porn, rape videos, etc. but suggesting that the real problem is those gosh darn conservative Christians who want to shut it down.
WSJ: Moms in Middle Age: Rarely Alone, Often Online and Increasingly Lonely - A look at unhappy Gen X mothers.
NYT: These Mothers Were Exhausted, So They Met on a Field to Scream
It’s another reminder that while this world is not good for men, it’s not that great for women either.
Unherd: The Death of Intimacy
I wanted to comment on Bethel McGrew's National Review piece, which ironically seems to bolster Aaron's point that all kinds of excuses are made for women. The criticisms, frankly, are lame.
"Still, elements of Renn’s project are up for debate. To begin with, we should question how well the conservative cause is served by borrowing and normalizing the rhetoric of the manosphere. Renn himself intends to strike a precarious balance between the excesses of feminism and “meninism.” But language matters. By desensitizing readers to code phrases like “white knight,” Renn risks creating a vulnerability in men who will no longer recognize it as a red flag should they fall down a hard meninist rabbit hole."
This further solidifies how cucked (and I try not to throw that term around willy nilly) NR is. It would be an improvement if they showed even a small fraction of the concern in how much they assimilate the language and presuppositions of the left. My goodness! Renn used a useful term to describe a certain phenomenon (which McGrew doesn't understand since she concludes, "Perhaps in saying this, I risk being accused of enabling “white knight syndrome” myself. But real white knights are good for something, after all. In the coming years, we will need more of them, not fewer.")
"This latest newsletter also unquestioningly recycles the oft-cited 70 percent statistic on the proportion of divorces filed by women, which obscures the fact that the filing party may well not be at fault. (Renn mentions this as a fact about women that “white knight” conservatives “can’t bring themselves” to acknowledge.)"
I've never heard this "oft-cited" statistic anywhere else.
"When it comes to moral culpability for abortion in particular, Renn is too quick to underestimate the power of the Planned Parenthood propaganda machine. One need not infantilize mothers to acknowledge that strong societal forces can impair their moral vision, particularly for the very young and vulnerable."
Why does it only apply to women then? I don't see how, if one's going to make this argument, it wouldn't equally apply to the boyfriend pressuring his girlfriend to get an abortion. So ultimately, all McGrew is saying is, "I don't really like what Renn is saying, but I'm going to confirm every bit of it is true by what I saw."
Loved the piece on Nashville. As an urban expert, I’d really be interested in your perspective on our town, Bremerton, Wa. West of Seattle with 3 Navy Shipyards. We have been undergoing a lot of growth and gentrification. It will be interesting to see what our future holds