Josh Hawley and the Promethean idea

Michael Brendan Dougherty writes on Sen. Josh Hawley’s address at last night’s American Principles Project Foundation Gala in Washington, DC:

Missouri senator Josh Hawley might be the most interesting thinker the U.S. Senate has seen since Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Or at least, he’s the senator today who most resembles Moynihan as a sweeping and adventurous social critic.

Last night, at a dinner held by the American Principles Project Foundation, Hawley gave a remarkable speech. Like most good political speeches, it was straightforward and accessible. But unlike most good political speeches, it was also a searing piece of cultural criticism, an indictment of America’s economic and social arrangements. This is notable because at the moment, the president of the United States — a man who happens to belong to Hawley’s party — is touting the unparalleled success of the American economy. …

For basically my entire adult life, the default mode of Republican speechifying has been a kind of reheated “optimism” with lots of waxing poetic about the great reserves of American can-do waiting to be tapped. These attempts to recapture “Morning in America” have been delivered through clenched, Prozac-like smiles by men who promptly enter black SUVs to be hurried off back to their gated communities. I’ve always accepted that this is the way of electoral politics, which doesn’t have much to do with a conservative intellectual disposition that tends to be more dour, or at least skeptical.

But Hawley’s speech went from those baleful statistics to a prophetic critique of a cult of the individual and self that is “so thoroughly ingrained in American culture.”

Hawley called it the Promethean idea: “This is the individual as creator, as self-creator, maker of meaning and author of reality, rather like Prometheus who in the ancient myth created all mankind. So call this view of the human person the ‘Promethean self.’” …

Hawley went on to say that “the Promethean ambition leaves us lost and unmoored. And the market worship and cultural deconstruction the Promethean vision has inspired have failed this country.” This is likely to be met with disdain or active resistance by many Republicans, including some of my own colleagues here at National Review. So too is Hawley’s mention of labor unions as one of the institutions that bring people together and ground them in their communities. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

Hawley ended with a rousing call for “a new politics of family and neighborhood, a new politics of love and belonging, a new politics of home.”

I was there last night at the Mayflower for Sen. Hawley’s speech. Stylistically it was disappointing in that he spoke from a teleprompter, but substantively it was solid:

What Sen. Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari and others are attempting to articulate isn’t simply a new generation of conservatism so much as a new vision for American solidarity.

The past, as it really happened

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput writes on American history and Catholic history:

The historian Christopher Lasch (among many others) liked to note that Americans tend to be bad at history. We resent it. We want the past to be over and gone. And there’s a very good reason for that instinct. One of our key myths as a nation is that if we work hard enough we can achieve, and deserve to achieve, anything we want. That includes reimagining who we are. It’s why transgenderism — as deeply troubling as it is — gets traction in our media and elite opinion. Absent a biblical framework, it’s just one more route to the “pursuit of happiness.”

This is why the past, as it really happened, can seem so unwelcome. Put simply, it limits our self-invention. As a record of our origins, choices, and actions, the past reminds us that we’re not fully sovereign actors. We have roots and obligations that shape us, and they’re inescapable. We each have parts in a story that preceded us, formed us, and will continue after us.

For the selfish, that knowledge is a kind of oppression. For the sensible, it’s a source of hope. History teaches us the cost of mistakes. Bad things can happen. But history also teaches us that most of our difficulties aren’t really new, and that good can heal and overcome them.

As a result, knowing our history is important. A nation ignorant of its history is like a person with amnesia. Without a memory, the individual becomes, in a sense, a non-person. Without a grounding in the past, the present and future have no direction. And as with an individual or nation, so too, and even more so, with the Church. Since the Church is called to preach Jesus Christ across generations and cultures, her people need to know how and why we got where we are now, the better to support her mission into the future.

To know your history is to have a greater degree of self-knowledge than would have been possible on your own. Our world would be inconceivable without history—first oral, later written, and perhaps immersive next, in terms of  audio/video.

While human beings in our present anatomical state have existed for 100,000+ years, our known history reaches back only a small fraction of that time. If it’s true that the past is a foreign country, it’s also true that we forgot to record a map for much of its territory. All the more reason to study what we have in order to understand what sort of future is possible.

Procreation v. reproduction

Agnes Howard writes on “moral labor” in First Things, in a piece that’s of evergreen value:

There are conflicting Christian opinions on childbearing. But a good place to begin is with the idea of procreation. It is an archaic-sounding word, and though sometimes made to stand in as a synonym for “reproduction,” there are crucial differences between the two. Reproduction depends on industrial and mechanical metaphors, making copies of the human species. In contrast, procreation roots sexuality and childbearing deeply within two relations: that of the man and woman, and that between the couple and God. In the first, the sexual embrace of husband and wife opens them to receive a child. In the second, procreation places human intimacy in the context of a divine work, with husband and wife as co-workers alongside God in the creation of a unique human soul.

While procreation implicitly defines the whole process from conception to birth, most often the word is used particularly for the parents’ physical union. Given the profundity and physical character of pregnancy, though, a woman’s continuing efforts to nurture a fetus should also be described as a moral act, her cooperation with God in bringing forth life. Indeed, the woman is particularly burdened and particularly honored in the process. She is the first to witness the creation of the new human being, never before introduced to the created order but present in her. “God creates the soul of the new child in her body,” Alice von Hildebrand writes of this maternal privilege. “This implies a direct ‘contact’ between Him and the mother-to-be, a contact in which the father plays no role whatever.” …

The transformation of our embryology has immense implications for human experience, but a reductive scientism should not have the first and last words in describing human life. A sperm-meets-egg-makes-cluster-of-cells narrative is inadequate to explain our origins: not false, only not sufficient. As Pope John Paul II emphasized in his 1994 Letter to Families, “Man’s coming into being does not conform to the laws of biology alone, but also, and directly, to God’s creative will, which is concerned with the genealogy of the sons and daughters of human families.” Our aim should not be to reclaim folk beliefs about how babies are made, but given the biological and clinical frameworks of maternity today, return to philosophy and theology to help describe the import of what we are doing.

The knowledge (and self-knowledge) imparted by medicine alters the way women view and live pregnancy. Even before that knowledge informs action, it is morally significant. Human gestation resembles the same process in other mammals except for this distinction: We are very much aware of it and we, in some measure, understand what is happening. Carrying a baby is a conscious act. …

What medicine reveals about the mechanics of gestation, rather than stressing woman’s passivity, instead allows us to see pregnancy as a moral act. “Feeling fine, just tired,” a mother-to-be might politely answer when asked how she is doing. Just tired: bone-tired, spent as though having performed a strenuous task. A mother is doing something strenuous, not “making” a baby directly, like hammering out a shape in a forge, but growing tissue, crafting a placenta, carrying weight.

Pregnancy is not just waiting but real work. Exactly what kind of work is it? Terms offered by the market are not much help: It is not evaluated like salaried tasks, and phrases like “maternity leave” construe the event as though it were vacation or hiatus from meaningful employment. We might better avail ourselves of theological categories to help make sense of women’s labor in this phase of procreation: Hospitality describes the mother as welcoming a needy guest, self-denial honors the pains and costs of that nurture, and stewardship observes the boundaries of her agency in respecting Providence.

Scripture and the early Church enjoined hospitality as a duty, and St. Benedict commended it in his Rule. Believers were to extend kindness, such as the acts of charity itemized in Matthew 25, to strangers as though to the Lord himself: “I was a stranger and you invited me in.” An expectant mother welcomes and serves a child as a stranger. Ultrasound pictures notwithstanding, the fetus is a person she does not yet know but whom she is uniquely qualified to help. Doctors may not encourage “eating for two” any more, but an expectant woman comes to live as two. Her whole being is stretched to accommodate another person. Her body, clothing, time, rest, and food are shared, and the most intimate areas of life reflect the presence of another person. Consider those notorious food cravings. Women develop aversions to edibles formerly counted as favorites, or desires for things normally detested, or for great quantities or in strange combinations—as in the venerable jokes about pickles and ice cream. These cravings point to something fundamental about pregnancy. Wanting something you usually do not like attests to this: You are not yourself. At least, you are not only yourself. You are acting on behalf of someone else, wittingly and unwittingly.

We devalue when we reduce human life and human experience to only its biological aspect, as if we are not ethical and moral creatures. Agnes’s piece helps recover a richer sense of ourselves as moral agents—as father and mother—at the same time that she helps make the distinction between our reproductive and procreative powers clearer.

‘New approaches to truth’

Chad Pecknold writes on Pilate’s perennial question, one that echoes in the human heart in every generation: “What is truth?”:

The mid-20th century French Jesuit Henri Bouillard once insisted that theology must constantly move with “the evolution of all concepts.” He famously said, “a theology that is not up-to-date (actuelle) is a false theology.” Bouillard was not denying that Catholics believe in unchangeable truths, but the phrase was a striking one. If taken literally, it might mean that the Dogmas of the Trinity, or the Incarnation, are false insofar as they depend on very “out-dated” Hellenistic accounts of being, substance and natures.

Bouillard’s claim elicited a rebuttal from the French Dominican Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange opened his bombshell 1947 essay on the new modern theologies which were emerging before and after the war with a broadside against just the kind of temporal standard that Bouillard had advocated.

Fr. Garrigou asked how can one assent to an understanding of the Eucharist as a transubstantiation without an unchangeably true concept of substance? And most fundamentally, he asked, if every unchangeable truth of the faith must be measured by a changeable standard in order for it to be true, then doesn’t that entail a new definition of truth as change?

Garrigou was worried that a new definition of truth was arising from a variety of directions, each of which sought to unseat the traditional “correspondential” and moderately realist view of truth as the mind conforming itself to reality. Instead of adequation of mind to reality, however, a new view of truth was emerging, one which was evolutionary, always conforming thought to the lived experience of actual life.

What may look like disputes over theological “preferences” in historical situations, Garrigou began to argue, are actually disputes over truth and how we know it. Is something true because it conforms with some unchangeable law, some extramental and trans-historical reality, or is something true because it fits with some contemporary need of culture or human experience which is always evolving? What Bouillard represented — fairly or not — was a deeper metaphysical challenge posed by a new paradigm-shifting definition of truth. Fr. Garrigou concluded that those constantly advocating for an “updating” of unchangeable truths were in fact going the way of materialism and skepticism.

The Thomist philosopher would to the pre-Socratic material philosopher Heraclitus to illustrate part of the problem with the new evolutionary view of truth. For Heraclitus, everything is constantly becoming. You never step in the same river twice, and so nothing really is — being is constantly becoming. Everything is relative in a radical way, and if you are a materialist who just looks at phenomena, and knows only through the senses, then it’s easy to see how a thinker might observe how sensible things are always changing, and arrive at this view of reality which demands constant updating.

Yet this is nonsense, and Aristotle demonstrates why it’s nonsense. Kant can’t be Kant and not-Kant at once. It is impossible for something to be and not be at the same time in the same way. The law of non-contradiction ensures that the truth can be known, not just in a manner of speaking, but actually. While we are like night owls blinking at the intelligible light of the world, we can discern being from non-being, and thus distinguish what is true from what is false.

For Garrigou, Heraclitus, the skeptics, relativists of all stripes, Kantian and Hegelian logic alike, all make our knowledge of reality an indefinite process in which we never know the highest causes, never arrive at knowledge of reality as such. He is not rigid, he is a realist. And he believes that new approaches to truth are not only a threat to the faith, but they are a threat to reason as well.

Pecknold’s piece was sparked by an exchange at the USCCB’s Baltimore meeting earlier this week, and is difficult reading for those (like me) unfamiliar with much of the history and figures he’s referencing. But I think this is an entree to an important intellectual thread worth following for a lifetime, which is the nature and telos of truth.

Mass of the Americas

I attended Archbishop Cordileone’s “Mass of the Americas” this morning at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:

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Join us for a Solemn Pontifical High Mass, which is the first-ever celebration of the Mass of the Americas in Latin celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Canon Avis is the Master of Ceremonies.

“I was ecstatic. You get the sense that something truly holy was happening there.” —Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

“This is what a flourishing religious culture looks like – piety being lifted up and sublimated in the actual liturgy of the Church.” —Professor and Poet James Matthew Wilson

“The great Catholic tradition is alive and well, and is only waiting for courageous pastoral leadership and visionary patronage to continue its great story where it most belongs: in the bosom of the Church.” —Professor and composer Mark Nowakowski

It was put together through the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, and was a beautiful experience.

‘This man speaks with authority’

I attended a Communion and Liberation gathering tonight after work at Saint Matthew the Apostle. I read Fr. Luigi Guissani’s “Christ, God’s Companionship with Man” earlier this summer. Tonight we discussed this excerpt from Who Is This Man?” on authority:

The most important factor for a people as a people, for a companionship as a companionship, is what we call “authority.”

There is a deep need for us to tear down, down to the last stone, the image we have of a “robotic” authority or leadership, almost as if it were a person, [as if] it were people closed up in a tower, directing, sending down signals, directing how things go from above.

Authority, leadership, is the exact opposite of power; there is not even a
trace, not a hint, of the word “power.” Consequently, there is a total absence 10 regarding the concept of authority in the people of God, at any level. There is a complete absence of any glint of fear: because fear goes along with power, and to free oneself from fear, you have to defiantly disregard power. What is this authority? I will give a definition. [Authority] is the place–because you, too, are a place, right? A person is a place–it is the place where that battle to affirm, the battle of the prophecy and its verification, the place where that battle and the verification that our proposal, which is Christ’s proposal, is a response to what is perceived in the heart… authority is the place where the battle to affirm, and the verification to confirm that Christ’s proposal, is true, meaning it is a response to the perception, to the needs of one’s heart (to the religious sense, which is given by the needs of one’s heart, and assesses the response placed in front of it) is clearer and simpler–so it does not breed fear–it is more peaceful. Authority is the place where the verification that compares the perception, the needs of one’s heart, and the response given in the message of Christ, is clearer and simpler, and therefore is more peaceful.

A line from Pasolini, one that I have quoted often lately, says that men are not educated, that young people are not educated: if someone educates them, it is with his being, and not with lectures.

Authority is the place where the connection between the needs of the heart and the response Christ gives is clearer, simpler, and more peaceful. [This] would suggest that authority is a way of being, not a font of discourse. Lectures are part of what makes up one’s being, but only as a reflection. To summarize, authority is a person who, when you see them, you can see how what Christ says corresponds to your heart. This is what guides a people.

Now, the second idea: the problem is not following… The problem is following, but it is not described completely or best by the word “following:” it is better described by the world “sonship.” An authority has sons and daughters. A son receives his family tree from his father. He makes it his own; he is made up of that family tree his father gives him, he is made up of his father. Therefore, he is entirely absorbed. Authority absorbs all of me. It is not a word I fear or dread or that I follow. It absorbs me. The word, “authority,” then, … the word “authority” could have as its synonym the word “paternity,” meaning generativity, generation, the communication of a genus, communicating a living family tree. That living family tree is my “I” which is overtaken and made different by this relationship.

The word “authority,” which coincides with the word “paternity,” is followed by the word “freedom.” It generates freedom. Being a son or daughter is freedom. The Gospel, in fact, says this at various points. “Tell me,” Jesus says to Peter, “is it the king’s son who pays the tribute? No, it is the servants, because what belongs to a father belongs to his son.”

Therefore, authority is true, or truly experienced as such, when it ignites my freedom, when it ignites my personal awareness and personal responsibility, my personal awareness and responsibility.

This means, as someone rightly observed, that when Jesus turned and said, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Christ’s questions moved Pe- ter from a logic of friendship–before he was a friend, an acquaintance–to a responsibility of his personal awareness, to the order of personal responsibility. It was his responsibil- ity when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of God;” in that moment, the friendship he had with Christ became…it was suddenly illuminated by personal awareness and responsibility, of awareness and responsibility that expressed that awareness.

There is no relationship with a place of authority, with the person who is an authority, if you do not feel your freedom bursting forth as personal awareness and personal responsibility.

Third: if authority, then, is such a source of freedom, it becomes a place of comfort and makes the entire companionship, the entire people a place of comfort. In what sense? A place of comfort because, if I see a person in whom Christ has conquered, conquers, claims and convinces, it shows how He corresponds to the needs of the heart. If someone shows me, is proof of this to me; if in seeing a person I understand that this is happening in him, then I begin to understand that this also happens for the companionship. So then–no matter how I feel, no matter what mood I am in, whether I have taken many steps or just a few–I am filled with comfort: “Your precepts bring joy to the heart,” bring comfort, because Christ conquers.

Authority is the place it is evident that Christ conquers. What does it mean that Christ conquers? That Christ demonstrates, even in appearances, even in the realm of appearances, He demonstrates that He corresponds, He corresponds to the needs of the heart in a persuasive, a prophetic way. The same will happen for me, too. It seems impossible. For that other per- son who is an authority, it was impossible, but now it is possible; it is a reality. Christ conquers.

Authority, then, is a place of paternity where new life–the life in which Christ responds to one’s heart, [to] that for which man is made, where Christ responds to man’s heart–is more transparent, clearer and more transparent. This is true authority. This means the old woman who puts the coins in the treasury of the Temple can be an authority, even more than the head of the Pharisees.

This paternal, generative authority makes itself visible in the experience of greater freedom, personal awareness and personal responsibility, so that even if everyone went away, if everyone was out of the picture, if everyone else betrayed–as one really beautiful quote that I read at the last day of the year, the first day of the year–if everyone else betrayed, I would still say to you, “Yes!” This is personal awareness and responsibility. And because of this, authority is a place of comfort, where you see that Christ conquers. And, in this way, authority completes its true mandate, because it exalts the people, it helps you understand that the entire people, the entire companionship is the place where Christ conquers.

‘The truth has us’, not visa versa

In August I excerpted something from Jordan B. Peterson, where he said the following in a lecture last year about “ideas having people:”

One of the things Carl Jung also said about ideas, which just staggered me when I started to understand it, is “People don’t have ideas. Ideas have people.”

You can think about that for about ten years. That’s a terrifying idea. And you when people are possessed by an ideology—all the people have the same idea! And you think, “Well, if all the people have the same idea, what makes you think that they have the idea? It’s exactly the other way around: the idea has them. And unless you understand that to some degree, you can’t understand the sorts of things that happened in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union or Maoist China, where whole populations were gripped by an idea and acted it out. They were in the thrall of that idea. So it’s really important that you have your own story. If you’re without a story, some other damn story is going to pick you up. That’s for sure.

And one of the things Jung said, for example, is you should figure out what your story is, because it might be a tragedy. And if it is, you might want to rethink it.

And today I saw someone share the following from Pope Benedict XVI, which says much the same thing, but in a teleological sense:

Indeed, we cannot say “I have the truth,” but [rather] the truth has us, it touches us. And we try to let ourselves be guided by this touch. … One can work with the truth, because the truth is person. One can let truth in, try to provide the truth with worth. That seemed to me finally to be the very definition of the profession of a theologian; that he, when he has been touched by this truth, when truth has caught sight of him, is now ready to let it take him into service, to work on it and for it.

What is our telos, our ultimate end? To let Jesus Christ, the truth, have us.

Optimism for social welfare

Tyler Cowen offers an optimistic perspective on Social Security’s stronger than expected future:

…over the next 75 years, about 17% of scheduled benefits are currently unfinanced. [Charles] Blahous estimates that the U.S. could cover that gap if the Social Security payroll tax were raised from 12.4% to 15.1%.

Now, you might have strong views about the wisdom of that kind of tax increase, but you should acknowledge that this is a very different reality than a bankrupt system. With Social Security on full cruise control, and with no forward-looking reforms, today’s younger earners still are slated to receive more than their parents did — just not very much more.

Dean Baker, an economist to the left of Blahous, also has studied Social Security. He estimates that retirees 30 to 40 years from now will receive monthly checks that are about 10% higher in real terms than today’s benefits. And keep in mind those are estimates per year. To the extent life expectancy rises, total benefits received will be higher yet.

To be clear: It may well be a bad thing when the Social Security trust fund is depleted, and Social Security is financed fully from current government revenues. …

I’m not saying everything will be fine in the future. The U.S. is vastly underperforming relative to its potential. But the claim that post-boomer generations will be left holding the bag, through a bankrupt Social Security system, just doesn’t add up.

A more interesting issue than the future of Social Security is whether we can imagine and implement a better and more solidarity-focused system of social welfare than we have today. I think that would look a lot more like what some European nations are experimenting with, nations like Hungary and Italy. And I wonder whether a new social welfare system would help encourage more Americans to see themselves more as the authors of their own destiny, supported and upheld by their neighbors, than as victims of circumstance amidst a frothy global economy, recipients of abstracted but desperately necessary national benefits.

Improving your career

Scott Young writes on obvious ways to improve your career:

I’m not a singer, and I don’t even work in the music industry.

So, lacking specifics, I gave the advice that was obvious to me: you need to locate people who are 2-3 steps ahead of you in the kind of career you want to have. You need to talk to these people, not just random people on the internet you admire, to map out how your career actually works.

This seems obvious in retrospect, but it actually happens a lot.

In early pilots for our course, Top Performer, Cal and I had students work through an exercise of interviewing someone in their field for career advice. One person decided he wanted to pick Tim Ferriss, even though he was working an engineering job.

The problem is that Tim Ferriss isn’t an engineer. He’s an author, podcaster and investor. If you’re not in one of those fields, the advice Tim could give (if he was gracious enough for an interview) would have to be restricted to the highly generic.

In fact, even if you are an author, podcaster or investor, it may not be the case that Tim Ferriss will offer super helpful advice. Why? Because Tim Ferriss is incredibly famous! For most people, Tim Ferriss isn’t 2 or 3 steps ahead, but instead more like a dozen or more. His advice for a new podcaster is going to be hampered by the fact that when he launched his podcast, he was already a minor celebrity. A lot of his personal experiences won’t translate to someone just getting started today.

His “strategy and map” concept and “three obvious career mistakes” are worth understanding.

To make strong towns, unmake sprawl

Aaron M. Renn reviews Charles Marohn’s bookStrong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity“:

Strong Towns, the book and the namesake organization, resulted from civil engineer and urban planner Charles Marohn’s discovery that the highway projects he designed showed a negative return on investment. The local taxes generated by new road construction and expansion didn’t even cover the costs of the roads themselves, much less any other city services. Marohn calculated, for example, that it would take 37 years’ worth of property-tax revenue from all the houses on his own cul de sac just to recoup the street’s initial cost. This realization inspired Marohn to argue that urban sprawl is a financial loser.

According to Marohn, the current approach to suburban development is a “growth Ponzi scheme.” New developments, like housing subdivisions or industrial parks, require little maintenance for many years after their initial construction. This allows the municipal tax revenues they produce to be used for other purposes. But over time, infrastructure inevitably needs repairs, and, too often, a city can’t cover the cost. If the city goes ahead with the maintenance work, it will need to boost economic growth to generate the necessary revenue to pay for it.

A similar challenge arises on the private side. Unlike traditional communities, which organically form in increments, modern neighborhoods are commonly built in large, uniform blocks intended as permanent developments. Zoning and building codes, along with restrictive covenants, ensure this outcome. Today’s housing developments, for instance, might feature hundreds of homes—separated into various pods—that collectively sell within a narrow price range. Since these homes get built at once, they require major maintenance, such as roof replacement, at around the same time. Homeowners confront significant repair bills, but some cannot afford the upkeep, so the neighborhood can start to look worn down.

This convergence of public and private redevelopment costs—along with changes in market demand for building and neighborhood types that disproportionately affect “monoculture” developments—has contributed to the decline of many outer-urban and inner-suburban areas across America. In modern suburbia, dead malls and rising poverty levels bring municipal fiscal distress; government incentives helped trigger this pattern. “Today, the public sector backstops almost all private land development,” Marohn observes, “either by direct investments up front or by assuming the long-term maintenance obligations before the tax base has matured.” Marohn believes that a significant amount of U.S. infrastructure will be decommissioned due to its high cost.

What Marohn is getting at is the difference between organic and artificial human communities. We’ve been building “artificially” for 70+ years, and the results are the sort of communities Marohn is warning will be financially unsustainable—if not in themselves, then in the supporting infrastructure that they require. We need to think about making strong towns and communities by first unmaking the sprawl that has led to so much of our disconnectedness today—our commutes, our lack of town centers, our lack of relationship with those who should be our neighbors, our tax liabilities, etc.

Our older way of developing a place, which is incrementally, not only ensure that we have a real “center of gravity” in our communities in terms of town squares and places for sharing with one another in meaningful ways, but also that things don’t break at the same time, and that communities support their own needs as much as possible. We call that localism, but it might as well be called conservatism. It was the progressive social architects and engineers that gave us the problems we face.

TechCrunch also has a great review of the book worth checking out.

I’m planning to read “Strong Towns” before the end of the year.