Allan C. Carlson

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The Case for Christian Distributism
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The Case for Christian Distributism

Christian distributism celebrates the small and the human. It rests on strong home economies and demands the widest possible distribution and ownership of productive property. It favors worker ownership through cooperatives of necessarily larger machines and enterprises. It seeks and

The Truth About Hungary
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The Truth About Hungary

I met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn in May of last year.  With a few others, we shared breakfast before the opening session of the second Budapest Demographic Forum.  He was every bit the “footballer” I had been told to

The Last Ideology
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The Last Ideology

“Liberalism has failed,” writes University of Notre Dame political-science professor Patrick Deneen in his new book with a related title. “Nearly every one of the promises . . . made by the architects and creators of liberalism has been shattered,”

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The Stork Theory

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From the October 2016 issue of Chronicles.

Business Insider recently reported “a mind-blowing demographic shift” that is about to occur.  Considering the globe’s whole human population, the number of adults age 65 and older will in a few years be

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The Midwestern Identity

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From the August 1995 issue of Chronicles.

Ask a contemporary American to characterize “the Midwestern identity” and you will likely get, besides much puzzlement, one of two answers. Most would eventually reply “Big Ten Football,” but public radio listeners, always

Regional Anthem
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Regional Anthem

A century ago, the American Midwest was in the ascendant, widely acknowledged as the nation’s vital Heartland, a place characterized by a morally strong and independent populace, a relatively egalitarian distribution of wealth in land (the classic 160 acre family

Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died
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Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died

Over half a century ago, the family system advocated by John Locke and modeled on Lockean liberalism seemed to have triumphed completely in the United States, in Western Europe, and globally.  In that model, marriage is viewed as a contract

A Conservative Tax Code
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A Conservative Tax Code

Few American objects attract more scorn than the federal Internal Revenue Code.  When initially drafted in 1914, it contained 11,400 words, about the length of a long magazine article.  Today, the Code weighs in at about four million words, with

A City on a Hill—With Transgender Toilets?
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A City on a Hill—With Transgender Toilets?

A little over 30 years ago, I was attending a conference in a faraway place when disaster struck.  I became sick, really sick—the sort of illness where one can barely crawl out of bed, let alone attend conference sessions.  Lacking

The Stork Theory
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The Stork Theory

Business Insider recently reported “a mind-blowing demographic shift” that is about to occur.  Considering the globe’s whole human population, the number of adults age 65 and older will in a few years be greater than the number of children under

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The True Source

Phyllis Schlafly, in the spring of 1973, squared off in debate at Illinois State University against archfeminist Betty Friedan.  The subject was the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, at the time just a few states short of ratification.  Those

Euthanasia for Excellence
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Euthanasia for Excellence

On April 10 of last year, the European Patent Office quietly awarded a patent to Michigan State University (MSU) for “euthanasia solutions which use the anesthetic gammahydroxy-butramide (embutramide) as a basis for formulating the composition.” On the surface, the event

Eternity Gained
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Eternity Gained

In his new novel Wendell Berry returns to the time and the characters found in his earlier and more complex work, A Place on Earth. The atmosphere is familiar: a community subtly unsettled by the distant events of World

American Gothic
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American Gothic

        “Do not the seas and the mountains and the prairies and the plains in some manner and to some extent transform men into their own likeness?”
—Cyrenus Cole

The America First cause of 1959-41 finds a powerful, if unusual and

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Henry Regnery, R.I.P.

He died on June 18, his devoted wife of six decades, Eleanor, at his side.

Soft-spoken, humble, ever polite and generous, Henry was also a man of indomitable courage. In an era of accelerating centralization in the book trade, he

Lone Star Rising
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Lone Star Rising

The development of a uniquely Texan conservatism has occurred over the last quarter century. A central figure in this transition was the late M.E. Bradford, professor of English at the University of Dallas, literary essayist in the tradition of the

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Broad Political Views

Wendell Berry’s new essay collection, Another Turn of the Crank, gives definition to broad political views that the author has previously left obscure. Regarding foreign trade, for example, he asks: “How can any nation or region justify the destruction

The State of Union
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The State of Union

“I grew up a few miles from the X county this book deals with,” anthropologist Jane Adams writes in her account of rural Union County, Illinois. “My family’s farm, although dating only to the early 1940’s, is now essentially abandoned,

The Missionary’s Son
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The Missionary’s Son

Henry Luce both created and dominated a new form of national journalism between 1930 and 1960. Founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Life, and Fortune, he is best remembered for his 1941 Life essay “The American Century,” a

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Daddies and the Swedish State

The Mercy Killing of Socialism, launched so hopefully throughout Central and Eastern Europe in 1991, has failed. Most visibly, Polish voters returned the communists to parliamentary control in 1993, while Russia swung toward a version of National Socialism. Even in

Louis Bromfield’s America
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Louis Bromfield’s America

Malabar Farm drew a large crowd the summer day I was there, mostly busloads of the elderly on excursion from the “senior centers” of Ohio. They came to see Louis Bromfield’s legacy—the once famous agricultural experiment that is now a

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The Nationalism of Jan Myrdal

Jan Myrdal, the brooding bad boy of Swedish letters, agreed to meet with me on a Sunday afternoon, at his home near the village of Mariefred. I went to ask this iconoclastic celebrant of China’s Cultural Revolution (Report From

Uncle Sam’s Child
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Uncle Sam’s Child

The recent election season opened with hopes high for an intelligent debate of family issues. The 1991 Final Report of the National Commission on Children (on which I served) seemed to have broken the moral and political logjams that had

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The Case for Proportional Representation

Congressional reapportionment, an orgy of partisan revenge and blatant self-interest mandated every ten years by our Constitution, proved particularly ugly in 1992. In Tennessee, Texas, and other states, judges required minority-dominated districts be carved out to insure representation to blacks

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Rediscovered Family

The Bush administration has rediscovered the family. A year ago, White House minions strove to torpedo the Final Report of the National Commission on Children, worried that its recommendation of tax relief for families with children might upset the hallowed

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The Ants and Elephants of Swedish Politics

In February, I returned to Sweden after a 15-year absence, and discovered a very different land. In 1976, Americans were viewed with suspicion. We carried the immediate legacy of the Vietnam imbroglio and a vague reputation as “protofascists.” These were

Confessions of a Housing Policy Junkie
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Confessions of a Housing Policy Junkie

I spent the 1970’s looking for a social policy agenda I could love. I thought I had found one in federal housing subsidies.

The image of the free family on its homestead powerfully appealed to my imagination. I saw the

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An Unexpected Eruption

Sweden experienced an unexpected eruption of right-wing populism this autumn. While news accounts focused on the electoral defeat of the ruling Social Democrats and the victory of a center-right coalition, the bigger story was the success of two new political

Motels and Filling Stations
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Motels and Filling Stations

Rural and small town America is nearly dead. A distinctive culture rooted in family farms, weakening since 1900 and seriously diseased since 1960, emerged from the 1980’s in a terminal state. In Iowa alone, the last ten years saw a

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Fading Into Arabian Nights

As the shock of American cluster bombs and the distinctive rumble of Abrams tanks fade from the Arabian nights, we world-citizens must begin to sort through the events of the last eight months. Many lessons could be drawn. Allow me

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New International Order

The GATT Trade talks in Europe collapsed and surprised advocates of the new international order. American officials tagged blame on the nations of Western Europe and Japan for their intransigent unwillingness to dismantle national farm programs sheltering indigenous rural communities.

O Canada
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O Canada

If the fuss over Canada’s Meech Lake Accords has you confused, William Gairdner’s The Trouble With Canada is a fine place to turn to. The book is a solid personal jeremiad against the egalitarian evils taking root in Canada, and

Engines of Decline
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Engines of Decline

Disturbing the Nest is among the finest and most readable works of comparative sociology published in the last ten years, and the most effective critique of the Swedish welfare state now in print. David Poponoe’s careful, fully documented, and gently

Leviathan’s Children
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Leviathan’s Children

Washington apparatchiks have spent the last two decades in a frustrating search for a theme that could carry the sagging American welfare state. There are signs now that they have finally identified a, two-headed creature slouching toward Bethlehem-on-the-Potomac to be

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An Exhausting Criminal Trial

Peggy Buckey’s acquittal and the acquittal of her son Raymond Buckey on 52 counts of child molestation brought an end to a highly publicized and exhausting criminal trial. Less noticed, perhaps, were postmortems on the case by jury members, who

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The Anti-Drug Crusade

The Anti-Drug Crusade contains the common hype along with always-commendable pledges to crack down on drug criminals and introduce “zero tolerance” for users. Nonetheless, President Bush’s war on drugs can only fail, for it insists on attacking the symptoms of

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Day Care and Illegal Drugs

Day care and illegal drugs are hot political issues. Yet there has been little public discussion of the relationship between changing family patterns and the use of illegal drugs. Considerable data suggests a close connection between the two. Indeed, the

Charity Begins At Home
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Charity Begins At Home

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, when she was asked her opinion of her cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, described him as “One third mush and two thirds Eleanor.” The same could be said of FDR’s creation, the welfare state: one third mush;

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First Mass Mailing

“Understanding AIDS,” the U.S. Surgeon General’s brochure on “public enemy number one,” has been called the first mass mailing of a federal policy message to every American household. In fact, an earlier administration attempted to meet a very different public

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Heroes Wanted

In that bloated morass called American higher education, only a few institutions remain that are committed to the classical virtues and to learning as an induction into Western civilization. Hillsdale College is counted among that number.

Credit for holding that

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The First Green International

Peasant agrarianism, some say, was Central Europe’s “missed opportunity” for independent political development in this century. Such arguments have been heard particularly since 1947, as the refugees from Marxist Europe organized their International Peasant Union and met every other

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Old Attitudes Die Hard

Gunnai Myrdal came as the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Lutheran Council in the USA—yet another public atheist called to give moral guidance to yet another demoralized band of American religious leaders. I saw his presence as

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Back to Barbarism

Much of the bioregional vision should appeal to conservative sentiments. As the pitiful remnant of America’s agrarian culture again falls victim to drought and depression, the bioregionalists call for a return to the land, a reconstruction of self-sufficient farm life,

The Gelded Age
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The Gelded Age

“If the Model Boy was in either of these
Sunday schools, I did not see him.”

—Mark Twain

What do men want? In the gloried 1950’s, Sports Afield and Rod and Gun exemplified a male ethos resting on the quest

Small-Town Schizophrenia
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Small-Town Schizophrenia

        “I see the rural virtues leave the land. “
—Oliver Goldsmith

Garrison Keillor, the writer, has finally made it big. Five years ago a regional cult figure and occasional contributor to the New Yorker, Keillor has now vaulted on

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Letter From Minnesota

American and British negotiators of the Treaty of Paris, attempting to set the northwestern boundary of the new United States, agreed on a line following Rainy River “to the Lake of the Woods, thence through said lake to the most

Life, Interpreted Lucely
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Life, Interpreted Lucely

” . . . where the pictures for the page atone.”
—Alexander Pope

No contemporary could write promotion copy quite like Henry Luce. His 1936 prospectus for a new magazine featuring photographs, tentatively called The Show-Book of the World,

Man and Nature
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Man and Nature

Is mankind no more than a part of nature, subject to her laws like every other species? Or has the human race transcended natural limits and set itself apart as master of creation?

Since the dawn of the 19th century,