7 results for author: Paul Gilk


A Kingdom, Power, and Glory Book Club Review

The public establishment of Christianity may be considered as one of the most important and domestic revolutions which excite the most lively curiosity, and afford the most valuable instruction. The victories and the civil policy of Constantine no longer influence the state of Europe; but a considerable portion of the globe still retains the impression which it received from the conversion of that monarch; and the ecclesiastical institutions of his reign are still connected, by an indissoluble chain, with the opinions, the passions, and the interests of the present generation. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, page 634 &...

Commonwealth Spirituality

Here in northern Wisconsin, on Tuesday night, August 15, 2023, the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors defeated, by a vote of 13-9, a resolution calling for a county-wide referendum on the funding of the county-owned nursing home, Pine Crest. Over one hundred people—many of them elderly, some in wheelchairs—were in attendance in the big room where supervisors meet. Over half-a-dozen citizens spoke, all in favor of the resolution, including one man who pointed out that a ten-year $8 per month price tag (the property tax increase) offered an astonishingly inexpensive insurance policy for permanent disability or old age infirmity, not to speak of the ...

The Jefferson Project: Thomas Jefferson’s Death Day and a Fourth of July Remembrance

Back in the mid-1980s, an outfit called Anvil Press published a book of mine. Its title was—still is—Nature’s Unruly Mob: Farming and the Crisis in Rural Culture. The topic (or its urgency) hasn’t gone away. Anvil Press printed the book as a special issue of its occasional quarterly magazine, North Country Anvil. The magazine was full of larger-issue farm news and analysis, and it made the Anvil shop a hub and gathering spot for farm activists—all this in southeastern Minnesota, in a village called Millville, nestled below limestone bluffs, through which the Zumbro River tumbled toward the Mississippi. Caught up in the energetic and ...

Abandonment and the Gerrymandering of Resentment

Anyone who’s paid attention knows that Wisconsin is a tightly gerrymandered state. The geopolitical scrabble of electoral districts enables the Republican Party to hold large majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate. Those majorities come from districts far more rural than urban. They’re also rather working class in cultural disposition. There is a racial element in these gerrymandered districts—black and urban versus white and rural—but the racial thing is less endemic racist than it is a polarized absence of cultural interaction. The race thing is real, but it’s less embedded and more amenable to amelioration than is usually ...

The Address of an Uninvited Keynote Speaker

I wrote the following in one fell swoop after receiving a call from a young friend. He was relaying a tentative invitation—or the possibility of a tentative invitation—that immediately excited me into eight hand-written pages without a pee break. That was quite an accomplishment for an old man. Well, the possible tentative invitation fell through. It failed to materialize. I’m not sure why. My inner hermit was relieved. My constricted soapbox manager was, at least for a while, beside himself with deflated bubbles. But here are the hastily scribbled pages, edited with a residue of burst bubbles. II In late January of 2023, I took a ...

Shameless

A peculiar thing about gerrymandering is its shamelessness. Its shamelessness is underrecognized and underappreciated in the sense of refusing to see itself for what it is, how proud it is of its morality. Its very morality exudes shamelessness. But how did shamelessness get to be so moral? Gerrymandering is inherently undemocratic. It stacks the electoral deck. Wisconsin is so thoroughly stacked as to be a scientific experiment in political engineering. What can possibly justify a deliberately imposed constriction of a more inclusive and participatory democracy? Here we need to swing back to shamelessness itself in order to assess its ...

A Review of Curt Meine’s Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work on the Occasion of Aldo Leopold’s 136th Birthday

One could tick off details about Aldo Leopold’s life—born January 11, 1887, in Burlington, Iowa; educated as a forester at Yale; worked for the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico and Arizona for roughly two decades; married Estella Bergere in October of 1912; accepted an appointment to the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1924; and, in 1935, came into possession of “the shack,” near Baraboo, along the Wisconsin River, a place that figures as a hub in A Sand County Almanac, and on which property he died, of an apparent heart attack, while fighting a grass fire on April 21, 1948. Leopold was 62 years old, famous and revered in ...