Author Archives: Brent

It’s crowded in Wellfleet. But is it too crowded?

This town of Wellfleet always feels crowded in summer to locals. After all, most of the year most of our houses are unoccupied. The population, we’re told, swells by a factor of seven or more in summer. But the word on the street is that it is more crowded than usual this summer. Unprecedentedly crowded. […]

Town meeting: Enclave of democracy, siege mentality

Wellfleet’s recent town meeting, held outdoors at the Elementary School ball field, over six hours of a fine Saturday, was both sobering and refreshing (in no particular order.) Our town has troubles: widely publicized fiscal incompetence, housing prices ridiculously out of the reach of the sort of young people who might want to settle here, […]

For a real town, taking on market forces

Cape towns need to “commit to a fundamental reimagining of what we are willing to do,” Senator Cyr is quoted in this paper a few days ago, “or we will not have year-round sustainable communities.” “Fundamental reimagining” is a challenging phrase. What might he mean by that? At Wellfleet town meeting on this coming Saturday, […]

In a democracy, government is us

One way to see Biden’s ambitious agenda is that it’s an old guy wise enough to not care a lot about another term , transcending the politically calculating caution more typical of a younger politician. Call it burnishing his legacy. Call it doing the right thing, as he sees it. Which also happens to be […]

Wellfleet’s latest revolution?

It certainly feels like a different sort of June in this Outer Cape town. Everyone has a story of pandemic-related crowding: more people at the beach, more people walking dogs, more cars on the back roads. Unprecedented traffic on Route 6. What happened to our sleepy June respite before the seasonal onslaught? And then there […]

Chauvin and our division-of-labor problem

What was Officer Chauvin thinking ( feeling, experiencing) for those 9 plus minutes kneeling on George Floyd’s neck? Was he really more afraid than he looked? Was he feeling racist rage? Or maybe a sense of duty to set a good example for the less experienced cops standing around? A few minutes of google search […]

Self-evident truths : then and now

We continue to be plagued, two and a half months into Biden’s energetic presidency, with dangerously divided beliefs. Election stolen; election the most careful in history. Trump a great hero; Trump headed for prison if there’s any justice to be had from a Trump-skewed justice system. Vaccines a great scientific miracle salvation; vaccines a satanic […]

Covid Craziness: conundrums and contradictions

This past year of the pandemic has frequently been referred to as a “crazy time.” Crazy not just because we’ve had to live and work in unprecedented ways, but also crazy in the sense of puzzling, contradictory–crazy-making. A mantra from the first has been the sensible-sounding advice to “follow the science” and listen to the […]

Covid one year ago: the individual and the herd

On March 12th of last year covid-19 had its first practical effect on my life when I went to a drugstore to buy a card for my wife’s birthday. A woman was standing in front of the card rack making her selection. Hmmm , I thought, maybe I better wait til she’s through, and bided […]

Government, liberty, and our founding paradox

David Lesh, a colorful self-promoter, posted on Instagram a photo of himself defecating into a hitherto pristine Colorado lake, crowing about the wonderful feeling of freedom he got from it. Then, when faced with charges, he claimed that, actually, he had faked the photo. As he put it to a reporter, “I want to be […]