Mini-Feature: Foundations and Self-Focus

Lifestyle tips from the editors, wokescold free

What is your lifestyle tip for readers this week?

If you don’t carve out time to explore serious questions about what we humans are and how you ought to act and what will make you truly happy—you are a pawn of all the people in the world who want to answer those questions for you. There’s no way around educating yourself.

-Matthew Peterson, founding editor of The American Mind


Here’s a tip—know your foundations, inside and out. Not just principles or knowledge, or even religious creed, but the concrete and incarnate ones. What and who can you absolutely (or as close to it) rely on if things go off the rails or melt down on you? Same question for contingencies in which YOU go off the rails or melt down on you. Know them, memorize them, write them down and store in a good place. If you don’t know this already, you will need them. If you do know this already, there’s no time like the present to make your focus on them a foundation of your life and your plans.

-James Poulos, executive editor of The American Mind


Don't confuse aptitude for wisdom. For instance, no one denies Mark Zuckerburg is very smart. But only a fool considers him wise. See how that works?

-David Bahr, managing editor of The American Mind

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I’m writing this in a car on the drive from Los Angeles to Nashville. What a wide and majestic land this is! Commonplace to observe, I know, but inspiring nonetheless. One of the few consolations currently available as political life spirals out of control: the mountains are still the mountains, and they do not seem concerned. 

The events of January 6 and the rapidly accelerating fallout have me fixated on the work at hand. My determination is not grim, exactly, but it is newly urgent: all the worst people are about to be even more emboldened. It’s go time for the careful, long, patient work of building a local life and institutions that can withstand federal onslaught. 

I believe we have a shot at this, if we work hard and fast. Festina lente, as Augustus was fond of saying: hurry slowly. Build as if you have no time to spare, because you don’t. But use all the time you do have to lay the foundations right.  

The reason I’m writing about this now, on a day when I usually give workout advice, is because I think my lockdown-rage-fueled fitness obsession has in some sense been the seed in me of an attitude we must all now adopt in self-defense. That attitude is: see to your own house.  

The health of one’s body and its integration with a relatively composed mind is the most basic form of something we must now do together daily, insistently, vigorously. I am hoping that my hours in the gym have been and will continue to be a school of the attitudes and disciplines that will be need to organize in community, to build new political associations, to seek out new candidates who can win going forward. Focus, consistency, determination: the same things that’ll get results building muscle will get results building a new and sustainable conservative coalition with institutions that can accomplish victory. Let’s get to work. 

-Spencer Klavan, associate editor of The American Mind