Jonathan Rowe: My friend and fellow Washington Monthly alumnus Jonathan Rowe died Sunday morning, apparently due to a sudden infection. I didn’t work at TWM with Jon, but did come to know and learn from him. For the past few years he’s been sending me e-mails commenting on–usually questioning and criticizing–what I’ve written, always in his kind and non-combative way. I went on his radio show (KWMR) in large part because I enjoyed talking to him so much. He was basically a man of the American left, but he was not dogmatic (see 3rd item). His thinking was quirky, skeptical and subtle. Tim Noah points to his writing on “the commons,” an egalitarian sphere that existed outside both “market” and “state”:
The reigning mental map looks something like this: a prolific market on one side, a repressive – though sometimes necessary – government on the other, families off in a corner someplace, and little of significance around or between. The conventional economic indicators, such as the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, actually portray the destruction of the commons as economic growth and gain. The more we turn forests into timber, the atmosphere into a dump, quiet into noise and childhood into a marketing free-fire zone, the better the “economy” is doing, according to the GDP and the belief system it embodies.
Jon, who’d worked for Sen. Byron Dorgan, also convinced me Barbara Boxer was hamish, not shrewish, an unfortunate burden I’ve carried ever since.
I got the impression that he was very happy living in Marin County with his family. They should know that a lot of people admired Jon as much as they did. …