Five Best Monday Columns

John Dickerson on parental lessons from sleepaway camp, Shelby Steele on the new, weaker civil rights movement, Gary Paul Nabhan on agriculture and climate change, Maureen O'Connor on the lasting romantic digital connections, and Paul Krugman on the false comparisons between Detroit and Greece.

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John Dickerson in Slate on sending his kids to sleepaway camp After his children's summer camp experiences, Dickerson notices that his children have changed, and for the better. "This is a different girl than the one I remember. I wish I had been that way. I wish I were that way now. This was the unexpected wonder of the trip," he writes. Dickerson explains with parental love how their separation for those weeks successfully built up his daughter's independence. "We are not invited, which is a paper-cut echo of the truth at the heart of parenting: You're doing it best when you're teaching them to leave you." Tom Shoop, editor in chief of Atlantic Media's Government Executive Media Group tweets "This is fantastic." "Calling it now: Next year's ASME winner for best essay," The Atlantic editor Scott Stossel writes.

Shelby Steele in The Wall Street Journal on the decline of civil rights movement "Today's black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and '60s," Steele writes. My, how the mighty civil rights movement has fallen since then, as its focus on George Zimmerman's trial was misplaced. "The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed." Forbes contributor Bill Frezza tweets that it's the "Read of the Day," while religious author and Huffington Post contributor Obery Hendricks, Jr. writes "It's difficult not to be sickened by Shelby Steele's portrayal of Zimmerman in today's WSJ as 'contrite' & 'cherubic' & Trayvon as 'menace.'"

Gary Paul Nabhan in The New York Times on climate change and food shortages The Western U.S. accounts for a huge amount of the country's food production, and all of that is under threat from the increasingly regular triple-digit temperatures brought on by climate change, writes the research scientist. "Fortunately, there are dozens of time-tested strategies that our best farmers and ranchers have begun to use," Nabhan writes. "The problem is that several agribusiness advocacy organizations have done their best to block any federal effort to promote them." Cheap solutions like compost, more efficient rainwater harvest, and seeding rangelands would greatly benefit agriculture, Nabhan argues. "Drought-plagued farmers could boost water storage around roots from 33 to 195 lbs/cu. meter with mulch. And more," environmental writer and Times contributor Richard Conniff notes. Whatever the solution, farmers "need all kinds of support," tweets award-winning cookbook writer Naomi Duguid.

Maureen O'Connor in The Cut on break-ups in a social network world "There was also a time, I am told, when staying in touch was difficult. Exes were characters from a foreclosed past, symbols from former and forgone lives," O'Connor writes. Now, however, with texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a bevy of other platforms, staying safely away from old relationship partners is next to impossible. "It’s a dozen soap operas playing at the same time on a dozen different screens, and you are the star of them all," O'Connor writes. "It’s both as thrilling and as sickening as it sounds." Guardian editor Heidi Moore tweets that the "Mildly horrifying story by @maureenoco is far more informational [about] millennial courtship than 10 NYT Styles stories." "Love this," tweets Buzzfeed senior editor Jessica Misener.

Paul Krugman in The New York Times on the false comparisons between Detroit and Greece When Athens declared national bankruptcy it caused an over-the-top backlash against overloaded government budgets and fiscal irresponsibility, but the lesson from Detroit's bankruptcy is wholly different, Krugman argues. "Detroit does seem to have had especially bad governance, but for the most part the city was just an innocent victim of market forces," Krugman writes. Free market principles declare that some economic focuses will succeed and some will fail, and "For the most part, it’s just one of those things that happens now and then in an ever-changing economy." So don't compare Detroit to Greece, Daily Kos writer Timothy Lange notes, "even though some people would like that." National Review Online contributing editor and columnist Donald Luskin tweets "Krugman rushes to the scene of the Detroit trainwreck — to warn us WE MUSTN'T LEARN ANYTHING FROM THIS!"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.