July 22, 2002, I put out the first edition of the Bacon's
Rebellion newsletter in the wild-eye hope of
advancing the conversation about how to build more
prosperous, livable and sustainable communities in
writers explored how Virginians should respond to
the challenges of globalization, the Knowledge
Economy and the depletion of our natural capital. We railed against complacency and
challenged the status quo. We advocated the
wholesale transformation of outmoded institutions
that no longer work well -- from education to
economic development, from transportation to land
use, from energy to the environment.
some six years later, do I believe we have made a
difference. I take some satisfaction that my fellow
columnists and I have helped change the terms of
debate, even if we have fallen short in our
aspiration to inspire lasting change.
all good things must come to an end. This will be
the last edition that I publish. This doesn't
the end of the e-zine, however. I am pursuing discussions
with some friends of Bacon's Rebellion to
pick up where I have left off. Hopefully, we'll have
some good news to report in the near future. (If
anyone else wants to get involved, contact me at [email protected]!)
isn't easy letting go something in which I've
invested so much of my time and my identity. The
simple truth is, I've just ran out of steam. Outside
the two-and-a-half years when the Piedmont
Environmental Council financially supported the e-zine,
I've put out the publication on my own dime and my
own time. For 156 editions (including this one), I've devoted alternate
weekends to writing this column, editing and
formatting the contributions of others', composing
an electronic newsletter and updating the website --
not including the time I've spent on the blog.
rigid schedule put a big crimp on my family time.
Bottom line: I want to spend more time with my wife and children, and I need more flexibility to
help aging parents. Family
comes first. That's not something I would have said
when I was 30 years old, when the thought of
changing the world was far more seductive. But it's
something that, at 55, I do say now.
e-zine has never enjoyed a mass audience -- we
can boast about 2,800 active, opt-in subscribers.
Our focus of interest -- state and local public
policy in Virginia -- is not for everyone. I've
always joked that only one percent of the
population could care less about the subject -- and
that assessment may be optimistic.
that small boxing arena, I believe,
we punch above our weight. I've been
gratified by the extent to which Virginia's top
elected and governmental officials do read us. Also
-- I think I can say without excessive
braggadocio -- Bacon's Rebellion is a
thought leader in Virginia. Our
distinguishing attribute has been a fervor for
exploring new perspectives, covering new ground and
elevating new issues to the forefront of public
never been a proponent of ideological purity or
political correctness. I've made an effort to
recruit talented writers who represent a broad
cross-section of thinking, even when it meant airing
viewpoints contrary to my own -- which was quite
frequently. My goal for the e-zine
and accompanying blog (which I will continue to
update) has been to fashion a forum where diverse
ideas and civil voices could contend, and in doing
so, raise the level of discourse.
six years, many, many people have contributed to Bacon's
Rebellion, giving much of themselves and writing
without recompense. Without their efforts, this
publication surely would have foundered. I wish I
could thank them all. (Visit the Wonk's page
to see the more frequent contributors of
years past.) For now, I will settle for acknowledging
those who have stuck with me to the end.
Koelemay, author of "Koelemay's Kosmos,"
gave me the courage to publish the very first
edition of Bacon's Rebellion by promising to
take part as a regular columnist. Over the past six years, he has missed
only a handful of issues. Writing extensively
about technology and governance, he added a voice of
moderation and reason.
Risse, author of "The Shape of the
Future," also has been writing for Bacon's Rebellion
since year one. Of all the e-zine's contributors,
he and I have collaborated the most closely to push
the boundaries of understanding. I have learned far
more from him than he from me, but together, I
think, we have increased awareness in Virginia of
the critical importance of human settlement
Clay and Patricia Bangs, authors of "Nice
& Curious Questions," added a touch of
whimsy to Bacon's Rebellion. Contributors
since 2003, they have combed the width and breadth
of Virginia in search of trivia and lore.
Thompson, Chris Braunlich and Len Gilroy, the three
amigos of the Jefferson
Institute for Public Policy, have alternated
writing columns since 2004. They have championed
fiscal conservatism and free markets not by dwelling
upon the failures of the status quo but by thinking
creatively about positive solutions.
Leahy, author of "One Man's Trash,"
has brought to the e-zine a conservative perspective
sharpened by a ready wit and a copywriter's gift for
the memorable turn of phrase. A relative newcomer to
he has been writing for the Rebellion since early
Galuszka, author of "Gooze Views," has
delivered a dose of liberal 'tude aimed at keeping
me and other Old Dominion conservatives on our toes for nearly
a year now. A comrade in arms of mine at Virginia
Business magazine and a former international correspondent for
BusinessWeek, Peter roots his analysis in a
much-needed global business perspective.
stack our contributors up against the editorial
board of any newspaper in Virginia. I commend them
all for their fine work, and I owe them a boundless debt
thank the many readers who have encouraged me along
the way. Your moral support is what kept me going
for so long.
September 8, 2008