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A journalist, husband and father, Sam MacDonald is pursuing his MFA at the University of Pittsburgh.


Welcome to AntiRust, an open discussion about how America works. Literally.

This blog will focus on the state of American industrialism, how it has changed and why. In the spirit of the Southern Agrarians who offered a spirited defense of agricultural communities in the Old South--minus their fatal pursuit of a romantic Golden Age that never existed--I will attempt to explore why America stopped making stuff and why it matters.

If you are looking for a defense of corporate America--or a diatribe against the cheap goods pouring in from China--look elsewhere. I am an anti-authoritarian, libertarian, rust-belt hillbilly.

Instead, I hope to think about what elements of America's "industrial heritage" are worth preserving. I think this is particularly important in the age of public-private boondoggles that purport to redevelop our inner-cities (Baltimore's Inner Harbor used to be an effective, er, harbor) but instead trammel on small-business owners and filter hundreds of millions of dollars to political cronies, all in the name of...

... of what, exactly?

Overpriced drinks at the Cheesecake Factory?

Don't get me wrong. I like drinks, overpriced and otherwise. And Cheesecake is delicious.

Still, I believe that there is something about the struggling, old cities like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Buffalo that demands a closer look. Many will say it doesn't matter, and they might be right from the global macroeconomic perspective. But I am more interested in real people living in real communities.

So I will take that closer look. On this blog. And probably swear a bit too much in the process and talk way too much about beer.


Age: 32
Place of Origin: Ridgway, PA
Professional: Journalist, former Washington Editor of Reason magazine, author of "The Agony of an American Wilderness" (Rowman and Littlefield 2005), pursuing MFA at the University of Pittsburgh.
Politics: Free Minds. Free Markets. (Thanks, Reason.)
Family: Wife Michele, two kids on the way.
Goal: To polish the Rust Belt. Or at least appreciate it.
Dislike: Arrogant knuckleheads who seem to think they know what's best for me. They are often right, of course, but outta my face, dammit.


Writing. Fishing. Teaching. Drinking. Smoking (I quit, but will always consider myself a smoker at heart).