When people ask me about it, I say "it's sort of like Reader's Digest" with lots of articles that have already been published in other publications. The difference is, the Utne staffers search through little known and not so common magazines for their stories. It should also be mentioned that Utne picks a topic for each issue. Here are some past topics:
Imagine the America You Want March/April 2003 (Issue 116)
The Future of Healing May/June 2001 (Issue 105)
Great American Sellout November/December 1999 (Issue 96)
Gender blur September/October...
We jokingly refer to it as the thinking readers Readers Digest, since the articles aren't "feel good" but are articles that are meant to make the reader think. Articles that come from a variety of other publications and cover a plethora of issues and topics.
It is a magazine that I find myself re-reading and re-reading past issues for months or years ago. And yes the publication is liberal or at least alternative lifestyle mode.