Front Porch Republic

Place. Limits. Liberty.

Front Porch Republic

Front Porch Republic
We live in a world characterized by a flattened culture and increasingly meaningless freedoms. Little regard is paid to the necessity for those overlapping local and regional groups, communities, and associations that provide a matrix for human flourishing. We’re in a bad way, and the spokesmen and spokeswomen of both our Left and our Right are, for the most part, seriously misguided in their attempts to provide diagnoses, let alone solutions.


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cicero bust

One may notice in this election cycle a certain amount of talk about statesmanship – primarily because each of the candidates is thought to lack it. The latest issue of the Economist refers to “unstatesmanlike†remarks made by Romney. Cornel…

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OCTOBER 9, 2012 4:13PM

Tocqueville and Beyond

In a recent interview Chilton Williamson talks about his new book After Tocqueville, described by former FPR contributor John Willson as “the best book on democracy in the past hundred years.â€

Of course the question of how democratic the modern West really is can be debated; nonetheless, William… Read full post »

OCTOBER 9, 2012 1:01AM

Leaving Washington

Capitol in Rear View Mirror

Notre Dame, IN. …It was on the virtual “pages†of the Front Porch Republic that I announced last February that I was leaving Georgetown University, in Washington D.C., to accept a position at the University of Notre Dame, in nearby

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OCTOBER 8, 2012 1:00AM

Life Under Compulsion

Sigrid Undset photograph

In 1940, when the Nazis attacked their supposed racial kinfolk in Norway and set up a puppet government under the odious Quisling, the novelist Sigrid Undset fled to the countryside at Lillehammer, and then, with her son Hans—her elder son…

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OCTOBER 4, 2012 2:37PM

A Goodman is Hard to Find

I’m happy to report that New York Review Books has just reprinted Growing Up Absurd (1960), Paul Goodman’s classic plea for the human scale against the postwar corporate and military-industrial behemoth.  Especially noteworthy is a terrific foreword by Casey Nelson Blake assaying Goodman’s “… Read full post »

OCTOBER 4, 2012 12:18PM

Historian on the Debate


The blogosphere is filled with opinions on last night’s debate between the president and the challenger. The chattering classes has gotten a whole lot larger. Unless you are a historian and follow the posts at the History News Network, you…

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OCTOBER 4, 2012 1:00AM

Take Me Home

take me home

This excerpt is taken from Eric Miller’s new book: Glimpses of Another Land: Political Hopes, Spiritual Longings. The Penn State University geographer Wilbur Zelinsky believes something exists called the “Pennsylvania Culture Area.†Last month I found it. I was home in…

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OCTOBER 2, 2012 1:00AM

Political Hope, Spiritual Longing


Of all the distinctive raiment with which Americans garb themselves, political hope is surely the most evident to anyone not American. We put it on without thinking. We seldom take it off. We have varieties for all weather. It is…

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As the first of the presidential debates approaches, it is helpful (though not necessarily heartening) to turn to Christopher Lasch, whose understanding of American democracy was profound. The following paragraphs are taken from his book The Revolt of the Elites.…

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If you didn’t catch this panel put on by Marketplace and BBC, it’s pretty exciting:

It takes the expert panel only about 10 minutes (2:00 to 12:40) to get to crucial points… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 11:21AM

Hospitality at a Fractured Table


“It sure is hard to have people over to dinner these days,†the food writer lamented, at a talk I attended the other week. She told a sorry tale of a dinner party involving two vegetarians, their father who expected…

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 1:12AM

Crazy Quilt Conservatism


Hidden Springs, VA….Last week the Washington Post ran a story titled “Rethinking the Classroom: Obama’s Overhaul of Public Education.†The piece described the various ways Obama has asserted himself into the education debate. He has largely defanged the “No

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SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 10:20AM

How to be a Localist Anywhere


Maybe your neighborhood doesn’t have front porches or sidewalks or a farmer’s market or anywhere to shop except Target. Maybe despite the supposed modern hegemony of freedom and mobility, you find yourself stuck, thanks to our current economy, in a…

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SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 10:16AM

Twice Removed


Damn the lights, unnatural, bright, coiled, spewing white 15 watts.   Damn the halls, with their smooth vinyl, soaked in bleach, the stench of sterile rising like road kill on a summer street.   Damn the cinderblock walls, painted neutral…

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2012 1:03AM

Thanks to Jason Peters, aka The Bar Jester

Since FPR’s inception in March of 2009, Jason Peters has written a weekly column. Without missing a single week, he has, with his inimitable style, regaled FPR readers with his ruminations on food, sex, culture, community, energy, idiocy, technology, mobility, peak oil, religion, and education.… Read full post »

Abbey of the Genesee

Last evening I had the joy of taking a dozen-plus college students to the Abbey of the Genesee for the first of this year’s “Newman Community Book Discussion with Monks.†The Trappist monastery is just a few miles down the road…

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In the afterglow of last weekend’s gathering of Porchers, which featured a panel on American exceptionalism, a piece by Walter McDougall over at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s website comes at a good time. (Is there ever a bad one…

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 12:19AM

And So The Streak Ends


Related posts: Marriage Ends in New York, An Ancient Struggle Continues Devon, PA.… As my latest pair of essays on FPR... The Kodachrome Era Ends, Right Here in Kansas Mama, they took my Kodachrome away....…

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 5:39PM

Eros, Agape, and Community

From the The Orthosphere come Part I and Part II of the pseudonymous physicist Bonald’s reflections on Christianity, love, and community — reflections based in part upon the work of one of the 20th Century’s greatest minds, Dietrich von Hildebrand.

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  1. Spring Spheres and th
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SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 8:09PM

The Springs of the Scamander

the parting of hector and andromache

One of the most memorable passages in the Iliad occurs in Book 22, during the climactic scene when Achilles is chasing Hector around the walls of Troy.  As Achilles closes in on his great foe, intent to finally have his…

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 10:31AM

Conference Schedule

The conference will be on the campus of Hope College in Holland, MI.  Go to the Maas Conference Center on the corner of Tenth and Columbia, on the back side of Phelps Hall. On-site registration will be available starting at 8:15am. Cash or check only.

We hope to see you there.… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 8:37AM

FPR Conference Details

There is still time to register for the conference by clicking here. We will also be welcoming walk-up registrants on-site, but if you go that route you’ll have to pay by check or cash.

The conference is in the Maas Conference Center on the corner of Tenth and Columbia, on the… Read full post »


And we mean that in the etymologically precise sense of the word.

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 12:10AM

Upcoming Poetry Readings

For those readers who might be interested, I’ve recently published my first collection of poems, Distant Lands and Near, available here.  Also, those who are aficionados of traditional poetry might be interested in two upcoming events I will be participating in, as part of a group called the… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 1:08AM

Town Fabric and Placemaking

Prague town square

This excerpt is the second in a three-part series from Eric Jacobsen’s book, The Space Between. Read Part I here.  Town Fabric and Placemaking The built environment plays an important role in this dynamic process of space becoming

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