Conservation, Inflation, and Boeing

“‘This Will Finish Us.’” I finished reading Wendell Berry’s Unsettling of America this week with a group of students, so this heartbreaking essay by Stephanie McCrummen about how the Tanzanian government, oil money from the Gulf states, and “conservationists” are evicting Maasai … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Allegories of Pruning: Cutting for Growth

Pruning is difficult because we are forced to make a conscious decision to remove something that has been part of a growing plant. But these cuts are necessary and even life-giving. | Continue reading | 2 days ago

That Brutal, Ferocious Thing: Watching Civil War

I must say that I did not want to write this review. I walked into the theatre with high hopes for Mr. Garland’s Civil War. I was hoping it would sober people to the actual horrors that a modern a civil war would entail. | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Laughter is Courageous: A Review of Empire Between the Lines

As such, these papers provide the means for understanding how imperial concerns shaped the way Entente soldiers perceived themselves and the war. But even more importantly to my mind, the papers provide a window into the human soul and how humor springs eternal in the human breas … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

What’s In Your Garage?

No home but the Garden was there originally for man, once upon a very long time ago. No garage either was part of life before expulsion from Eden. | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Refuge, Levitation, and Hospitality

“The Liberalism of Refuge.” I think that Bryan Garsten’s notion of “refuge” isn’t robust enough to do all the work he’s asking it to do in this account, but he poses important and nuanced challenges to some forms of localism in this essay: “Liberal societies, I want to suggest, a … | Continue reading | 8 days ago

Travels in Exotic Nebraska: A Review of American Harvest

The book is at its best when it embraces a more generous spirit. If one wishes to learn about traveling grain harvesters and to follow a literary description of the landscape, one will find it here. | Continue reading | 9 days ago

President Biden and the Lost Cause

In Lost Cause debates, President Biden should be wary of casting the first stone: his own history demonstrates the complicated relationship the country has with its deadliest war and the men who led it. | Continue reading | 10 days ago

Thinking About Wendell Berry’s Leftist Lament (and More)

[Cross-posted to In Medias Res] Wendell Berry’s sprawling, uneven, brilliant, and sometimes frustrating The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice will likely not, I think, be widely remembered after he leaves us as his greatest, most important work. But it is … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Gadfly Graffiti

In a funk no more, I was prepared to meet the smile of my daughters with a genuine smile of my own as they came out of practice. The graffiti was gadfly, but also gift. | Continue reading | 12 days ago


“Adonai has compassion,” sang the psalmist, “for he understands how we are made, he remembers that we are dust.” Perhaps in our dust of grief, we see clearly for the first time. | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Hands, Surveillance, and Church

“Angry Farmers Are Reshaping Europe.” While this New York Times article predictably frames European farmers’ frustrations through the lens of the “far right” and its rising political power, Roger Cohen provides a view of life on French farms: “if this farmer seemed passionate abo … | Continue reading | 15 days ago

Is a Radioactive Trash Mountain Coming to Town?

This addiction may involve us in all sorts of ironies, but we need to untangle these and distinguish between irresponsible or absurd ironies and tragic or inescapable ones. | Continue reading | 16 days ago

Public Enemy #1?: Smartphones and a Generation at Risk

Haidt’s book is a tour de force. I can give it no higher praise than to say I wish we could put this book in the hands of every parent, teacher, school administrator, schoolboard member, and legislator in the country. Haidt convincingly shows that mobile technology—mostly but not … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

“I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for It”: An Appreciation of Love for the Land

“Heeding lessons from farmers who persist in place, we can embrace these virtues. Rather than give up or get out, we can dig in. Rather than go big, we can go home." | Continue reading | 19 days ago

Living With Risk: Vipers or Bleach?

I do not know where the future will take us. I’m not going to try and escape the risks in modern society, but I’m also not going to ignore them. I’m going to be right here, in the thick of it, and that’s where I want to be. | Continue reading | 20 days ago

War, Conversation, and Regrets

“In ‘Barons,’ Austin Frerick Takes on the Most Powerful Families in the Food System.” Twilight Greenaway interviews Frerick on the depressing stories of corporate power and government capitulation that his recent book chronicles: “What I call the “Wall Street Farm Bill” . . . is … | Continue reading | 22 days ago


If an invisible world is a reality, then a creator is probable, as the deists suggest, and perhaps even plausible. God may well be really real, just as I had supposed in my childhood years. I believe so. | Continue reading | 23 days ago

Staring Into The Abyss

Man must face the reality of his own existence and his ultimate fate. To stare into the abyss of eternity, to examine and grasp the meaning of life, is a necessity. | Continue reading | 24 days ago

The Work of Moss-Gathering

“By their fruits you will recognize them,” Jesus tells his disciples. If what appears is bad or worthless, you’ll have been made aware of what was there all along, incipient. You can tear up the weed and try again. But when something good appears, something truly good, you’ll be … | Continue reading | 25 days ago

Family Time with Timothy Carney

Timothy Carney, an AEI senior fellow and the author of Family Unfriendly: How Our Culture Made Raising Kids Much Harder Than It Needs to Be, talks about the village it takes to raise a child and the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) rise of “No Children Allowed” signs. Highlig … | Continue reading | 26 days ago

Waging Culture Wars Justly

To fight a culture war justly is to be confident that your arguments have a reasonable chance of success; but this means that to fight justly is not only about carefully crafting arguments but also about sensitively observing the context in which you will deploy them. | Continue reading | 27 days ago

Doubt, Fungi, and Water

“What New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman Gets Wrong About Rural America.” Wendell Berry responds to Krugman’s column about a new book on “white rural rage”: “A person who has no idea of goodness can have no good ideas. If one cannot imagine dealing with rural rage except by fi … | Continue reading | 29 days ago

Frog and Toad Might Just Be Friends…and That’s Okay

If we fail to recognize friendship for what it is, and for the role it plays in the maturation process of children and young adults, we lose out on a world that is diverse in the relationships it values | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Eisenhower’s Grief

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower found solace in their dead son’s favorite color | Continue reading | 1 month ago

At Home with Dragons

The past is not completely lost to us, and the fascination with fantastic beasts remains. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Monuments to Human Stupidity? A Review of David Betz’s A Guarded Age

The film Patton contains many quotable quotes, some of which cannot be repeated on a family friendly website such as Front Porch (for example, what it might have been like to spend the great World War Two in Louisiana). Among the less spicy quotes are “We’re gonna attack all nigh … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Port William, Local News, and Liberal Arts

“The Stackpole Legend.” Wendell Berry has a new short story out in Threepenny Review, and it’s a good one: “Once in time, as Art Rowanberry would put it, a boy, the only child of a couple advanced in years, entered the world in the neighborhood of Port William, to be distinguishe … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

An Irrelevant (and Irreverent) Celebration of Hope and Fun

After fifteen largely joyful years of existence, it seems appropriate to ask whether we have retained our relevance. The struggle to catch and hold the public’s attention proves even more difficult now than it was in 2009. Events have transpired at such dizzying speed that vertig … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Long Row

So to all my friends in this haven, this meeting place, this village green—you lovers of federalism, distributism, neighbors, neighborhoods, regional accents, little platoons, and forty acres and a mule—happy anniversary. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Walk Boldly, Darlin’ Clementine

Walk boldly. Whistle not, but do keep walking. Keep walking right on by it and let the dead bury the dead. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

It Started with a Dis…

The Empire did not fall the day Front Porch Republic rose. But in 15 years FPR has done much more than simply add weight to the human scale. It has revivified the most humane and practical traditions in American social, cultural, economic, and political life and thought. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

FPR at 15: Friendship on the Porch

Friendship is, in fact, a vital key to any flourishing political order, for friendship is rooted in affection and a commitment to the good of the friend, which translates in the aggregate to a commitment to the common good. And friendship is necessarily local. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Creatures, Friendship, and Personality

“Complicity and Hope in Wendell Berry’s Membership.” Next February, we’ll be hosting a conference here at Grove City College to reflect on the writings of Wendell Berry. Andrew Peterson will give a keynote address and a concert, and it should be a rich weekend of sharing ideas an … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Doppelganger: Me and George Monbiot in the Mirror World

Our modernist mindset too easily leads us to the comfortable notion that ‘they’–the government, the scientists, whoever–are going to save us with the latest whizz-bang techno-fix. They’re not. Nobody is coming to save us. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Naming and Seeing our Neighbors

In these movements, we are but a speck of dust in the great desert. But here, where are our feet are, we hold a power forgotten. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Twenty Years with Philip

The difference a pen pal can make | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Why We Don’t Believe in Free Will

A quarter of a century ago, Wendell Berry wrote, “the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.” That division has come, and all must choose on which side of the divide to stand. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Holly Ordway on Tolkien’s Faith

It is another year and that must mean another appearance by my guest Holly Ordway. Holly and I discuss her most recent book, Tolkien’s Faith: A Spiritual Biography from Word on Fire. Holly and I discuss the impact of St. John Henry Newman’s Oratory on J.R.R. Tolkien, his struggle … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Keeper, The Tiller, The Question

A Cain and Abel Story for Modern Man | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Poetry, Parking, and Electricity

“Thinking as a Human Being.” David Weinberger reviews James D. Madden’s Thinking about Thinking: Mind and Meaning in the Era of Techno-Nihilism, which probes underlying questions about the nature of human thought: “What are the necessary conditions for having a mind in the first … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The Virtues of Sheep

A chief virtue of sheep is, indeed, that they are content with remarkably little, and—this is key—they are rooted and aware citizens of their locale. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Abandoned Altars

Here, in this shed’s unremarkable pool of silence, I am reminded of other places where silence stretched like an ocean. I happened upon one of those waning shores the previous year when I resided in the mountains of the high desert. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

In Defense of Livestock

Rushing to enslave themselves like animals in a cage, the animal rights and climate activists who think they are on the “right side of history” are unwittingly reinforcing their dependence on the corporations that have long damaged ecosystem and human health. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Finding a Home Field: A Review of In Thought, Word, and Seed

If I am therefore departing one field in which I hoped to do some good work in place, I hope to deepen my practice as an English professor who lives and reads in place, bringing my reading and my other work in the world closer together in the most literal, physical sense. For enc … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Italian Bears, Middle Age, and Rural Renewal

“Taking the High Road.” Nadya Williams issues a stirring call to root liberal education in a transcendent vision of what it means to be human: “what if the future of the humanities lies in Christian colleges—and colleges I would term Christian-adjacent in their mission, like St. … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Rooted Lives or Activist Lifestyles?

In a world in which there are so many problems to solve, solitude plays an important role in helping us remember that life consists of more than finding and righting wrongs. Time spent resting and recharging has moral value too. | Continue reading | 1 month ago

Roosevelt’s Grief

Theodore Roosevelt never recovered from the loss of his son in WWI | Continue reading | 1 month ago