At one time the website Front Porch Republic stood as a shining light, celebrating an open and public discussion of the limits of government, the intrinsic necessity of conceiving of ‘place’ in the human drama, and the acknowledgement of ‘liberty’ as a requirement inherent in the notion that human discourse is an essential element in the total dimensions of human existence.

FPR has a brilliant stable of writers/thinkers and for a very long time provided an exciting and ebullient discourse that drew some very intelligent people into a vibrant and often erudite discussion.

Somewhere along the line FPR derailed. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly when but it seems that the overall tone of the website moved away from the ideas and principles of republicanism and toward some ‘second reality’ predicated on a derailed and perverse statism.

Surely there were other signs: the webmaster (or someone) took to ‘deleting’ comments found unacceptable without notifying the offender, posts that were judged to be too “conservative” were ordered edited, the shift away from republicanism became apparent particularly in Dr. Medaille’s blogs explicating Catholic Distributism which appears to require a ground defined by the idea of an elite, consolidated regime that would nuture and subsidze (among others) the valorous subsistence farmer, where the subsistence farmer would now become the beneficiary of the transfer of wealth, the Welfare Queen of the new, wholistic and Earthcentric, Regime.

‘Conservatives’, both bloggers and commentors have abandoned FPR , perhaps reaching denuoement with the withdrawal of arguably their most important writer/thinker, Caleb Stegall, this week. It appears Mr. Stegall withdrew in protest to Dr. Medaille’s latest post .

I’m no expert on internet ‘blogs’. I assume the problems related to FPR are yet another and ongoing example of the human condition but it seems to me that given the outstanding beginning and the stated objectives of this crew of intellectuals and academics they could have succeeded, grounded as they are, on Bill Kauffman’s ideas of ‘place, limits, and liberty’, ideas that are inherently celebrated and revered in the American psyche, ideas that by their very definition reject the derailed foreign ideologies dominating modernity.

Perhaps FPR has fallen victim to what a friend referred to as “socialist succotash!”

Articles by Robert Cheeks

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