First Things attacks Front Porch Republic

Here’s a new, and discouraging, development.  Robert Cheeks over at First Things’ “Postmodern Conservative” (PC) has written what I can only call an attack on the Front Porch Republic (FPR) website.  Cheeks seems to think that FPR is veering Left, but when one looks at his particular grievances, it seems to be more the case that PC is disturbed by FPR’s exploration of a more robust critique of liberalism than respectability allows.  Cheeks himself doesn’t realize how compromised many in the PC crowd are by acceptance of Leftist ideals like democracy, capitalism, and Founderolatry.

Oh, and one more thing.  If Caleb Stegall really did quit FPR because they’re publishing a defense of monarchy, all I have to say is “to hell with him.”

11 Responses

  1. Speaking of Founderolatry at World Net Daily columnist and classical liberal Ilana Mercer claims –

    “The idea that the Founders were flawed, sinful men like you and me is current among a hefty majority of Americans, conservative too. It is wrong. Quite the reverse. The Founders were nothing like us. Not even close. I say this not as an idealist but as a realist. Judging from their works and their written words, the American Founding Fathers were immeasurably better than just about anyone on earth today. That goes for that gnarled, somewhat stupid sadist Mother Teresa, whom Christopher Hitchens nailed in ‘The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.’ ”

    The rest of her column is

    Libertarianism is the problem not the solution

  2. Thank you for alerting me to this. Between such people and us there can be nothing but enmity.

  3. To be fair to First Things, I don’t think you can attribute something that Bob Cheeks says to the whole outfit. Bob Cheeks is, to put it mildly, a bit of a goof, and definitely not the subtlest thinker around. For a while he used to comment a lot at Front Porch Republic, though he stopped after a while. Besides joking around, his two main contributions were shrilly denouncing Medaille as a “commie-Dem” whenever Medaille opposed libertarianism and regurgitating dense Voegelinian passages with little understanding for what they actually meant. As you can see from Cheeks’ article, he equates his simplistic libertarianism with conservatism.

    As for what the rest of the bloggers at Postmodern Conservative think, Peter Lawler’s response is probably more representative, and definitely more nuanced.

    As for Caleb Stegall, I think Cheeks is wrong about the specific cause of Stegall’s departure, though Stegall would probably disagree with Medaille’s post on monarchy. Stegall and Medaille had had a strong disagreements (more like a verbal brawl) a while back, but they seemed to have patched things up. But, a week or two ago, Stegall posted a link which was rather vague and which drew criticism, some of it from Medaille, which Stegall dismissed as irrelevant. He then clarified his position in the comments (with which I largely agree). Medaille made what Stegall called a wisecrack. Medaille then responded with a post, essentially equating Stegall’s position with libertarianism. Stegall later shot back with a post on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”. The comments on that thread seem to have been the straw that broke Stegall’s back, and he left, from what I can tell, before Medaille ever posted his article on monarchy.

    In my opinion, I think Medaille had some very good things to say in his post, but I also have to say that despite his protestations he wasn’t really addressing Stegall’s main point (which is the list buried in the comments of Stegall’s first post). Stegall certainly isn’t some kind of crude libertarian as Medaille’s post might lead you to believe. Instead, as Lawler recognizes, he was trying to draw the discourse into a more recognizably American direction. As much as you may like Medaille and distributism, I think you have to admit that Stegall represents a more rooted American experience, something that could connect to Americans more easily than Medaille could with his distributism. As much as I think Americans are wrong to hate monarchy, I think Lawler is right that arguing for monarchy is not going to get you very far in this country.

  4. Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for the background information on the Medaille/Stegall split and FPR/PC antagonism; I was hoping one of my readers would have more information. I seldom read comments on blogs other than my own, so I missed a lot of this. As for how relevant monarchy is to the American situation, I am looking forward to the third part of Medaille’s monarchy series, in which he has promised to address this very issue. I myself have (tentatively) identified the Supreme Court as America’s quasi-monarchical branch of government, and I think there may be ways of moving it in a more distinctly monarchical direction.

  5. Front Porch Republic is one of the only sites whose comments I read with any frequency.

    As for the clash between them and Postmodern Conservative, most of it (at least until now) seems to have been good-natured ribbing. This link should lead you to some of the back story, if you have the time.

  6. And now Stegall’s back, though he hasn’t decided to drop the snide insults.

  7. “Classical Liberal” is precisely the problem. Most American “conservatives” don’t realize that they are actually in thrall to the purist form of Enlightenment Liberalism. It is an act of honesty on Ilana’s part to attack Mother Theresa; there is an irreducible enmity between her and the liberals, even (or especially) the one’s that call themselves “conservative.”

  8. […] than re-invent the wheel, go here to Throne and Altar and read the comment by Stephen which outlines the history of the […]

  9. From one apologist for monarchy to another, I’m very much appreciating this latest series of pro-monarchy posts on FPR. It seems to me that FPR is, if anything, moving Right rather than Left as it matures–a welcome outcome from my point of view.

  10. Richard Spencer is joining in the criticism over at AltRight. Predictably, his main complaint seems to be that FPR isn’t occupied enough with race. Also, I think Caleb Stegall holds some sort of elected office in Kansas, so it’s possible that he’s just doing this to avoid being painted by political opponents as some sort of crazy anti-democratic reactionary. (I personally wouldn’t mind seeing more crazy anti-democratic reactionaries in positions of political power, but there you are.)

  11. […] The day has finally come that this blog is getting more attention for Stephen’s comments than for my original posts!  And rightly so.  Anyone who hasn’t already should check out his analysis of the Front Porch Republic schism. […]

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