Long before our own time, the customs of our ancestors moulded admirable men, and in turn these eminent men upheld the ways and institutions of their forebears. Our age, however, inherited the Republic like some beautiful painting of bygone days, its colors already fading through great age; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines. For what remains to us, nowadays, of the ancient ways on which the commonwealth, we are told, was founded? We see them so lost in oblivion that they are not merely neglected, but quite forgot. And what am I to say of the men? For our customs have perished for want of men to stand by them, and we are now called to an account, so that we stand impeached like men accused of capital crimes, compelled to plead our own cause. Through our vices, rather than from happenstance, we retain the word “republic” long after we have lost the reality.–Cicero, De Re Publica

Stewardship applies to more than the natural world.

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The union of constitutionally federated republics was finished long ago. Those republics have become mere political divisions, with their power and authority being drained each day, of the consolidated and centralized Hobbesian state. In Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery there is there found of a monument the following words:

    Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni! Lucan, “Pharsalia”

  2. This quote sums it all up. We have got to have, retain, and pass on higher values. How do we do this in a postmodern world? Where are the honorable men and women to lead us? Frontporchrepublic is a good place to start relearning what we have forgotten. Thanks, Mark

  3. Our vicarious agora, like our industrialized food chain distracts us from the reality that we can find a higher degree of greatness within a thirty minute walk than we can by tuning into the idiot-fest of modern “info-tainment”, a farrago of a concept.

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