Jeffrey Polet

Jeffrey Polet grew up in an immigrant household in the immigrant town of Holland MI. After twenty years of academic wandering he returned to Holland and now teaches political science at Hope College, where he also grudgingly serves as chair of the department, having unsuccessfully evaded all requests.

In the interim, he continues to nurture quirky beliefs: Division III basketball is both athletically and morally superior to Division I; the Hope/Calvin rivalry is the greatest in sports; the lecture is still the best form of classroom instruction; never buy a car with less than 100,000 miles on it; putts will still lip out in heaven; bears are the incarnation of evil; Athens actually has something to do with Jerusalem; and Tombstone is a cinematic classic.

His academic work has mirrored his peripatetic career. Originally trained at the Catholic University of America in German philosophy and hermeneutical theory, he has since gravitated to American Political Thought. He still occasionally writes about European thinkers such as Michel Foucault or the great Max Weber, but mostly is interested in the relationship between theological reflection and political formation in the American context. In the process of working on a book on John Marshall for The Johns Hopkins University Press, he became more sensitive to the ways in which centralized decision-making undid local communities and autonomy. He has also written on figures such as William James and the unjustly neglected Swedish novelist Paer Lagerkvist.

A knee injury and arthritis eliminated daily basketball playing, and he now spends his excess energy annoying his saintly wife and their three children, two of whom are off to college. Expressions of sympathy for the one who remains can be posted in the comments section. He doesn’t care too much for movies, but thinks opera is indeed the Gesamtkuntswerk, that the music of Gustav Mahler is as close as human beings get to expressing the ineffable, that God listens to Mozart in his spare time, and that Bach is history’s greatest genius.

Podcast Recommendation – Crim and Potts

Chuck Marohn over at Strong Towns does some interesting podcasts, but none more so than a recent one with FPR regulars Elias Crim and Rebekah Grace Potts (somehow Susannah Black managed to photobomb it). Highly recommended, as it is a subst...

Peter Lawler: R.I.P.

Peter Augustine Lawler passed away on Tuesday, leaving a significant void not only in the lives of his friends, family, and students, but in the intellectual life of American conservatism and thus the nation. Peter was an original: he could...

Kauffman in West Michigan

Come hear Bill Kauffman speak at Hope College on Tuesday, April 18th at 4PM in the Fried-Hemenway auditorium, located within the Martha Miller Center (corner of 10th and Columbia).

VoegelinView: Call for Papers

  VoegelinView ( is an interdisciplinary and international website dedicated to the thought of Eric Voegelin as well as to political philosophy as public commentary that includes all aspects of culture, includ...

Charles Taylor’s Front Porch Democracy

In the wake of the election, Taylor (and the New Yorker!) advocate for some of the central ideas of “Porchism.”

Gene Logsdon, RIP

The Porch lost a part of its patrimony yesterday with the passing of Gene Logsdon. News of his death can be found here, and his obituary here. An appreciation of Logsdon written by Jason Peters can be found here. We will have an appreciatio...

Evangelicals and Monasteries

Jake Meador has a nice piece over at Mere Orthodoxy discussing the value of monasteries to any well-ordered community, and what evangelicals might learn from this. Monasteries, Protestantism, and the Joy of Indifference

Benedict Option in Baltimore

The Academy of Philosophy and Letters 2016 Conference Contact me if you need more information. [email protected]

Academy of Philosophy and Letters Conference

The Academy of Philosophy and Letters will be holding its annual conference at the BWI in Baltimore on May 27-29. The Topic this year is “The Benedict Option: The Problems of Culture in Times of Crisis.” This will be the first s...

Two Plus Cheers For Small Houses

In the past two generations, the average house size has nearly doubled, while family sizes have decreased. Chris Wiley, a frequent contributor here, tells us of the virtues of smaller houses: