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.

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:

Staying in Your Hometown

A wonderful (porchy) piece over at The Imaginative Conservative:

FPR Update

Dear Readers, When FPR launched in 2009, we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew our culture, economy, and politics were broken, and believed that we would have some repairs in mind. Given what has been said at the level of presidenti...

From St. Augustine’s Porch

Bk IV, ch. 3: But let us suppose a case of two men; for each individual man, like one letter in a language, is as it were the element of a city or kingdom, however far-spreading in its occupation of the earth. Of these two men let us suppos...

Tonight in Grand Rapids

I’ll be speaking tonight at St. Isidore’s in Grand Rapids as part of their “Fortnight for Freedom” series. My topic is “Two Cities: Can Catholics and Liberals Co-exist?” You’ll have to attend to fin...