A thoughtful examination of the future of conservative decentralism from Dan Larison (and his commentors) which relates pretty closely to several of the discussion threads from today and deserves some response from FPR.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. My only response would be that Larison’s response to critics in the comments is very well done, and that the kind of criticism he receives in the comments is tiresome, fundamentally illogical, and delivered, as usual, in the bad-faith politics of “Gotcha!”

  2. Yep, Dan’s response is excellent as usual. I either hadn’t seen it when I posted the link or it hadn’t been written yet. My wife will be pleased that someone agrees that I am a “very difficult case indeed.”

  3. I ask: Jeremy, would you consider your recommendations of tax cuts for the immobile a “paleo-big-government” synthesis? I would think so. So was Chesterton’s suggestion that public housing authorities in London provide space for the denizens of tenaments to plant gardens — and that, incidentally, was one of his best practical ideas. A row of potatos can change a life.

    The thread’s occasional anti-academic burps seem fair enough. Academics, artists, sailors, and gypsies have always tended to be relatively deracinated. That is why, when everyone else still had some sanity and stability, they mocked, derided, and suspected all such persons. They were “masterless men,” meaning that in virtue of their mobility they did not clearly belong to a stable community and so could not be held accountable for their actions. This kind of prejudice should be encouraged, even if it does lead to ridiculous claims.

    What kind of ridiculous claim? Why should I, for example, not lament my fate from the “cosmopolitan” burbs of Philadelphia? I tried to stay in my home region; I attended college there and, after a year’s indulgence in that bizarre city, Boston, I began immediately working toward my triumphant return to the Hoosier state. Were I not part of the greatest academic program on earth — the only one I’ve seen that unambiguously contributes to the restoration of humanistic education and meaningfully contemplates Truth in the light of the Church — I’d be back home now.

    But such complaints, as Larison observes, misread legitimate complaints as rank hypocracy. Jeremy’s talk of the other week indicates both how forbidding and how complex is the challenge of thinking through the conditions of a reseeding of midwestern culture and a restoration of that righteous prejudice which presumes a mobile, deracinated man is nothing more than “masterless.”

  4. While the discreet categories always exist, there are numerous shadings. The big cities of the so called “cosmopolites” are frequently full of neighborhoods that see generational stability and the preservation of unique identity within a larger hybrid mix. Brooklyn, N.Y……perhaps minus Park Slope/ The Heights and hipster Williamsburg come to mind as does College Point in Queens and many of the mid-sized, post-rust belt cities in Connecticut . Conversely, some small towns are extremely dynamic in terms of inflow and outflow. The localist sympathy, in my mind should not have to be consigned to one form of town or another because at heart, it is all about community…including the entertaining dissenters and knee-jerk cranks on all sides.

    It would not surprise me if the current bipartisan big government model….neither effectively “liberal”, nor “conservative” will likely result in a natural erosion in the quality of life within urban areas, possibly causing a concomitant flight to small communities because the ruinous policies of big government ….particularly militant big government…….. consistently deliver extended periods of penury and pathos to the city.

    What remains fascinating to me is how tenaciously the citizen holds onto their citizenship within the artificial and materially meaningless construct of the vicarious agora and its media- entertainment Town Hall regardless of their residency within a city or rural locus. The single greatest enemy of the citizen, whether they are liberal or conservative is not their political opponent or the “other kind of town” but the fundamental centralization and giganticism of the corporate-government globalist combine and it’s media bread and circus. Not because it has a global component or that it practices a corporate business structure but that it is essentially hostile to local concerns in its pursuit of maximizing efficiency regardless of the impact upon local communities or neighborhoods . Globalism requires a military escort also and nothing is more corrosive to the civic body than the mercenary military….an institution that has a tremendous organizational structure, great discipline and loyalty and generally equal-opportunity policies but whose aims are ultimately destructive and with our modern technology and asymmetric warfare, brutally so. The great war campaigns of history were the first mass migrations.

Comments are closed.