Originalism, Local Fiction, and the March for Life

Photo by George W. Ackerman

Remembering Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.” Ten years after Neuhaus’s death, Wilfred McClay reconsiders his life and work. This is a rich, thoughtful profile that brings Neuhaus’s ideas to bear on present debates.

Undoing the Demos.” Darel E. Paul reviews Quinn Slobodian’s Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, concluding, “Globalists helpfully proves the point Carl Schmitt made nearly a century ago: that there is ‘absolutely no liberal politics, only a liberal critique of politics.’”

Originalism and the Individual Jurist.” Justice Caleb Stegall, who serves on the Kansas Supreme Court and has spent plenty of time on the Porch, begins his reflections on the “moral imagination of the constitutional jurist” by quoting lines from T.S. Eliot and then asking, “What do ‘last year’s words’ mean across the ages? And what do we, the living, owe the dead?” These questions are judicial as much as they are poetic: both the judge and the poet are “charged with interpreting the past in the present for the future.”

The Readings Gone By.” Brian Miller lists the ten most significant books he read last year (including one from FPR Books).

A 50-year Farm Bill Can Break our Wasteful Patterns of Production and Consumption.” Nathan Beacom wonders if we can implement more sustainable agricultural policies without enduring a food crisis.

The Sobering Details Behind the Latest Seed Monopoly Chart.” Kristina Hubbard reports on the disturbing centralization that continues apace among seed suppliers.

The Nonconformist.” Gerald J. Russello reviews The Age of Secularization by Augusto Del Noce, concluding, “Like Deneen, then, Del Noce thinks that a successful secularism is one that ends in its negation. A world that elevates the rational will descend to the irrational, and a society that looks for a god in each of us will instead find a beast.”

Bread Eternal.” Jane Sloan Peters meditates on the making and meaning of bread.

Living Local Fiction.” S. Dorman ponders the workings of imaginative writing about one’s home place.

First States, then Nation.” Richard Gamble reviews Aaron N. Coleman’s The American Revolution, State Sovereignty, and the American Constitutional Settlement, 1765–1800, tracing the early debates between nationalists and those who argued for state rights.

Mary Oliver, Prize-Winning Poet of the Natural World, Dies at 83.” Margalit Fox pays tribute to the life and work of Mary Oliver.

Why Ex-Churchgoers Flocked to Trump.” Timothy P. Carney compares Trump to a mega-church pastor, warning that “‘economic anxiety’ is inextricably tied with the collapse of church and family. The latter is the more dangerous problem.”

This Will Be a Weird Year for the March for Life.” Ruth Graham explains some of the particular tensions animating this year’s March for Life as the pro-life movement has, unfortunately, become increasingly partisan.


  1. The fact that McClay, a wonderful and thoughtful critic and writer, can review Neuhaus’s life and work and make only one very, very vague and indirect reference to Neuhaus’s total and, to my knowledge, never reconsidered support of the American invasion of Iraq is, well, kind of fascinating.

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