Russell Arben Fox

Russell Arben Fox
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https://mmfraf.webs.com/
Russell Arben Fox grew up milking cows and bailing hay in Spokane Valley, WA, but now lives in Wichita, KS, where he runs the History & Politics and the Honors programs at Friends University, a small Christian liberal arts college. He aspires to write a book about the theory and practice of democracy, community, and environmental sustainability in small to mid-sized cities, like the one he has made his and his family's home; his scribblings pertaining to that and related subjects are collected at the Substack "Wichita and the Mittelpolitan." He also blogs--irregularly and usually at too-great a length--more broadly about politics, philosophy, religion, socialism, bicycling, books, farming, pop music, and whatever else strikes his fancy, at "In Medias Res."

Recent Essays

The Excellence (and Implications) of Escaping the Housing Trap

All of this only touches the surface of Escaping the Housing Trap’s arguments and only begins the many productive discussions that should—and hopefully will!—follow in its wake. Buy and read the book, and join with your neighbors in talking about how Strong Towns can help make your community a place that can house all who need it.

Thinking About Wendell Berry’s Leftist Lament (and More)

Wendell Berry’s sprawling, uneven, brilliant, and sometimes frustrating The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice will likely not, I think,...

Putting the Demos on a Pedestal

Why Liberalism Failed was a good book, but Regime Change is a better one, and I think will be recognized as such—as well as one that will gain notoriety in a way that the earlier, more academic book mostly did not.

On Latimer, Localism, Liberalism, and Democracy

Wichita, KS. Trevor Latimer’s Small Isn’t Beautiful: The Case Against Localism deeply engaged me, but not in a positive way, at least not initially....

Alan Jacobs on Ursula Le Guin and Anarchism

Alan Jacobs is not, to my knowledge, a Porcher, though he ought to be; his insightful reflections upon Christianity, literature, society, and the state...

Planning and The Politics of Beauty: Reflections on Stewart Udall

If you’ve ever visited Canyonlands National Park, or hiked the Appalachian Trail, or spent time at over a hundred other similar locations across America’s beautiful and diverse ecosystems and geography, it’s likely that you have Stewart Udall at least partly to thank.

Back to the Bottom-Line (Apocalyptically and Practically Speaking) at the Land Institute

Wendell Berry has written endlessly about the goodness of local work; if, for Berry, the goodness of such work is connected to agrarian virtue, while for Jackson it is connected to ecological necessity, does that make much practical difference?

Diversity, Race, and Radical Hospitality in a Bible-based Community

We academics unfortunately often fall into the trap of pride (particularly of the self-involved, self-satisfying, institutional kind), and hence a humbling such as this conference delivered was probably much needed. I have a Christian duty, as an educator and as a member of a Christian community, to think systematically about how I can live up, as a teacher and scholar, to the values of inclusion and equality

Localism, Intentionality, and Utopia (Socialist or Otherwise)

If you're looking intentionally at your locality, wanting to make it more just and more civil and more communal--with, say, better food practices, more responsible energy usage, and social arrangements premised upon love and respect rather than financial and racial advantage--well, that doesn't make you into a communard, fully engaged in the struggle to build a comprehensively new world. But it does mean, I think, that you share more with those inspired folk than you may think.

The Place (and Place-ness) of Occupy, Ten Years On

Holding up a sign, sitting at a lunch counter, sticking a flower in a gun, setting up a tent, and occupying a space in the face state and corporate power is an act of utopian belief and faith. A belief, to go back to Berry's insight above, that something may not be--and should not be accepted as being--an economic, and therefore social, inevitability.

Taking (Democratic) Control of One’s Own Traffic

Wichita, KS. That Charles Marohn is a friend to localist movements across the United States and beyond is indisputable. It’s not just that he...

Everything for Everyone book discussion–the final evening!

Long-time friend of Front Porch Republic, Solidarity Hall's Elias Crim, is opening up the final session of their weekly small-group Zoom discussion of the...