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It was an honor to testify in favor of Caleb at his confirmation hearing; he will make a fine judge. He was confirmed by the full KS Senate yesterday on a vote of 32 – 8.

2013-09-06 03:30:59 Lance Kinzer

The distinction between tradition as whim (bad) and tradition as reasonable choice (good), while fine as far as it goes, obscures the fact that it is the very “givenness” of tradition, in opposition to any “chosenness” that allows tradition, experienced in the context of community, to produce men who know themselves and are known by others.

2012-01-26 14:48:46 Lance Kinzer

I take the following paragraph to be the core of Caleb’s argument:
“I posit that in order to sustain any measure or hope of “success,” every movement or outbreak of localist, decentralist sentiment in our particular political historical geographic moment must not be, in any fundamental way, anti-American, and must venerate, though not necessarily without criticism or caution, the ideal experience of the self made man.”
His argument is prudential, asking what resources might a localist movement draw upon in order to achieve some lasting measure of success in a real live community in America in 2010? He opines that the proper form for such a movement to take is not reactionary (and thus revolutionary). He instead suggests that real and salutary reform of a localist nature can only come from those who love an actual place with an actual history. He asks us to consider if it is really possible, in the time and place where providence has placed us, to do justice to the localist principles of custom, convention and continuity while at the same time denigrating “the ideal experience of the self made man.”
In short Caleb’s posts seem to me to be concerned with whether FPR is about struggling together toward a vision of human flourishing that engages real front porches in a real republic; or if it is merely a place to mock as rubes those we rub shoulders with everyday who we can only see as “other” and to pine for an ideal community created after one’s own image and abstracted from the real lives of real people in real places, with real histories.

2010-11-21 06:13:00 Lance Kinzer

This post provides much to agree with, but it strikes me as a serious (and perhaps willful) misreading of Caleb’s posts. I read Caleb as making a very practical point regarding the importance of grounding any reform movement in the actual history of the people and place for which reform is sought.
Caleb lives in Kansas not Rome or Vienna. As Russell Kirk once put it, “Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.” Caleb seems to me to have given close attention to this point in thinking carefully about the proper form for any work of restoration in his actual community. The responses strike me as blind to this point, the product of thought abstracted from our real time and place. Recourse to the schoolmen is a fine thing, not to be neglected, but for those interested in working out what it means to restore a culture committed to human flourishing in a place like Kansas we must also have recourse to the admittedly cruder and simpler tools that lay closer at hand in our own history.
No one who has read much of what Caleb has written, and certainly no one who knows him, can respond with more than a chuckle when confronted with the crude caricatured of his position presented in many of the comments attendant to this discussion. What Caleb suggests seems clear enough, that all of those who claim love for the ideas of continuity and place must humble themselves and give attention and respect to our actual real time and place, and the messy history that comes with it, in positing any program for reform. To fail to do this is hubris.

2010-11-20 15:45:00 Lance Kinzer