Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Which comes first, the Principle or the Place?

Caleb Stegall wrote a thoughtful counter to all of the critical reviews of James Cameron’s new film Avatar. It drew a huge response and one of the respondents (# 24 December 2009 at 7:13 pm) brought up a point which delves into a deeper issue for those living on the Porch:

But I think that this sort of rhetoric does serve as a good springboard for some troubling questions of Front Porch Republicanism. The Front Porchers’ reverence for community is admirable; but their reverence for community-above-all-else (as I understand it) is not. Those Front Porchers who are men and women of faith may value their creeds above their communities, but to read their writings, one could draw the conclusion that faith was merely worth preserving as one cog in the communal machinery. This is one issue that Front Porchers should address–i.e. is there a higher good than “community” and are there spheres in which it is appropriate for an individual to act and think as a cosmopolitan rather than a local?

In another post, I discuss Patrick Deneen’s essay “Patriotic Vision” in which he recognizes the tension between Principle and Place. It would be nice to see a fuller treatment of the question on the Porch itself.
And to stir the pot a little, I’ll toss in a quote from that Front Porcher Fav, Edmund Burke: “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.”
(Since pasting parts of this post in the comments section of Caleb Stegall’s article, D.W. Sabin and John Wilson have made some helpful responses # 29 December 2009 at 12:02 pm & # 29 December 2009 at 1:21 pm)

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